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Exchange 2003 recovery - no backups available.

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  • Exchange 2003 recovery - no backups available.

    Hi All,

    We have a number of remote sites in the Australian outback - most connected over satellite so often difficult to administer / monitor.

    On one site (standalone 2003 native domain) we had a disk failure of our NAS causing complete loss of our Exchange 2003 VM.

    Surprise, surprise -> backup process hadn't been carried out correctly. NAS disks sent to salvage experts - no luck there either.

    Upshot is that all email and the VM is gone - no useful backups available.

    As email for the site was being directed through our head office for filtering/AV via SMTP connector (also Exchange 2K3), we temporarily created a dozen or so mailboxes to collect the mail at head office and users on the property have been accessing their email via OWA over the net.

    This all occured about 4 months ago, and I'm shortly heading out to the property to get it sorted (upgrade hardware, backups, monitoring, etc).

    We plan to re-instate an Exchange server on site, and I see the following issues arising that I thought I'd pick Arsian's brains on:

    1) Given there wasn't a 'graceful' removal of the previous Exchange server on site, what is the best plan of attack? I assume AD is still under the impression that the Exchange server exists, so is it best to try and remove all Exchange attributes from AD and start fresh, or simply install a new exchange server and try and re-home users mailboxes to this server?

    2) Since we've been hosting these mailboxes at head-office since the outage, whats the best way of relocating this email back to the new Exchange server on-site (once built). I can't see any neat way of 'routing' them there, so is there a method using exmerge or a similar tool?

    Any assistance appreciated.


  • #2
    Re: Exchange 2003 recovery - no backups available.

    As for Exchange, you can do a disaster recovery install to pick up all of the old info in AD, etc. No need to do a clean up and new install.

    As far as the mailboxes at the corporate office are concerned, you can export the contents using Outlook or Exmerge and then import them to the new mailboxes at the remote site.


    • #3
      Re: Exchange 2003 recovery - no backups available.

      Sounds handy - would the /dr option reinstate the previous mailbox shell's (with permissions etc) - remembering that we have nothing to initially restore from to populate the mailboxes ofcourse..

      Although there's only a dozen or so mailboxes, this would certainly save some time..
      Last edited by bunce; 20th November 2009, 22:07.


      • #4
        Re: Exchange 2003 recovery - no backups available.

        A DR install will only bring back what is stored in the domain. Mailbox level permissions (on folders for example) will not be restored.

        If the client machines are in cached mode, it should back fill, so the only data you will lose is new content that was received between the server going down and the the last time Outlook was open.
        However as a safety measure, get the users to copy the current content to a PST file and then start Exchange, just in case it syncs the "wrong" way.

        Simon Butler
        Exchange MVP

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