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In simple language, Dial tone portability means allotting users a temporary mailbox for sending and receiving emails till their original mailbox becomes functional after a repair or restoration. This feature helps businesses to maintain email continuity in scenarios of Exchange Server failures or database issues.

You can have the temporary mailbox on the same server or another server in your organization (but they must contain databases with the same database schema version). The Autodiscover clients are automatically redirected to a new database (no manual update is required). When the original mailbox of the user has been restored, you, as an administrator, can merge the recovered mailbox and the dial tone mailbox.

Dial Tone Recovery – Exchange Server 2013/2016

In Dial Tone recovery, an empty database is created on a mailbox server, and the failed database is replaced with it. The empty database that you create is referred as dial tone database through which you can send or receive messages while your original database is being repaired.

Performing Dial Tone Recovery

The pre-requisites for executing the Dial Tone Recovery are:

  • The user must have Organization Management permissions on mailboxes
  • Must have less number of databases on the server than the maximum allowed

Info: Exchange 2013/2016 Standard Edition supports up to five databases per server.

How to perform dial-tone recovery on a single server?

Start Exchange Management Shell and run the given commands one-by-one:

  1. To create a dial tone database, run the command:
    New-MailboxDatabase -Name <dial tone database name> -EdbFilePath <enter full EDB file location path>
  2. To reset the user mailboxes hosted on the database being recovered, run:
    Get-Mailbox -Database <database name> | Set-Mailbox -Database <dial tone database name>
  3. Now, mount the database so that client computers can access the database, and send and receive the messages –
    Mount-Database -Identity <dial tone database name>
  4. Create a recovery database using this command:
    New-MailboxDatabase -Recovery -Name <recovery database name> -Server <server name>

    To create another recovery database on another server:

    New-MailboxDatabase -Recovery -Name <recovery database name> -Server <server name> -EdbFilePath “<full EDB file path location>” -LogFolderPath “<full log folder path location>”
  5. Once the data is copied to the Recovery database, copy the log files from the failed database to the recovery database log folder so they can be played against the restored database.
    First, mount the recovery database and then dismount it –

    Mount-Database -Identity <recovery database name>
    Dismount-Database -Identity <recovery database name>
  6. After dismounting the recovery database, move current database and log files residing in the recovery database folder to another secured location (it is a preparation step to swap recovered database with dial tone database).
  7. Now, dismount the dial tone database-
    Dismount-Database -Identity <dial tone database name>

    Now move database and log files from dial tone database to recovery database folder.

  8. Further, move the database and log files from the secured location to the dial tone database folder. Once moved, mount the dial tone database again –
    Mount-Database -Identity <dial tone database name>

    Now, users can access the original database and can send and receive messages.

  9. Once again mount the recovery database-
    Mount-Database -Identity <recovery database name>
  10. To export the data from the recovery database to recovered database, run the following commands-
    $mailboxes = Get-Mailbox -Database <dial tone database name>
    $mailboxes | %{ New-MailboxRestoreRequest -SourceStoreMailbox $_.ExchangeGuid -SourceDatabase <recovery database name> -TargetMailbox $_ }
  11. Now, you can dismount and remove the recovery database-
    Dismount-Database -Identity <recovery database name>
    Remove-MailboxDatabase -Identity <recovery database name>

Now to verify that your mailbox has successfully been moved, open the mailbox Microsoft Outlook and Outlook for Web and check messages.

An easier recovery method

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