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Wednesday, 30 April 2014
4/30/2014 01:22:00 am 0

Exmerge: A great tool for edb to pst conversion

EDB file is the exchange repository that stores all exchange user mailbox data such as: emails, contacts, attachments, sent items etc. In the same way PST file stores the Outlook mailbox data. It is stored on user’s local system.

Under many circumstances a user may require to convert edb to pst format. Some common examples are, such as: User has left the organization or moved to new location and require using the previous mailbox data then, his mailbox data can be extracted from edb to pst file. This exported pst file can be used wherever required.

How to export edb to pst?

Microsoft provides a free utility named Exmerge for performing edb to pst conversion.

Exmerge:

In the beginning Exmerge was developed for Exchange disaster recovery. It was used to merge messages between two Exchange databases.

Consider a situation that the Exchange database got corrupt and can't be mounted. In order to make it working you have to repair it. It will take a long time to perform the whole repair process and it would hamper the user mail services. In order to avoid the wastage of time and human resources what you can do is: create a blank database for the users and take the corrupt database to other server for repairing. Once it is repaired it can be mounted back on the other server. 

Here comes the requirement to merge the repaired database with the new database because it is not possible to connect to both databases at same time. So, it is better to club them into a single database.

Stellar EDB to PST Converter is best alternative to Exchange Emerge utility. Download Trial version from here
free-download-large

Exmerge offers two types of merge options:

One step merge: Using Exmerge, You can export mailbox data from a database to a pst file. Then this pst file can be imported to another database B. This is called "one step" merge.

Two step merge: Using this option of exmerge, in first step either you can choose to extract data from Exchange mailboxes or import data from .PST files in the second step.

Some prominent features of Exmerge:

•    Exmerge can be used as a tool for taking brick backup of the Exchange mailbox. If there is some connectivity problem with the source and destination servers then perform Step 1, move the PST files to the destination server, and once the server are ready then perform Step 2.
•    It offers filtering capabilities. You can select the folder on basis of date and time ranges. You can search a message by subject line or attachment name. Using copy, move or delete the selected item. This feature can be used as a good way for removing an email virus
•    You can use it to operate on single mailboxes or all mailboxes in the exchange store. You can also select your desired mailboxes only. It also let you batch process many pst files and import data from the pst files to Exchange.
•    Exmerge removes duplicate messages while importing .PST file data to Exchange. You can also use it to take incremental backups of an exchange mailbox. Each time you run it for exporting data from exchange to an existing pst file. It will only export the new messages, not the duplicate ones. Thus it can come handy as a "brick backup" solution.
•    You can also script Exmerge to perform backup or automated archiving. You can configure the .ini file of exmerge to customize its settings.

How to perform edb to pst conversion using Exmerge (exchange 2003)?

Exmerge can be used with any version of Exchange from version 5.5 up to and including Exchange 2003.

Before running Exmerge, Download and extract Exmerge at location:  C:\Program Files\ExchSrvr\Bin folder. As, this path contains the DLL’s for execution of Exmerge. 
If you don’t do so then you have to add this path in to the Environment Variables.

There must be a user service account that can access all the mailboxes that are to be exported. If you don’t have a service account then you require creating a new user service account

Now follow the given steps:

•    Download Exmerge:
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=2743
•    Open you local sever and start Exmerge.exe
•    This will open Microsoft exchange mailbox merge wizard.
•    Now proceed further for Procedure selection. Here you have two options:
      o   Extract and Import (One-Step Procedure)
      o    Extract or Import (Two-Step Procedure)
•    Choose Extract or Import (Two-Step Procedure). Click next to proceed.
•    Here you have two options Extract data from an exchange server mailbox
•    Import data into an Exchange server mailbox. Click Next.
•    Now fill the details of the source server (i.e. Microsoft exchange server name from where the data is to be extracted).
•    You may also require filling some optional information. Such as:
      o    Domain controller (DC) name
      o    Port number for LDAP queries
•    Now browse for the location and select the mailbox/mailboxes that are to be exported. After selecting the mailbox click next.
•    Browse for the destination folder where the exported data is to be stored or fill its name in the Folder Name field. Click next to proceed.
•    Once the export process is complete, you can check that the pst file has been created at the location selected by you.

