Exchange Server 2003 SP1 Recover Mailbox Data Feature
Topic Last Modified: 2006-03-08
By Evan Dodds
The recovery storage group is a specialized storage group that can exist alongside the regular storage groups in Microsoft® Exchange Server 2003. The recovery storage group provides flexibility in restoring mailboxes and mailbox databases.
The major benefit that a recovery storage group provides is greater flexibility in restoring mailboxes and mailbox stores, because you are no longer required to set up a separate Active Directory® directory service and recovery server. You can now recover to the same server or to any server in the administrative group.
In Exchange Server 2003, after restoring a mailbox store to the recovery storage group, you used the Exchange Server 2003 Mailbox Merge Wizard (ExMerge) (ExMerge.exe) to move recovered mailbox data from the recovery storage group to the regular storage group. This is confusing, because it requires a separate tool.
With the Recover Mailbox Data feature, introduced in Exchange Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1), you can use Exchange System Manager instead of ExMerge in the majority of recovery cases.
Goals of the Recover Mailbox Data functionality include:
Allows for merging or copying of data, including notes, messages, tasks, appointments, journal entries, contacts, and freedocs. An option is presented within the wizard to merge or copy data.
Does not require send-as and receive-as rights. Past versions of ExMerge required these special rights be provided to the interactive logon account.
Has the ability to get data from disconnected mailboxes, in the recovery storage group only, similar to the ExMerge solution.
ExMerge may still be useful for some scenarios, because there are a number of items that the Recover Mailbox Data feature does not address:
Does not allow for merging or copying rules and permissions. This means that rules and permissions in the recovery storage group database will potentially be lost after the merge is completed. This will not affect users who swap the dial tone, or blank, database into the recovery storage group prior to merge. For more information about dial tone databases, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 824126, "How to use Recovery Storage Groups in Exchange Server 2003."
No filtering is done on the data. The ExMerge solution allows data to be filtered by subject, date, and other criteria. For a typical recovery scenario, this is not important.
Interactive logon running the Exchange System Manager program requires the Exchange Administrator role on the administrative group where the source and destination Exchange Server 2003 server exists. This account must also be a member of the Administrators group on the local client computer or server to create a MAPI profile.
|This process uses the administrator permissions but gets past the receive as permission being denied to local administrators.|
The following sections detail the Recovery Mailbox Data feature process.
To utilize the Recover Mailbox Data feature, the environment must contain at least one Exchange Server 2003 SP1 Exchange System Manager console to expose the Recover Mailbox Data Wizard, and at least one Exchange Server 2003 server to host the recovery storage group.
|Databases can be merged from the recovery storage group into a storage group on the same server or into a different server if the servers are in the same administrative group. This behavior is unchanged from Exchange Server 2003 recovery storage group.|
In Exchange System Manager, select the mailbox from the store to be restored into recovery storage group. Users may be bulk-selected or single-selected for recovery, although only from one mailbox store at a time may be selected.
Next, select the Recover Mailbox Data task.
Select the destination mailbox store for the data.
|The Recover Mailbox Data Wizard inspects the msExchOrigMDB attribute on the store within the recovery storage group to determine the distinguished name of the original database that Exchange will merge the data back into.|
Decide if the data should be merged or copied.
The following explains the merge logic:
Data recovered is merged back into its original corresponding folders.
If a message is recovered to a folder in the target mailbox that does not match that message in the original folder in the source mailbox, a duplicate of the message will also be written to the target mailbox folder that matches the original folder from the source mailbox. This is by design to have parity with ExMerge.
The last modification time is used to decide if the source message is newer and thus should replace the target message.
The following explains the copy logic:
All data, which includes the entire mailbox hierarchy, is copied to a folder in the user's mailbox. This folder name is localized and is in the format Recovered Data <date> <time in GMT>. It will be located in the root of the user's inbox.
Localization is determined based on destination mailbox LocaleID. If the destination mailbox does not exist, the Exchange System Manager client culture is used.
After the described process is complete, you can choose to schedule the actual copy or merge process. This is similar to the Move Mailbox being scheduled in Exchange Server 2003. If any corrupted items are encountered during the merge, they are logged to the detailed log and the merge continues uninterrupted. There is no way to set a number-of-corrupted items top threshold as there is with Mailbox moves.
A detailed report can be generated after the Recover Mailbox Data Wizard completes, if the relevant check box is selected on the summary screen. The report will be placed in the user's \My Documents\Exchange Task Wizard Logs directory.
The detailed report will contain information about successes, errors, and warnings. It will log information about users who have reached storage limits and errors, such as not being able to log on to a mailbox to do the merge.
There are several event log entries that can be produced during the merge. There is no way to control the Diagnostic Logging level or adjust logging with Recover Mailbox Data.
At the start of the mailbox recovery, Recover Mailbox Data will log the following:
SymbolicName = evtRecoverMailboxStarted
Started to recover mailbox '%1'.%n
%nSource Database: %2
%nDestination Database: %3
%nExchange DN: %4
At the end of mailbox recovery, Recover Mailbox Data will log the following:
SymbolicName = evtRecoverMailboxFinished
Mailbox '%1' has been recovered.
In cases of errors, Recover Mailbox Data will log either Event ID 1041 or Event 1042 as shown:
Event ID 1041
SymbolicName = evtRecoverMailboxFailed
Unable to recover mailbox '%1'.
SymbolicName = evtRecoverMailboxCancelled
The user cancelled recovering mailbox '%1'.
Consider the following troubleshooting information.
The same limitations that apply to recovery storage group merges using the ExMerge tool in Exchange Server 2003 also apply to the Recover Mailbox Data feature. Users who have been moved to another store or who have been deleted cannot be directly recovered. An error will be generated, most likely in the form:
The attempt to log on to the Microsoft Exchange Server computer has failed. The MAPI provider failed. Microsoft Exchange Server Information Store ID no: 8004011d-0512-00000000
Problem The account used to do the merge does not have enough permissions of Exchange Administrator role or higher. The detailed report will show error:
0xC700005 Access Denied connecting to source server.
Resolution Make sure the account being used has rights to perform the merge. Minimum rights required are Exchange Administrator role.
Problem Notes can be recovered by merge or copy, and afterward you may notice that the create date has been reset to the recovery time.
Resolution This is by design.
For more information, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 824126, "How to use Recovery Storage Groups in Exchange Server 2003."