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Microsoft’s Exchange Server has revolutionized professional email communication for businesses, making it more convenient and efficient both internally and externally, regardless of the company’s size.

Microsoft has introduced several features in Exchange to make the messages completely secure. But still, many threats are roaming around to damage the database. These threats make the Exchange database corrupt and inaccessible. Some serious causes of Exchange database corruption are:

  • Virus attack
  • User error
  • Abrupt shutdown
  • Application malfunction
  • Error in database objects
  • Improper changes in the database schema

Security features of Exchange Server 2019

The latest version of Exchange Server has upgraded the security features to safeguard the user mailboxes. Here are some prominent features:

Windows Server Core Support: Using Exchange Server on Windows covers a lesser surface area. It reduces the chances of external attacks.

Block external access to Exchange admin center (EAC) and the Exchange Management Shell: There is a Client Access Rule to block the external usage of the Exchange Admin Center and Exchange Management Shell.

TLS 1.2 is the only version that’s enabled by default: For the betterment of client and server connections, the default encryption will be TLS 1.2 only. The older algorithms like DES, 3DES, RC2, RC4, and MD5 will remain disabled.

How to check corruption in Exchange mailbox?

In the Exchange Server 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019, run the following steps to check for corruption in your Exchange database and mailboxes.

  1. Open Eseutil.exe
  2. Run the eseutil /mh command to identify if the database is in Dirty Shutdown or Clean Shutdown state.

If the result shows you a Clean Shutdown state, your database is free from errors or corruption. However, if you find Dirty shutdown state, there is corruption and inconsistency in your EDB files and recovery is crucial.

Run the given PowerShell command using Exchange Management Shell to find if there’s corruption in the mailbox of Exchange 2013, 2016, and 2019.

New-MailboxRepairRequest

The command will help you find either out of the four corruption types: AggregateCounts, FolderView, ProvisionedFolder, and SearchFolder.

Eseutil helps in repairing the database only if the mailbox database is dismounted. However, the given PowerShell cmdlet helps repair individual and multiple mailboxes without dismounting the online database.

Methods to repair corrupt Exchange database files

Let’s discuss the two methods to recover the lost data from a corrupt Exchange database and convert EDB file to PST

Using Eseutil utility to repair EDB files

Eseutil is an inbuilt tool, serving various essential functions such as repairing corrupted Exchange databases, defragmenting them, verifying database integrity, and optimizing storage by reducing database size.

  1. Locate the Exchange Database
  2. The default location of the tool in Exchange 2013/2016 is:

    C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Bin

    default location of the Eseutil tool

    The Eseutil tool offers extensive functionality, allowing you to perform various actions using a range of switches:

    • To repair the database: eseutil /p
    • To defragment the database: eseutil /d
    • To restore the database: eseutil /r
    • To verify checksum in the database: eseutil /k
    • To check the database integrity: eseutil /g
    • To do hard recovery: eseutil /c
    • To display the headers, logs, or checkpoint files: eseutil /m
    • To copy database and log files: eseutil /y
  3. First, dismount the database from Exchange.
    Dismount-Database –Identity <name of the database>

    dismount the database from Exchange

  4. Run Eseutil /d command
    eseutil /d <name of the database> /T <location of temporary path>

    Run Eseutil command

  5. After successfully running the Eseutil command, mount the database back to Exchange.
    Mount-Database –Identity <name of the database>

    mount the database back to Exchange

  6. Repair the database with Eseutil /p command.
    eseutil /p <location of the database>

    Repair the database with Eseutil

  7. Finally, run the new-mailbox repair request command to fix the errors in the database.
  8. New-MailboxRepairRequest -Database <name of the database> -CorruptionType <type of corruption>

run the new-mailbox repair request command

You can execute this command multiple times to eliminate all issues in the Exchange database.

Limitations of manual method of recovery
  1. It can take a lot of your time to recover all the mailboxes.
  2. You’ll need a huge storage to keep your mailboxes.
  3. One should have proper knowledge and hands-on experience in using the EseUtil.
  4. There is a high risk of data loss.

Users who are new to the Microsoft Exchange Server environment might not have technical knowledge and expertise to understand how to operate the utility. To avoid the complexity, users can proceed with the automated method of Exchange database repair which doesn’t require you to dismount the database providing a hassle-free manner of doing it.

Recover corrupt Exchange Database using Exchange Server recovery software

When the Exchange database is severely damaged and cannot be repaired using Exchange’s built-in EseUtil utility, you can rely on specialized third party tool.

Kernel for Exchange Server can fully recover a corrupt Exchange database by retrieving the mailboxes (even the deleted ones). It has a simple interface and completes the recovery process in the minimum steps possible. Here is the step-by-step guide for Exchange database recovery:

  1. Launch the software and click the Offline EDB icon.
    Launch the software and click offline EDB
  2. Select the option Offline EDB File
    Select the first option
  3. Browse the corrupt EDB file.
    Browse the corrupt EDB
    Note: If you do not know the location of the EDB file, then click the Search button. It will help to search the EDB file from any folder or drive.
    search the EDB file from any folder or drive
  4. Select among the two scan options – Standard Scan and Deep Scan.
    select scan options
  5. All the data is recovered. Click Finish.
    data recovered successfully
  6. The EDB data gets added as the source and the mailboxes get listed as in the Exchange.
    EDB data gets added as the source
  7. Select an item from the mailbox folder and click Preview button. The tool will present its preview.
    Select an item to Preview
  8. To save a mailbox or message, click PST File option.
    save a mailbox
  9. Select the Create New PST file option to create a new PST file.
    Create New PST file
  10. Enter the destination folder, provide a new name for PST file and click Next.
    Enter the destination folder
  11. A new PST file is created at the specified location.
    PST file is created
  12. Now, you can copy the mailbox, folder, or messages from the EDB file to the PST file.

copy mailbox, folder, or messages

Conclusion

When there is a corruption in Exchange database, administrators have two primary options for recovery: Microsoft’s EseUtil and Kernel for EDB to PST software. While use ESEUTIL is helpful for soft and hard recovery, it may alter data integrity. In contrast, our EDB to PST Converter maintains data integrity and streamlines the recovery process, making it a more efficient solution, particularly for complex or severely damaged databases. The software is also vital for restoring email flow, ensuring productivity, and preventing data loss in Exchange environments.

Kernel for Exchange Server
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