Note: If the file selected by you is larger than 2GB then go to Source Server page. From there go to dates tab and define a date range for the data to be exported. 
Once the export has finished, rename the PST to avoid getting it overwritten by new pst that will be created next time. And repeat the process for next date range

Where does Exmerge fail?

•   If the permissions aren’t correct then it fails to extract data. In such case creating a new service account can resolve the issue.
•   If the Information store is not mounted then Exmerge fails to perform conversion.
•   If the User account associated with the Exchange mailbox isn’t enabled.
•   Less disk space for storing the exported pst
•   If the Mailbox size is more than 2GB.
•   If there is Corruption in mailbox then, Exmerge fails to export the corrupt items.

If due to any of the reasons Exmerge fails to perform edb to pst conversion then you require a powerful edb to pst converter software.


Note: Exmerge was used in exchange versions prior to Exchange 2007. In the later versions it has been replaced by Exchange Management Shell cmdlets (Export-Mailbox and Import-Mailbox).

Read my upcoming articles, to know more about Exmerge and Exchange Management Shell cmdlets.
Tuesday, 29 April 2014
4/29/2014 11:38:00 pm 0

5 Most Common Exchange Server Problems and Their Solutions

Implementing an Exchange Server successfully needs careful planning and a systematic approach as this can offer many advantages to your business. A healthy Server environment is dependent on its successful configuration and interaction with other elements. One error can severely affect the performance of the whole server and it can create a bad effect on the entire server ecosystem.
Thursday, 24 April 2014
4/24/2014 01:58:00 am 0

10 Most Common Lotus Notes Error Messages and Their Solutions

Lotus Notes email application is used by business the world over. It is known to offer business teamwork functionality that includes sending/receiving emails, instant messaging, user directories, calendars, file sharing, blogs, micro-blogging contact management, team-rooms, to do lists, and discussion forums.
Wednesday, 23 April 2014
4/23/2014 03:19:00 am 0

How to tackle oversized OST file issues in Outlook?

OST files are the core of Outlook. It stores replica of all the outlook mailbox data present on Exchange server. Just like other files, ost too has predefined maximum file size limits.  If the size of your ost file grows beyond the predefined limit, then it becomes difficult to manage it and later on it can cause severe ost file corruption and data loss situations.

When a mailbox grows in size or the number of mails increases in the mailbox, then it becomes difficult for the user to manage them easily. For an easy email management, he may choose to delete the unwanted items from the mailbox or send those mail items to other folders.

When you delete an item from the mailbox it goes to Deleted Items folder. It still occupies space on the hard disk. Later on, the item can be deleted from the Deleted Items folder. This type of deletion is called soft deletion. But if you delete an item from the inbox by pressing SHILT+DEL it is deleted directly without being moved to Deleted Items folder. This type of deletion is known as hard deletion.

If the OST file grows up to critical size, then becomes more prone to corruption. To keep the ost size into limit you must keep removing the unwanted items from the ost file from time to time. After deleting the unwanted items from an OST file, perform ost file compaction. You can also choose to run automatic compaction. 

Use Stellar OST to PST Converter to resolve the OST file synchronization related issues.


From the above discussion, we can conclude that, in order to optimize the ost file size:

