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Summary: Exchange Server Administrators face constant threats to their Exchange server environment. A robust disaster recovery plan is crucial, involving database consistency checks, hardware maintenance, server settings adjustments, mock drills, and the use of tools like ESEUTIL and Kernel for Exchange Server. Selecting the right approach is key for Exchange Server disaster recovery.

Being an Exchange Server Administrator presents numerous challenges due to the constant presence of multiple threats in the Exchange server environment. The Exchange database stores all user mailboxes within the organization, underscoring the critical importance of having a robust disaster recovery plan in place to address potential issues. Central to this plan is the identification and mitigation of common threats, along with procedures for recovering deleted or corrupted mailboxes.

When an Exchange server experiences a crash, the typical course of action for the Exchange Administrator is to resort to data recovery from backups. However, it’s important to recognize that backups may not always contain the entirety of the required data. Furthermore, the process of restoring data from backups can be time-consuming, potentially resulting in prolonged mailbox inaccessibility. This underscores the importance of prioritizing the restoration of mail flow as the initial response to such incidents.

Essential exercises in Exchange disaster scenario

Here are essential exercises for Exchange Server 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010 that must be diligently practiced in the event of an Exchange disaster. These exercises are designed to ensure the successful recovery of deleted mailboxes while maintaining the overall health of the system.

  1. Check for the consistency of the Exchange database: Before making any changes to the database, they must be recorded in the transaction log file, which maintains a sequential record of all transactions. Once all these transactions have been successfully committed to the database, it achieves a state of consistency, making it eligible for mounting on the Exchange Server. Ensuring a database is consistent is a prerequisite for mounting it on the server.However, if all changes have not been properly committed, the database enters an inconsistent state, rendering it unfit for mounting. In such cases, it becomes imperative to restore the database to a consistent state before attempting to mount it again.
  2. Upgrade your hardware: Frequently, Exchange server outages stem from hardware failures such as sudden power interruptions, recurring power outages, hard drive malfunctions, or physical damage to its components. To mitigate these risks, it is imperative for Exchange administrators to regularly maintain and update the server’s hardware infrastructure. Below, we list some key hardware components that should undergo periodic replacement:
    • Power supply cables
    • Memory
    • Processor
    • RAID controllers
    • NIC (Network Interface Controller)
  3. Adjust the Exchange Server settings: Exchange server administrators have the capability to enhance the stability of the Exchange environment by configuring various settings, including:
    • Save the transaction log files in RAID volume.
    • Increase the retention settings under the data retention policy.
    • Increase the deleted mailbox retention under data retention policy.
  4. Run a mock drill of Exchange Server disaster recovery: Conducting a simulated drill to simulate an Exchange server disaster can provide you with invaluable insights and better prepare you for a real emergency. This exercise allows you to assess the effectiveness of your data recovery methods and determine whether they are sufficient for a successful data retrieval.
  5. Use Exchange recovery utilities: There are some inbuilt features in Exchange Server 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010 & other previous versions to repair a corrupt database. You can use these tools in case of severe issues. The most popular one is ESEUTIL which is a command-line tool that uses the transaction log files to recover the data and restore it to its previous state.
How to use ESEUTIL tool?

You can find the ESEUTIL tool at the following location:

C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Bin

ESEUTIL offers a variety of switches that administrators can employ based on the extent of corruption in the database file. Let’s walk through the process of repairing an EDB file using the ESEUTIL tool.

Step #1: Defragment the database: Defragmentation empowers administrators to meticulously reorganize the database, leading to a rejuvenated order that significantly enhances the performance of Exchange mailboxes.

First, dismount the database with the following cmdlet:

Dismount-Database -Identity “Database12345”

After running the command, you will be asked to confirm your selection by clicking “Y” to dismount the database.

Now run the Eseutil /d switch to defragment the database

After completing the repair process, you can mount the database back to its previous state

Step #2: Repair the corrupt database: Before repairing the database, it is wise to take a secure backup of the database in case the command does not work properly or data is lost.

Now, run the following cmdlet:

Eseutil /r E00 /l “C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Mailbox\Database12345” /d “C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Mailbox\Database12345”

After this, you can check the status of the database. If it shows a clean status, then you can mount the database.

Step #3: Hard repair of the database: If the normal repair with the Eseutil does not recover the data, then you can go for the hard repair option. But it is advisable only in some extreme situations, as the hard repair can further delete the data.

Eseutil /p “Database12345”

Step #4: After completing the repairing process, mount the database back to Exchange server.

Mount-Database -Identity “Database12345”

Although ESEUTIL is quite famous among Exchange Administrators, it is not always successful in repairing the database completely, and there is no way to recover the deleted data. To get the complete data in the proper structure and format, you can take the help of a professional tool.

Use Kernel for Exchange Server

Kernel for Exchange Server is a sophisticated solution designed to efficiently repair corrupted Exchange mailboxes and seamlessly restore them to various destinations, including PST files, Live Exchange, and Microsoft 365. This advanced Exchange EDB Recovery tool effectively eliminates corruption within the Exchange database (.edb) and seamlessly restores all data to its original state.

This EDB to PST conversion tool conveniently accepts EDB files as the source and facilitates the recovery process by saving mailboxes as EDB to PST files, as well as offering seamless integration with live Exchange, Outlook, Office 365, and Public Folder repositories.


After thoroughly acquainting yourself with the intricacies of Exchange Server corruption and the array of recovery options available, you can confidently select the most suitable approach to tackle Exchange Server disasters across various versions, including Exchange Server 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, and preceding iterations. However, if your primary goal is swift data retrieval and ensuring the integrity of your data, then opting for a specialized tool is highly recommended.

Kernel for Exchange Server