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How to use ESEUTIL for Exchange Server Repair?

Megha Sharma
Megha Sharma Updated On - 30 Sep 2020

Exchange database corruption is one of the critical issues faced by administrators. Quite often, we come across the corruption of MS Exchange database files when the access to mailboxes gets lost completely. Many organizations experience the same hazard with the risk of data loss. There are some manual solutions to overcome this database corruption issue. ESEUTIL is one of the Exchange inbuilt tools that help in repairing corrupted or damaged Exchange Server. It also ensures good health of the information store in an Exchange Server. Let us discuss this in-built tool Eseutil in detail.

You can find ESEUTIL, a command-line utility in \EXCHSRVR\BIN directory. Using this tool, you can perform database repair, offline defragmentation, integrity check for database, fix JET ENGINE or Extensible Storage Engine errors, etc. Before using it, you must ensure that Exchange database is dismounted and database replica, enough disk space (minimum 1.2 times the database file size) is available.

ESEUTIL utility helps in performing hard recovery manually when the server fails to perform the automatic soft recovery (replaying log files to make database consistent) on restarting it. It also repairs page level database corruption issues.

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Now, let us discuss how you can manually repair Exchange database corruption with the in-built utility – ESEUTIL. First, take a backup of the Exchange database file, note down the location of the Exchange EDB file (default path location is C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V\Mailbox\<database_name>), and then dismount the database before performing this manual recovery through ESEUTIL application. Also, ensure that enough disk space is available.

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

  1. CHECK FOR THE CONSISTENCY OF EXCHANGE DATABASE
  2. CHECK FOR THE REQUIRED LOGS STATUS
  3. PERFORM RECOVERY (SOFT OR HARD)
  4. PERFORM DEFRAGMENTATION
  5. MOUNT AND DISMOUNT STORES

Now, get the details of the above steps to manually perform the hard recovery with ESEUTIL command-line utility and deal with Exchange database corruption issues.

CHECK FOR THE CONSISTENCY OF EXCHANGE DATABASE

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 can be two outputs – either it shows ‘Clean’ database shutdown state or it shows ‘Dirty’ database shutdown state. For Clean database shutdown state, the action you need to perform is to move all transaction log files from the folder and then mount the stores.

When the database shutdown state is Dirty, follow the next step.

CHECK FOR THE REQUIRED LOGS STATUS

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.

PERFORM RECOVERY (SOFT OR HARD)

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

But, if the log files are unhealthy or not available, Hard recovery is required. Before that, restore database from backup, if available. After restoration, a file named restore.env is created at a temporary location. Copy this temporary folder and paste it at other location. In this situation, run this command for Hard recovery –

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.

PERFORM DEFRAGMENTATION

After that, defrag the database offline to reorganize the information stored on the system by removing or eliminating the empty spaces in the database. Run this command –

eseutil /d
MOUNT AND DISMOUNT STORES

Once successful defragmentation is performed, first, mount and then dismount the stores.

This is how we performed the manual database recovery with Eseutil command. If the database is mounted successfully, the repair is successful. And, if not, then there might be case of severe corruption in database or some other reason. The Exchange database recovery through in-built ESEUTIL application commands has some drawbacks as well.

  • 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 scenario, I would recommend going for the most trusted professional Exchange Server Recovery software – Kernel for EDB to PST Converter that performs flawless and complete recovery of Exchange database.

FINAL WORDS

Exchange database can be repaired with a manual solution – ESEUTIL utility, if run with care and database corruption is not extreme. At least users can give a try for it before being hopeless about the manual solutions for recovery. However, in cases like an urgent need for data and corruption is not manageable, trusting third-party solutions is a better option.