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Summary: This article explores the process of migrating Exchange databases from one server to another, utilizing both manual and automated methods. It highlights the efficiency of the Database Portability method, offering steps and prerequisites for a successful transfer. Advantages and limitations of this method are discussed, along with alternative approaches like Windows Server Backup and Dial Tone Recovery. The article concludes by recommending Exchange Mailbox Recovery software for seamless database restoration, emphasizing its versatility and reliability for Exchange data migration.

Exchange Databases operate within the framework of an Exchange Server, ensuring the synchronization of mailboxes to maintain data consistency and accessibility. However, the scope of a database extends beyond its originating Exchange Server. It is possible to restore a database to a new server, enhancing its features and security. There exist manual techniques for database restoration that do not impact the mailbox, but these methods demand a specific level of expertise to ensure a secure and successful execution.

In this article, we will discuss the process of migrating databases from one Exchange Server to another, covering both manual and automated methods for achieving this task.

Restore database using portability method

Database portability stands out as an exceptionally efficient means of seamlessly transferring an Exchange database to a different server. This remarkable feature enables you to effortlessly restore a mailbox database from any Exchange server onto your desired target server. The boon of Database Portability extends its support to a wide array of Exchange Server versions, spanning from Exchange 2016, 2013, 2010, & 2016. Nevertheless, prior to embarking on the journey of migrating your database from one server to another via the database portability method, there are crucial insights that warrant your attention.

Things to know before moving the data
  • You must have assigned Organization Management permissions to perform this procedure. Check Mailbox recovery permissions on Microsoft.
  • You cannot use EAC to restore or move user mailboxes to a recovered database using this technique.
Steps to move database to a new server
  1. Open Exchange Management Shell.
  2. Make sure the data you want to move is in the clean shutdown state. If it isn’t, then perform a soft recovery.
    ESEUTIL /R <Enn>
  3. Now, use the following syntax to create a database on the new server.
    New-MailboxDatabase -Name <DatabaseName> -Server <ServerName> -EdbFilePath <DatabaseFileNameandPath> -LogFolderPath <LogFilesPath>
  4. In the next step, set the attribute “This database can be overwritten by restore” with the following command.
    Set-MailboxDatabase <DatabaseName> -AllowFileRestore $true
  5. Now, move the database files like EDB, Log, and Exchange Search catalog files to the specified database folder that you have selected while creating a new database.
  6. Use the following command to mount the database.
    Mount-Database <DatabaseName>
  7. Once the mounting process of the database is complete, you’ll have to modify the user account settings using the Set-Mailbox cmdlet to ensure that the account points to the mailbox on the new server. You can use the below syntax to move all users from the old database to the new database.
    Get-Mailbox -Database <SourceDatabase> |where {$_.ObjectClass -NotMatch ‘(SystemAttendantMailbox|ExOleDbSystemMailbox)’}| Set-Mailbox -Database <TargetDatabase>
  8. In the last step, trigger the delivery of any message remaining in the queues with the following command:
    Get-Queue <QueueName> | Retry-Queue -Resubmit $true

After the successful completion of Active Directory replication, users will find seamless access to their mailboxes on the upgraded Exchange server. Typically, the transition to the new Exchange environment is effortless, thanks to the automatic redirection facilitated by Autodiscover. Furthermore, Outlook web users will also be seamlessly redirected to the improved Exchange environment.

Verify database restoration

To verify whether the mailboxes are successfully moved to the new Exchange Server, follow any of the below methods:

  • Open Exchange mailboxes via Outlook on the web
  • Open Exchange mailboxes using MS Outlook

On opening any of these platforms, you’ll find that the mailboxes have been moved to the new Exchange Server.

Advantages of the database portability method
  • Reduces database recovery time
  • More accuracy and reliability with reduced chances for error
Limitations of the database portability method

Even after being a reliable method to move a database from one Exchange to another, there are some limitations to this method, such as:

  • You can move or move the database only in the same organization.
  • The version of the operating system and Exchange Server must be the same on both the source and the target.
  • You cannot move public folder databases.
  • You cannot perform this action using the Exchange admin center (EAC).
  • Can’t move mailboxes from older Exchange versions to Exchange 2016/2019 mailbox server
Alternatives to database portability method

You can try several methods as an alternative to the database portability method. Some of them are:

  • Windows Server Backup: In this method, you simply create a Windows Server Backup on the old server and restore it to the new server.
  • Dial Tone Recovery: In this method, an empty database is created to ensure the continuity of email communication during the recovery time.
  • A Professional Exchange Database Recovery tool: There are manual methods to convert EDB to PST that are reliable, but restoring the Exchange database to a new server is not feasible with these manual methods. But you can use a professional Exchange database recovery tool for this purpose.
Restore Exchange databases to any Exchange version using third party tool

Kernel for Exchange Server is a reliable and indispensable utility designed to facilitate the seamless recovery of corrupted or compromised Exchange database files, effortlessly restoring them to Exchange Servers of all versions.

Exchange mailbox recovery software effectively eradicates the constraints associated with data portability methods for restoring Exchange databases. It not only repairs and transfers EDB files seamlessly into the Exchange environment but also empowers users to effortlessly migrate their Exchange data to diverse platforms like Office 365, PST, live Exchange, and more. Moreover, it boasts a range of distinctive and high-quality features, some of which are:

  • Repair and retrieve data from corrupt Exchange EDB files
  • Migrate Exchange mailboxes to Office 365 and live Exchange
  • Migrate online EDB files to Exchange Server
  • Extract EDB files from NT backup with the inbuilt backup extractor
  • Compatible with every version of Windows operating system & Exchange Server

These features make it the most useful and recommendable tool for moving data from one Exchange Server to another.


Migrating data from Exchange to Exchange becomes a necessity when you face any corruption errors in the Exchange server or if you want to access new features of the latest versions of Exchange. But, the manual technique is not that much reliable due to its limitations. Therefore, it makes sense to use the Exchange Server Recovery tool to restore the Exchange database files to a new server.

Kernel for Exchange Server