Read time 6 minutes

Summary: Exchange Server errors are common and can affect mailbox integrity. The ESEUTIL utility, found in Exchange Server’s directory, offers solutions like database repair and integrity checks. The article outlines a manual recovery process with steps and corresponding Eseutil switches. It covers checking database consistency, log file status, performing recovery (soft or hard), defragmentation, and mounting/disconnecting stores. The article also highlights ESEUTIL’s limitations and recommends third-party recovery tools for severe corruption.

Exchange Server errors are an inevitable challenge that Exchange administrators encounter on a regular basis. These errors can stem from various hardware or software issues, ultimately impacting the mailbox’s integrity and manifesting as error codes. Seasoned administrators can often pinpoint the root cause of such errors and address them manually. However, for more complex issues, Exchange provides a built-in repair tool known as ESEUTIL. This powerful utility can scan the Exchange Database (EDB) file and execute fundamental recovery procedures, effectively repairing corruption or damage within the Exchange Server.

You can locate ESEUTIL, a command-line utility, within the \EXCHSRVR\BIN directory. This versatile tool empowers you to execute various tasks, including database repair, offline defragmentation, integrity checks, and resolution of JET ENGINE or Extensible Storage Engine errors, among others. Prior to utilizing ESEUTIL, it’s imperative to confirm that the Exchange database is dismounted and that there is adequate disk space, a minimum of 1.2 times the database file size, available to ensure smooth operation.

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Now, let’s delve into the process of manually repairing Exchange database corruption using the built-in utility known as ESEUTIL. Begin by creating a backup of the Exchange database file, and make sure to carefully record the location of the Exchange EDB file (typically found at the default path: C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V\Mailbox\<database_name>), Prior to initiating this manual recovery procedure through the ESEUTIL application, it’s crucial to dismount the database. Additionally, please verify that there is ample available disk space to accommodate the repair process.

To learn the manual recovery, you must follow the 5 steps one after another.


To execute the aforementioned steps, you’ll need to utilize a range of switches at each stage of the recovery process. The table below provides details on various Eseutil switches to assist you in this endeavor.

Switches Functions
/G Checks the integrity of the selected database.
/K Runs the checksums on database file, log files, and checkpoint files.
/D Defragments the whole database thus saves the storage by removing the white spaces.
/P Repairs the corrupt offline database files and discards such pages that it cannot repair.
/R Places the database in a consistent state by replaying the transaction logs.
/M Provides a display of headers of database files, transaction logs, and checkpoint files.
/C Conducts a hard recovery of database after recovering data from backup files.
/Y Copies the large database EDB files quickly.

Now, let’s delve into the specifics of the aforementioned steps for manually executing a hard recovery using the ESEUTIL command-line utility, effectively addressing Exchange database corruption issues.


Start with checking the database is consistent or not. Open the ESEUTIL utility from \EXCHSRVR\BIN directory location and run the command –

eseutil /mh

There are two possible outcomes: the system can indicate a ‘Clean’ database shutdown state or a ‘Dirty’ database shutdown state. When the system is in a ‘Clean’ database shutdown state, the recommended course of action is to relocate all transaction log files from their current folder and subsequently mount the data stores.

When the database is in a Dirty shutdown state, proceed to the next step.


If you found the Dirty database shutdown state, check if the ‘Required’ log files are present. To check the status of Required log files, run the command –

eseutil /ml

The output results will be if the log files are healthy or not.


If the output shows that log files are healthy, perform Soft recovery with the command –

eseutil /r /l “log files path location” /d ” database path location

After it, mount the stores. It will resolve the problem.

In case, you encountered database mismatch error, rectify it by running the command –

eseutil /i “log files path location” /d ” database path location

In cases where the log files are either corrupted or unavailable, a Hard recovery process becomes necessary. Prior to initiating this recovery, it is advisable to attempt a database restoration from an existing backup, if one is accessible. Following the successful restoration, a file named “restore.env” is automatically generated in a temporary directory. To proceed, simply copy this temporary folder and paste it into a designated location of your choice. Once this step is completed, you can execute the following command –

eseutil /cc “restore.env file folder path

If the temporary folder is empty now, Hard recovery is successful. Mount the stores again.

In case you do not have a backup along with you, execute this command to perform the Hard recovery.

eseutil /p

Select OK and then the Hard recovery is performed.


Following this, perform an offline database defragmentation to optimize the system’s stored information by eliminating empty spaces within the database structure. Run this command –

eseutil /d

Here is our procedure for conducting manual database recovery using the ESEUTIL command. A successful database mounting indicates a successful repair operation, while a failure may suggest severe corruption within the database or other underlying issues. It’s important to note that utilizing the ESEUTIL application’s built-in commands for Exchange database recovery does come with certain limitations and drawbacks.

  • The need for technical expertise
  • Chances of incomplete recovery
  • The need for disk space
  • Lengthy procedure
  • May result in further corruption of data
  • Keen attention is required to avoid mistakes
  • Able to fix minor corruption errors or glitches

In such a situation, I highly recommend opting for a trusted professional Exchange Recovery software designed for EDB to PST conversion. This software excels in seamlessly and comprehensively recovering Exchange databases, ensuring a flawless retrieval process.


You can restore an Exchange database using the ESEUTIL utility through a careful manual process, provided the database corruption is not severe. It’s worth attempting this method before losing hope in manual recovery options. However, in situations where there’s an urgent demand for data and the corruption is beyond control, relying on trusted third-party solutions becomes the wiser choice.

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