The Right Way to Perform Recovery in Exchange 2007

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In my last post I showed you the right way to perform a backup in Exchange 2007. In today's article, I'll show you how to perform an Exchange Server recovery from NTBackup.

We'll go over the steps for getting ready for a restore, performing mailbox recovery, and merging recovered databases in Exchange Server 2007.

But before we get started, I would like to mention a couple of things.

First, I would like to invite you to sign up for our free Newsletter to receive our training release notifications, free training videos, exclusive discount offers, and more!

The second thing I wanted to touch on before we get into the recovery procedure is probably the most important thing: the exchange-aware backup. As I mentioned in my last article, your Exchange Server backup must be configured properly in order for you to be able to do the recovery.

If you haven't done it already, take some time to read my article on performing a backup before you get started on this one. It will show you not only the wrong and right way to perform a backup, but also how to set up and configure your Exchange backup.

After all, your entire recovery depends on how well you perform your backup, so knowing all of this will pay off in the end, I promise.

Getting Ready For a Restore

Assuming you have done your homework and configured your Exchange backups correctly, we are going to now recover a mailbox from your recent backup. Before we perform the actual restore, there are a few steps that must be done in the Exchange Management Console to prepare the server for our restore.

1. Open the Exchange Management Console and click on Toolbox under Microsoft Exchange:

Exchange Recovery 1

2. Under the Disaster Recover Tools option Select Database Recovery Management:

Exchange Recovery 2

3. Then click on Open Tool in the right column under Actions:

Exchange Recovery 3

4. Exchange will check and look for available updates. Make sure you allow this process to complete:

Exchange Recovery 4

5. Once the update process is complete, go ahead and click on the "Go to welcome screen" link:

Exchange Recovery 5

6. Please note that even though we were clicking on the recovery tool, you will see "Microsoft Exchange Troubleshooting Assistant" on the top of this window. Another name you may see there is MSXTA:

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7. Go ahead and type in a label for this procedure. In this example, I am going to call it Recover Mailbox Items. Also check and make sure that the correct Server name and Domain Controller are listed. When done, click on the Next link:

Exchange Recovery 7

8. You will now see all the different types of tasks that can be performed. We are going to select the Create a recovery storage group task under the Manage Recover Storage Group option:

Exchange Recovery 8

9. Select the storage group that holds the mailbox that you need to restore and click Next:

Exchange Recovery 9

10. In this window you will be asked for several different things. First you need to enter the Recovery storage group name.

I am going to use the default name called Recovery Storage Group. The Transaction log file folder information as well as the System folder and checkpoint file folder location should be entered automatically. If you have to redirect the recovery paths, click on the Browse button and select the alternate location:

Exchange Recovery 10

11. If you scroll down you will also see the Database information. Just like with the Transaction and System information, the Database fields should also be filled in automatically by the server. Once you are ready, click on the Create the recovery storage group link:

Exchange Recovery 11

12. We have created the recovery storage group successfully. Scroll down on this page and click on the Go back to task center link:

Exchange Recovery 12

13. We now have more options available under the Manage Recovery Storage Group options:

Exchange Recovery 13

Mailbox Recovery

We have specified our folder paths and then created a recovery storage group on our Exchange server. We are finally ready for our restore.

1. On your Exchange Server, go to the Start menu and select the NTBackup:

Exchange Recovery 14

2. Click on the Restore and Manage Media tab:

Exchange Recovery 15

3. Go ahead and expend the file folder and look for the latest created backup. In my example here that would be the backup2.bkf file from 12/13/2007. I will expand it and click on the first storage group.

In the right column I will select the items that I need for my restore, which are: Log files and Mailbox Database. Do the same for your restore and when done, click on the Start Restore button:

Exchange Recovery 16

4. Check the boxes for the following options: Last Restore Set and Mount Database After Restore. Then specify the location for log and patch files.

In my example I'll use c:\temp as the temporary location for these files. When ready, click the OK button:

Exchange Recovery 17

5. The restore process will now start. Once completed you will see the window below. Go ahead and click Close:

Exchange Recovery 18

Merging Recovered Database

1. Before we continue to see the recovered mailbox, we need to make sure that the database is mounted. To do that, go back to the Microsoft Exchange Troubleshooting Assistant window and click on the Mount or Dismount database in the recovery storage group:

Exchange Recovery 19

2. Check the checkbox next to the Mailbox Database and click on Mount Selected Database:

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3. Once finished, go back to the task center once again and click on Manage or Copy Mailbox Contents:

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4. In the next window select Gather Merge Information:

Exchange Recovery 22

5. Then click on the Perform Pre-Merge Tasks link:

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6. In this window you can choose which mailboxes you want to restore. You can select them all, one, or just a few. When you are done making selections, click on the Perform Merge Options link:

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7. The mailbox has been restored! Now your clients can login and find all their lost information in their mailboxes:

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That's it for backing up and restoring your Exchange Server 2007. If you're interested in other Exchange Server 2007 topics check out my previous articles:


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Gosia Grabowska

Gosia Grabowska is an experienced Network Support Specialist and an expert in Windows Server support. She graduated from DePaul University, Chicago with a Bachelor degree in Network Technologies with highest honors. Gosia has over 8 years of technical and support experience and has worked as Systems Administrator for a high profile law firm, where she managed the Backup and Disaster Recovery plan. Gosia has been a part of the Train Signal team since 2006 as the Product Manager and has written many articles on a variety of topics, including Exchange Server 2007, Windows Vista, Small Business Server, and more. (MCTS Active Directory, MCTS Vista, Network+, Linux+, Project+, PMP)