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Exchange Server contacts are crucial to an organization as its other items contain addresses with which regular information exchange is established via emails. Do you know even these Exchange contacts need to be backed up? Let us throw light on it this requirement of Exchange users.

Need to export Exchange contacts to PST

The Exchange administrator may seek to export Exchange Server mailbox contacts in these scenarios.

  • To recover Exchange mailbox contacts in case of corruption issues, ransomware attacks, server crashes, etc.
  • To access Exchange mailbox contacts in case of Exchange server is down or under maintenance
  • To fulfill organization compliances or regulations to have a complete database backup
  • To export contacts to a new organization after mergers, acquisitions, or transfers

The above reasons, one or more, can compel Exchange administrators to have a backup of Exchange mailbox contacts, and the best way to do this is by exporting them into portable and accessible Outlook PST files.

Using Exchange PowerShell to export Exchange contacts to PST

To export Exchange contacts to PST file format, Exchange administrators can take the help of the Exchange PowerShell or the Exchange Management Shell cmdlet – New-MailboxExportRequest. This method applies to Exchange Server 2010 and the above versions.

Let us start with the pre-requirements for the export of Exchange contacts to PST files.

Pre-requirements for export
  • The user performing the contacts export must be the Exchange administrator or must have administrative rights.
  • Assign Mailbox Import Export role to the Exchange user exporting contacts to PST file, using this Exchange Management Shell command.
    New-ManagementRoleAssignment -Role “Mailbox Import Export” -User <username>

    In the above command, provide the respective Exchange mailbox user name in place of <username>.

  • Exchange Server 2010 version must be updated to Service Pack 1
  • Outlook PST file needs to be saved on a network shared folder location
  • Add full permissions – Read, Change, Full Control to the Exchange Trusted Subsystem on the saving location
Steps to export Exchange contacts to PST

Once all the above conditions are fulfilled, follow these steps to exports contacts from your Exchange Server mailbox to the Outlook PST file on the shared folder path.

  1. Run the Exchange Management Shell application on the Exchange Server system as an administrator.
  2. Run this command to export contacts from a specific user mailbox to the defined or specified PST file folder path location.
    New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox <UserName>  -IncludeFolders “#Contacts#” -ExcludeDumpster -FilePath \\ExchSrv\FolderName\FileName.pst

    Provide the PST file path and the mailbox user name in the above command as per the requirements.

There is another way to export contacts from Exchange shared mailboxes and regular user mailboxes to CSV file format, i.e., using the Microsoft Outlook Import/Export feature.

Note: Exchange administrators may face an un-identification error after running the above command. For this, learn to fix the “New-MailboxExportRequest couldn’t find the enterprise organization container” error.

It can take time to export with the status Queued, which means the export is in progress, and you need to wait for the process to be completed. Once the export is completed, you can find the exported contacts at the specified location.

Is this manual method to export Exchange contacts to PST an ideal solution?

The native method of running an Exchange PowerShell command to export mailbox contacts to Outlook PST file for backup and other uses definitely requires hands-on experience on the Exchange Management Shell application and running its commands as a minor fault could result in complex errors and sometimes, in data loss or database corruption. One more drawback of the native export solution is slow performance. It can take some time to export contacts from the Exchange Server organization to the Outlook PST file format.

We understand all the hardships encountered by Exchange Server administrators at different levels and have come up with the best solution, i.e., a professional tool to recover the Exchange Server database and export its mailbox items y to PST and other locations. Exchange users can rely on the most trusted and robust Kernel for Exchange Server tool, which is the sole Exchange server data recovery tool that fixes all issues with the Exchange server database automatically and export contacts and other mailbox items to the file.


New-MailboxExportRequest command in the Exchange PowerShell offers export of Exchange user mailbox or items like Contacts, Calendars, etc. However, its limitations like slow export, errors, or manual mistakes, force users to look for a professional tool like Kernel for Exchange Server.

Kernel for Exchange Server