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Historically, it's been challenging to work with Exchange databases and extract mailbox items. Many remember working with Exchange 2003 environments and the old ExMerge tool several years ago. There were many limitations with the tool, such as the 2 GB mailbox limit.
While native tools have gotten much better with recent Exchange Server releases powered by PowerShell, there are still headaches in working with mailbox data directly from the EDB database. But there is a tool that makes working with data exports and conversions from Exchange EDB databases much easier. The Stellar Converter for EDB is a tool that enables converting EDB mailboxes to PST files and other formats. Let's take a closer look at the tool and see how it can help with data conversion from Exchange.
What is Stellar Converter for EDB?
The Stellar Converter for EDB enables IT admins to easily convert offline EDB files and extract mailboxes within the EDB file. While the name is "EDB to PST Converter," the software can export mailboxes into many file formats, including: PST, EML, MSG, RTF, PDF, and HTML.
It covers just about any Exchange version, from Exchange 5.5 to 2019.You are probably already thinking about specific use cases with the aforementioned capabilities. However, what are some common uses for the Stellar Converter for EDB?
- Better ExMerge and New-MailboxExportRequest utility—As mentioned earlier, anyone that has used the old ExMerge utility has certainly seen their fair share of issues. New-MailboxExportRequest also has its share of limitations, including that the mailbox must be online, the export must happen one-by-one, and the reporting may not always be accurate with the PowerShell tool.
- Access old EDB data—A user might need to access emails, contacts, or notes that may have been stored within an old EDB file. An Exchange admin can convert EDB files to PST format quickly and easily with the EDB to PST Converter.
- Archive old data without a database dismount—IT admins may need to dismount the current EDB database to archive data. Stellar Converter for EDB allows archiving user data without a dismount of the database.
- Office/Microsoft 365 Migration features—Getting your data to Microsoft 365 in a cloud migration is arguably the most challenging task of the migration. Using the Stellar Converter for EDB, you can export Exchange public folders to Microsoft 365. Additionally, you can export offline EDB files to Microsoft 365.
What are the key features of the EDB to PST Converter?
There are many key features of the solution, some of which we have mentioned above. However, the following are a few additional features to note.
- Dial Tone Recovery support—Dial tone recovery involves creating an empty database on a mailbox server to replace a failed database. Stellar Converter for EDB allows restoring users and mailboxes from an offline database to an empty dial tone database. It is able to map users automatically and hydrate user mailboxes from the exported mailboxes.
- Create mailboxes in Exchange—Stellar EDB Converter allows creating a new mailbox to map to users. You can run the software on Exchange Server and create mailboxes to map to users.
- Search for specific emails in an EDB—Another handy feature is the ability to search for specific emails in an offline EDB using the utility. This enables filtering based on common fields such as "To," "From," "Subject," "Attachment name," etc. This makes finding specific messages much easier.
- Restore accidentally deleted offline mailboxes—The tool can be used to restore accidentally deleted offline mailboxes that are within the Mailbox Retention Period.
- Convert a prescanned EDB file at any point in time—One powerful feature is that you can save an EDB scan as an image, which can be used for future access to restore data.
- Mailbox preview before conversion—Mailbox items can be previewed before the actual conversion process so you know how the data will look after the restore process. You can preview email, calendar, contacts, tasks, notes, etc.
- Export Exchange contacts to CSV—The EDB Converter provides an easy way to save all contacts stored in a particular ECB database to a CSV file. This will export all contacts, including the Global Address List.
- Convert Unicode EDB files—This new feature allows converting EDB files of any language to PST format.
- Office 365 features—We already touched on a few of these features. However, you can use the converter to export offline EDB data to Microsoft 365 and export Exchange public folders to Microsoft 365.
Installing and working with the Stellar Converter for EDB
The Stellar Converter for EDB tool offers a straightforward and intuitive wizard-driven installation—just a few clicks through the wizard, and the converter is installed.
Once you have the Stellar Converter for EDB installed, you can launch the converter utility. The interface is clean, streamlined, and intuitive. There are two options available: hosted exchange and offline EDB.
The first step is to simply open an offline EDB file for conversion. You can click the Select EDB File button, which will launch the Select File dialog box. You can then click the Browse button to browse to the offline EDB file that you want to convert. As you can see below, the tool allows pointing to files that exist across a mapped network drive. The file does not have to be local. I have mapped a drive to an Exchange 2019 Server with an offline EDB file.
After selecting the EDB file, the tool will scan and expand the items in the EDB file, which allows easy browsing through the data and selecting the data you want to convert. Below, I have selected a mailbox. Note that if you simply right-click the individual mailbox, you easily have many options, including Save as PST and Export to Live Exchange.
The converter also allows expanding a folder within the EDB file that contains individual emails. As you can see, you can simply right-click an individual email if you want and select to "save as" one the various file types. This is a great way to obtain only individual emails from the EDB file.
You can also Preview emails before you convert them. Using this feature, you can validate the data in the email or verify it contains the information you are looking for.
One of the really powerful features of the tool is the Search feature, which you can launch by clicking the Find Message button in the top ribbon. Suppose you don't know which user sent a particular email. Instead, you only know the subject, or what the body of the email contains. The Stellar Converter for EDB includes a search feature that allows searching according to many different criteria to find the information needed.
The Stellar Converter for EDB utility provides many other options and features that are not shown above. What does the utility cost? Stellar provides a pretty common pricing structure that is based on the features needed. It is sold as a subscription-based license. There are three pricing tiers:
- Corporate: $299/1 yr.
- Corporate (extended mailboxes supported): $399/1 yr.
- Toolkit: $699/1 yr.
A few things that caught my eye about the Toolkit version are that it includes disaster recovery and extended operating system support, such as the following:
- Recovers inaccessible email, contacts, calendars, tasks, notes, and journals
- Extracts offline mailboxes from corrupt Exchange backup files
- Supports Windows Server 2012, 2008, 2003, and 2000
You can see the exact features and details of each pricing tier here.
Wrapping up and impressions
I found the Stellar Converter for EDB to be an easy tool to download, install, and work with. I was able to mount an offline EDB file quickly and easily across a mapped network drive, display mailboxes, find emails, and save them as various file types.
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I can see this certainly being in the toolkit of IT admins working with on-premises Exchange Servers or during migrations of on-premises Exchange to Microsoft 365 Exchange Online. The various licensing options allow customers to pick and choose the features they need in their environment.