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Exporting Exchange mailboxes to PST is a necessity that each administrator needs to perform routinely. When the size of mailboxes increases, then they become less responsive and slower. Also, there are multiple requirements for an Exchange mailbox backup-

Compliance requirements: You can export mailbox for legal retention purposes. The PST file is saved for future purposes like litigation.

Backup needs: If you want to take the backup of only a few mailboxes without saving others, then the export option allows you to choose an individual mailbox selectively.

Suppose, being an Exchange administrator, the user has decided to export some Exchange mailboxes to Outlook PST format. This can be done using the New-MailboxExportRequest command in the Exchange Management Shell

New-MailboxExportRequest –Mailbox ‘mailbox username’ –FilePath \\fileserver\psts\name.pst

Now everything is looking fine with the command after the user has entered the mailbox username, and the network shared path of the PST file folder. Still, the user has encountered an error as below:

The operation couldn’t be performed because object ‘xxx’ couldn’t be found on ‘domain name’. + CategoryInfo : NotSpecified: (0:Int32) [New-MailboxExportRequest], ManagementObjectNotFoundException + FullyQualifiedErrorId : 44ACBC3C,Microsoft.Exchange.Management.RecipientTasks.NewMailboxExportRequest

The error in brief states that “Object couldn’t be found on the primary domain”.

Note: The same error can be encountered even if the Exchange administrator has performed the Exchange mailbox export using the Exchange Admin Center interface.


Knowing the reason behind the error is necessary to resolve it. We suggest the Exchange administrator try these troubleshooting methods:

  1. Confirm the pre-requisites for mailbox export:To export Exchange mailboxes to PST file manually, ensure that the following conditions are met:
    • The user must be an Exchange administrator or should have equivalent rights and permissions
    • PST folder to which PST file will be exported is network-shared
    • The user must have Mailbox Import Export Role assigned

    Once all the pre-requisites of the New-MailboxExportRequest are met, you can try exporting mailboxes again.

  2. Check if the user mailbox which you are trying to export is NOT disabled or deleted. For this, go to the Active Directory Users and Computers on the Domain Control and confirm it. Also, verify that the FQDN of the domain controller is accessible from the system performing the export.
  3. Ensure that the root domain controller accessible from the Exchange Server from which you desire to export the mailboxes (if it is a child domain controller).
  4. If the mailbox user is on the child domain controller and emails are in the root domain controller, the Exchange Server would not be able to identify the user location properly.

So, add the Domain controller switch to the mailbox export command specifying the domain controller in which the user mailbox exists.

Now, the export command would be:

New-MailboxExportRequest –Mailbox ‘user mailbox name’ –FilePath “\\fileserver\psts\name.pst” –DomainController “mailbox domain name”

So, simply adding a Domain Controller switch to your Mailbox export command in the Exchange Management Shell would help you resolve the error problem.

Using Exchange Management Shell certainly requires expertise. There are chances of errors even if you are a pro.

If you are ready to go for an alternative for exporting Exchange mailboxes, which is simpler and less error-prone than the conventional process, then try a professional solution to export Exchange mailboxes.

Easy way to export Exchange mailboxes to PST and other destinations

Exchange mailboxes can be exported directly from the Exchange database to Outlook PST file without any complex commands. An easy method to do that is through a reliable professional tool, Kernel for Exchange Server.

Exchange Server recovery software not only repairs corrupt offline EDB files, but also supports mailbox export to Outlook PST file format. It converts EDB mailboxes to PST files and allows moving only desired data (with smart filters) after previewing the mailboxes items. Users can move mailboxes from offline EDB file of all Exchange Server versions (even older than Exchange 2010) to PST and destinations such as live Exchange, Microsoft 365 and Outlook profiles.

Summing Up

Sometimes, Exchange administrators may face the error ‘Object couldn’t be found on the primary domain’ while exporting mailboxes to PST. This Exchange error that occurs due to a different domain controller can be fixed by the introduction of a domain controller switch in the New-MailboxExportRequest command.

Kernel for Exchange Server