This Protected Item type backs up Microsoft Exchange Server databases. The underlying technology is VSS and is compatible with Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 and later, including Exchange Server 2016 (the latest version at the time of writing).

The appropriate VSS writer must be installed.

As Exchange Server can only be installed on Server SKUs of Windows, this backup type is only applicable when running on Windows Server.

Some forms of Exchange Server backup will cause log truncation to occur on the Exchange Server. For more information, please see the official Exchange Server documentation. If circular logging is enabled on the Exchange Server, the 'Incremental' and 'Differential' backup types have limited effect.

Exchange Server 2007

By default, Exchange 2007 does not enable the VSS writer. The VSS writer may have been enabled by another backup system installed on the PC.

If you encounter error messages like Couldn't find Exchange Server installation on this device or Failed to perform VSS snapshot on a machine running Exchange 2007, the Exchange VSS writer (MSExchangeIS) may not be enabled.

  • You can confirm whether this is the case by checking for Microsoft Exchange Writer in the output of vssadmin list writers, or, in the Browse dialog for a new "Application Aware Writer" Protected Item.

You can manually activate the Exchange VSS writer by making the following steps:

  1. Open regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\MSExchangeIS\ParametersSystem
  2. Change the Disable Exchange Writer value from 1 to 0
  3. Restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service

For more information on this issue, please see Microsoft's own documentation at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/838183/en-us.

Restore

The Magnus Box snapshot of Exchange Server includes the *.edb file, the *.log/*.stm/*.chk files, and/or other files.

To restore data, you can either

  • reinstate the Information Store files directly as a whole. This approach is suitable in a disaster recovery situation; or
  • recover individual items. This allows you to access individual mailboxes and messages without affecting the existing mounted database. This approach is suitable if you only need to access some small parts of past data that has since been deleted or corrupted, without affecting the current running Exchange Server state.

Full EDB Recovery 

One option for restoring the Exchange EDB is to replace the full EDB file.

You can replace the EDB and log files on the Exchange Server with the restored versions. This approach is suitable for disaster recovery.

In the Exchange Server console:

  1. Dismount the existing Exchange Server Store
  2. Replace files on disk with the restored copies.

    The path must match the original copy because the transaction log files include an embedded path to the *.edb/*.stm files. If the EDB file was backed up from a different disk location, you should first use the "Move database" feature to update Exchange Server to look for the database files in their original location. For more information, see this Microsoft article.
  3. Mount the Exchange Server Store

Recovery Database mode 

Another option for restoring the Exchange EDB is to mount it as a recovery database (RDB).

Once mounted, you can attach Outlook to the recovery database, or use the New-MailboxRestoreRequest PowerShell command to extract a PST mailbox.

For more information, see this Microsoft article.

Extract EDB contents 

Another option for restoring the Exchange EDB is to use a third-party application to extract content.

Third-party applications can read the content of the EDB file to extract individual messages, contacts, or other mailbox items.

At the time of writing, the following programs were available:

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