  • Delete the unwanted mailbox items from different folders
  • Empty the Deleted Items folder permanently.
  • Compact the ost file
In order to compact the ost file, follow the given steps:
  • To Clear offline items: simply go to menu ->Folder List -> Inbox. Then Open properties and select the option”Clear Offline Item”
  • Go to Tools -> E-mail accounts ->View or change existing e-mail accounts
  • Click Next
  • In the Outlook processes e-mail for these accounts in the following order list, choose the option Microsoft Exchange Server
  • Click Change.
  • Click More Settings -> Advanced tab -> Offline Folder File Settings then click Compact Now.
There can be other solutions to deal with the OST related issues:
  • Run Outlook in safe mode: If you are facing problems while working with outlook then, try running it in safe mode. See whether this resolves the problem or not.
  • Renaming and rebuilding the OST File: Sometimes your OST file starts troubling you while performing mail operations such as: opening, composing, sending, receiving and deleting mails. In such situation, only Renaming and rebuilding the OST File is enough to get the issue resolved. Juts rename your previous OST File, restart outlook and let it create a new OST file itself.
  • Rebuild your Outlook profile:  There can be two cases: you are using Outlook with POP account or using Outlook with Exchange server /IMAP account. In the first case, Export your data file and delete the POP account. Recreate the POP account and then re import the exported data file. In case of Exchange server /IMAP account, just delete the profile and re-add it.
  • Disable add-ons: There can be some conflicting add-ons installed in Outlook that can hamper its functioning and leading to performance slow down. Disable such suspect add-ons and see if this enhances the speed of outlook operations.
  • Disable antivirus/anti malware or firewall: If your Outlook has been working slowly, then the installed antivirus/anti malware or firewall applications can be one of the common reasons. Just try temporarily disabling them and see if this improves the Outlook performance.
  • Archiving:  Archiving your old outlook file data is a good way of emptying the extra space occupied on server. You can copy the archive file and save it to any desired location.
  • Reset navigation pane: Sometimes the customizations made to the Outlook navigation pane can lead to outlook slowdown. In such case you need to reset the navigation pane. To reset navigation pane, run: outlook.exe /resetnavpane.
  • Manage outlook data files: if you have multiple large sized outlook data files or archives on the server. Then, it’s better to move these archives to some local drive, in order to reduce the server load.

How to fix OST synchronization issues?

Microsoft provides ScanPST.exe to deal with the OST file corruption related issues. It checks for the ost/pst file structure integrity. It scans the files, diagnoses the errors, then resolves them.

If there are some OST file synchronization related issues, then ScanOST.exe (OST Integrity Check tool) proves to be useful. It is handy while you are facing OST to Exchange synchronization issues. It checks for discrepancies and differences between the Exchange data and the ost file data. This scan information can be found in the scan log folder under your Deleted Items folder.

Fix OST synchronization issues in Outlook 2010 or later versions:

In Outlook 2010 and later versions, Scanost.exe tool is not available.

So, if you are facing OST synchronization issues in Outlook 2010 or later versions, then delete the OST file and let outlook recreate it and synchronize it after downloading data from Exchange server.

If your OST file contains some local data that isn’t present on the Exchange server then export the OST file data to pst file. Delete the ost file and create a new one. Now, the exported pst file data can be imported back into the newly created ost file. If there are some duplicates in the pst file you can choose to prevent it from being imported to the OST file by choosing the option’ Do not import duplicates’.

The step by step process is given below:
  • Export the ost file data to a  pst file
  • Delete the old ost file
  • Create a new ost file.
  • Go to File > Open>Import. Then choose ‘Import from another program or file’
  • Click next
  • Select Outlook data file (.pst), and then click next.
  • Click browse to select the pst file that you have exported in step 1
  • Choose the option ‘Do not import duplicates’ to avoid importing duplicate copies of the same item.
  • Click Next.
  • Select destination folder where the pst file data is to be imported. Click ‘Next’ to proceed.
  • Finally click finish to accomplish the import procedure.
What if the scanost.exe/ OST Integrity Check tool fails to resolve the OST file synchronization related issues? In such situation you require some OST to PST Converter software that can let you export your ost file data to pst format. And later on, the converted pst file can be imported into outlook and you can continue to work with it.
Tuesday, 22 April 2014
4/22/2014 11:59:00 pm 0

10 PowerShell cmdlets That Make Exchange 2013 More Robust



PowerShell cmdlets, the task automation and configuration management framework from Microsoft has become important throughput its product release cycle in the recent years. This is shaping all the tools and technologies that are coming out of their stable. A whopping 187 new PowerShell cmdlets have been introduced in Exchange 2013. In this article, we will discuss ten popular PowerShell cmdlets that you need to keep in mind if you are planning to deploy Exchange 2013 in the near future.

Get-MobileDevice
Mobile devices have become increasingly popular. With the help of Get-MobileDevice cmdlet admins can view the list of all of the mobile devices that are associated with a certain mailbox. For instance to view the list of all devices that are linked to a mailbox named Calra you need to make use of the following command
 
Get-MobileDevice –Mailbox "Calra"

Redirect-Message
When message queue is drained all active messages in the queues on the source Mailbox server can be routed to the target Mailbox server using the Redirect-Message cmdlet.  Once all the messages are received and queued by the target Mailbox server, the messages are made redundant.
The source server doesn’t accept new messages while the queues are drained. You will need to specify the source and the destination server names using the follow syntax.            
 
