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The number of heavy attachments in emails is one of the reasons for the large size of Exchange database. Emails, when sent without attachments, may not take much space. But when email messages are attached with documents, images, etc., they consume a lot of storage space. If more and more messages are sent and received with large attachments, the Exchange Database becomes large in size. And these attachments can raise the database size to many Gigabytes. And finally, it could affect the performance of Exchange Server and lead to corruption of Exchange database files.
To reduce the size of Exchange database files, the user’s first step should be move or export email attachments to other location from the Exchange database. This action would free some space from the Exchange Server database. Some manual methods to remove attachments in different Exchange Server versions are –
Microsoft offers a free utility, ExMerge, to extract the Exchange Server data along with the attachments. This tool can be downloaded from the Microsoft website itself. Generally, with Exchange Server 2000, 2003, 2007 versions, ExMerge utility can be used.
Before running this utility, Exchange user account must be assigned full mailbox rights over the user mailboxes. Now, download the ExMerge utility from the Microsoft website, install it on your system and launch it. You can just follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
The export process gets completed soon depending on the amount of the data exported.
Definitely ExMerge utility comes free, but has many limitations on data, i.e. target PST file size is limited to 2 GB and the entire message is exported along with the attachments (attachments are not exported separately) with this process.
Another way to extract attachments is using Exchange Management Shell. For this, Export-Mailbox PowerShell commands can be used with Exchange 2007. To use these cmdlets, the user must have full access permissions on user mailboxes. The user account should have Exchange Server Administrator role and should be a member of the local Administrators group.
Run the following command to extract the messages with attachments:
When you execute this command, all the messages containing .doc files will be moved to the specified location C:\Attach.pst and removed from its earlier location.
For later versions like Exchange 2010, 2013, 2016, users can use a different set of cmdlets. Use this command to assign the rights:
Now, export the attachments using the following command:
All the messages with attachments having a .doc extension are now saved to Attachments.pst file located in the shared folder named PSTShare. The exported messages are not deleted from the source location though.
After going through these manual solutions, users would have understood that extraction of attachments from messages is possible, but the methods are not at all handy to use. They definitely require technical know-how about how to use PowerShell commands and ExMerge utility. To avoid these issues, users can go for another option, Kernel for Exchange Recovery software. With this powerful Exchange Server Recovery software, users can save attachments to the desired location in PST format.
Let us understand how Kernel for Exchange Recovery helps in easily extracting attachments from Live Exchange.
Note: You can add live Exchange Server also as a source.
So, as you have seen, extracting attachments from offline EDB file or live Exchange is easy with Kernel for Exchange Server Recovery software.
The article throws light on the manual methods (ExMerge utility and PowerShell commands) for removing or extracting attachments from live Exchange. It discusses the limitations of the features as well. A suggestion (third-party tool) for the foolproof extraction of attachments from the Exchange messages is also provided.