Redirect-Message –Server –Target

Get-ExchangeServerAccessLicense
This cmdlet returns complete list of licenses that are in use in your Exchange 2013 Preview organization. It will return you a list of Standard and Enterprise edition server and CAL licenses for Exchange 2013.

Get-HealthReport
With the help of this cmdlet Get-HealthReport admins can easily get updates on the health of various Exchange Server 2013 components. In the following example we will retrieve health information Outlook Web App's using the following command.       
 
Get-HealthReport –InputEntries OWA –InputObject Maintenance

Get-ServerHealth
This is quite similar to the Get-HealthReport with the only difference being that it allows you to check the overall health of an Exchange 2013 server instead of individual components. Here you would need to provide the identity of the Exchange server that you want to retrieve information about along with the name of a domain controller. The syntax for this would be            
 
Get-ServerHealth –Identity –DomainController

Get-AuthServer
It works as an authorization server that issues tokens trusted by Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 for access by partner applications. However you will need to be assigned permissions before you can run this cmdlet. Let us take a look at the syntax for this      
 
Get-AuthServer |Format-List

Get-MobileDeviceStatistics
This cmdlet is used for diagnosing problems with Exchange ActiveSync. Here admins can use it to retrieve all the list of ActiveSync-related statistics on a per-mailbox basis. This is extremely useful when there are a large number of accounts involved. This is also used to retrieve log files related to a mobile device and send this for analysis.   
 
Get-HealthReport –InputEntries OWA –InputObject Maintenance

New-PublicFolderMigrationRequest
In Exchange 2013 Microsoft has gone back to public folders which can now easily be protected by a database availability group (DAG much similar to the mailboxes. This is a multistep process where the cmdlet allows you to specify the source database and a .csv file containing exported public folder statistics. Let’s take a look at one of the examples               `
 
New-PublicFolderMigrationRequest –SourceDatabase A1 –CSVData (Get-Content C:\Data\Example.csv –Encoding Byte)

Test MigrationServerAvailability     
This cmdlet verifies that you can communicate with the on-premises mail server which house the mailbox data that you want to migrate to cloud-based mailboxes. It is important to specify the migration type when you are making use of it. You can specify whether to communicate with an IMAP server or an Exchange server. We will see the migration using IMAP in the following example
 
Test-MigrationServerAvailability -Imap -RemoteServer imap.contoso.com -Port 123

Set-ServerMonitor
There are a number of components that are used to monitor Exchange of which Set-ServerMonitor cmdlet is one of the most popular. Using this you will be able to enable individual server monitors by specifying the name of the monitor and the name of the server. Here we will take a look at an example for a server named Sydney where we will use the following command.        
 
Set-ServerMonitor –Name Maintenance –Server Sydney

We have covered these ten cmdlets as they are most likely to be used. If you want to gain maximum out of Exchange you would need to familiarize yourself with all the new PowerShell cmdlets. There are a number of legacy cmdlets that have been retired with the recent update.
Wednesday, 9 April 2014
4/09/2014 11:11:00 pm 0

Reasons Behind Exchange BKF Corruption and Recovery Ideas

Microsoft Outlook is one of the most popular email clients used across industries. Outlook makes use of MS Exchange as the Server according to the Client-Server architecture.  All the mailboxes of Outlook users who use the same Exchange Server are stored in a database on that particular server. For efficient functioning and better data management, the Exchange Server has divided itself into three major components - EDB or Exchange Database file – the primary database of Exchange Server, Transaction log, and STM or Live Streaming Media file.

With a large number of businesses around the world using Outlook as their preferred email client, Microsoft Exchange administrators need to take regular backups of the Exchange Server to prevent data loss and facilitate data retrieval in adverse circumstances. The exchange backup file has. bkf file extension and contain .Steam, and .log files of MS Exchange Server. Microsoft even provides a utility called NTBackup using which you can create the backup of your Exchange Server database as well as .bkf files. These can be stored in a safe location, allowing you to retrieve and restore the data. However Backup Exchange data is not 100% safe as Exchange bkf files are prone to corruption.

What Causes Corruption?

There are a number of reasons that can lead to corruption of the Exchange bkf file and let us take look at the most common ones-

Exchange bkf File Header Corruption: In case there is corruption in the header of your Exchange bkf ,it can lead to failure in the backup restoration process and cause the file to get corrupt.

Interruption in the Backup Process: By default bkf file are backed up regularly and any interruption in the backup process can cause the bkf file to corrupt and lead to inaccessibility of all the data stored on it. It can be caused by power outage or network errors. To prevent such corruption you need to prevent interruption in Exchange backup process.

Virus Attack: Virus attacks are one of the biggest threats to Exchange bkf file. These files can easily get corrupted via a sudden virus attack. You can easily prevent this by installing an effective anti-virus program that is updated with the latest definitions. This will prevent these files from external threats.

Abrupt System Shutdown: If the system abruptly shuts down it can also cause the Exchange bkf file to get corrupt. Thus, you must prevent abrupt system shutdown using power backup and other measures.

Missing Catalog Files: This is another of the common causes that is responsible for corruption of Exchange bkf files.

CRC Error: Cyclic redundancy check error can also be a reason behind Exchange bkf files corruption.

These are some of the most common situations that can lead to corruption of Exchange bkf files. However, there are other factors also which can cause this corruption which results in Exchange bkf file throwing error messages

Common Error Messages   

Let us now look at some of the most common error messages which users encounter while trying to extract or restore data from corrupt Exchange bkf file:

"An inconsistency was encountered on the requested media"
"The fixed media is full. You cannot back up all of the specified data to this disk device. The backup operation will stop"
"The backup file is unusable. You must erase it, or choose another file."
"The database missed a previous full backup before the incremental backup"
"The backup file contains unrecognized data and cannot be used."

Handle Exchange Backup Corruption Intelligently

If you are witnessing any of these error messages or bkf file is corrupt don’t panic. To counter these problems, make use of efficient third-party Exchange bkf repair software such as Stellar Phoenix Exchange bkf Recovery software. This software is capable of repairing corrupt or damaged Exchange bkf file. It can easily recover .edb, .stm, and .log file.
Friday, 4 April 2014
4/04/2014 03:38:00 am 0

How to fix common OST synchronization issues in Outlook?

OST files are the backbone while you are working with outlook Email Client and Exchange server.  These files store all the user mailbox data and keep it synchronized with exchange database. If the connection to Exchange server isn’t available, then it provides users the capability to work offline. Whenever the Exchange connection is brought back its content and the changes made automatically gets synchronized with Exchange. 

While you are working in offline mode, you can compose and send emails. The sent mail is stored in the offline outbox, once the connection is reestablished the mail will be sent. The OST file data and the exchange server will get synchronized then, and the same changes will be reflected to both databases (i.e. the OST file and the Exchange EDB database). 

What will happen if the OST file isn’t able to get synchronized with the Exchange server?

The most common factor that leads to the Exchange to Exchange inavailability or an oversized OST file. 
In such situation either the Outlook starts troubling and prompting various error messages on the screen.
 
About OST file size:

The OST file location for various operating systems varies:
 
For Windows 95, 98 and ME:
C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
or
C:\Windows\Profiles\user name\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
 
For Windows NT, 2000, XP and 2003 server:
C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
or
C:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

For Windows XP:
C:\Users\user name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
Just like OST file location, the OST file size also varies for various Outlook versions.

Default maximum OST/PST file size limit for various Outlook versions:
Outlook 2002 and earlier versions             2 GB
Outlook 2003 and 2007                             20 GB
Outlook 2010                                             50 GB

As you keep on working with the OST file, it keeps growing in size day by day. You must keep a check on your OST file so that you can rescue it from getting oversized.
 
There are some symptoms that occur when your OST file size exceeds the limit. The user will not be able to open or load the OST file, Mail operations cannot be performed, no new data can be added to the OST file, and OST file couldn’t be properly synchronized with the Exchange server and various error messages are prompted on the screen indicating the failure of the OST to Exchange synchronization process.
 
At the beginning, the increasing OST file size can lead to troubles while performing daily mail operations such as composing, sending and receiving emails etc. But later on it can lead the user to serious data loss situations and major data corruption issues.

How to fix the OST synchronization issues?

To prevent the growing file size you can split the OST Files into smaller PST files. If the OST file data is inaccessible due to being oversized, you can use OST crop tool for breaking down the file into smaller chunks. If the OST to Exchange synchronization issues still persists then try Scanpst.exe and Scanost.exe utilities.Microsoft provides inbuilt repair tools for fixing the OST/PST related issues. You must try to fix your issues with them. If the inbuilt outlook repair tools don’t help you and your OST file data is still inaccessible, then you need some OST to PST converter. Using such tools you can safely convert the OST file into PST format. The converted PST file can be easily imported and accessed via Outlook.

Before that try out the following fixes to resolve the synchronization issues.

First ensure that your OST file is being getting properly synchronized or not.

Follow the given steps to check the OST Files are being synchronized or not?
  • Go to the offline folder. Open its properties by right clicking.
  • Go to synchronization tab here, you can view OST synchronization information Last Synchronized on: Date, Server folder contains: # Items, Offline folder contains: # Items.
  • If the “# Items” value is different for Server folder and Offline folder that means the Offline folder and Server folder aren’t getting synchronized properly.
If synchronization has been done properly then you need to check the Outlook profile settings.

To do so follow the given steps:
For Outlook 2003
  1. Go to Tools > E-mail Accounts. Under the email section, check the option View or change existing e-mail accounts checkbox is checked.
  2. Click Next.
  3. Go to Deliver new mail to the following location list and select the option Mailbox - account name
  4. Select the option Microsoft Exchange Server and click Change.
  5. Select the option Use Cached Exchange Mode and click Next.
  6. Click Finish and then OK.
  7. Restart Outlook.
For Outlook 2007
  1. Go to Tools > Account Settings> Data Files tab
  2. Ensure that the Mailbox - account name contains the default value.
  3. Go to the E-mail tab> Mailbox - account name, and then click Settings.
  4. Go to Advanced tab and Select the option Use Cached Exchange Mode then, click OK.
  5. Close the Account Settings dialog box.
  6. Restart Outlook.
For Outlook 2010
  1. Go to File > Account Settings and then Select Account Settings.
  2. Go to Data Files and Ensure that the Mailbox - account name contains the default value.
  3. Go to the E-mail tab > Mailbox - account name. Select it and click Change.
  4. Select the option Use Cached Exchange Mode then, click OK.
  5. Close the Account Settings dialog box. Restart Outlook.
Once you have checked the above settings you are ready to perform the synchronization steps, which are given below.

Follow the given steps to manually synchronize the OST file with Exchange:
  • Open the Folder List pane (or click Go > Folder List) and select your offline file folder from the list.
  • Go to Tools> Send/Receive> Send/Receive All to synchronize all folders. You can also choose to synchronize only one folder by selecting ‘This Folder (Microsoft Exchange Server)’ option instead of selecting ‘Send/Receive All’
Follow the given steps to automatically synchronize the OST file with Exchange:
  • Go to Tools> Options> Mail Setup.
  • In the Mail Setup tab, go to the Send/Receive section. From there check the checkbox ‘Send immediately when connected’.
  • Click Send/Receive to open the Send/Receive Groups dialog box
  • Select the option Perform an automatic send/receive when exiting Click Close and then finally click OK to proceed further.
If it doesn’t help you to “rebuild the OST file” and let it get recreated and synchronized with Exchange.
 
Below given are the steps to create a new OST file:

Search for your OST file. If the default location isn’t known to you, you can go to start and then search for *.ost files in your system. 
  • Rename the OST file extension (such as .old). 
  • Go to file menu and close the open window.
  • Start Outlook application.
  • Go to Tools>Send/receive then click Send/Receive All.
It will automatically create a new OST file and synchronize it with Exchange.

If the above steps don’t fix your OST synchronization issue then there might be some error/damage in the Exchange Server support files. You can choose to remove the Exchange Server service support files automatically or manually do it by going to the "Fix it for me" section or "Let me fix it myself" section respectively.