Exchange 2007 and versions earlier to that had user mailboxes saved in storage groups. It became possible to take backup of these user mailboxes by simply backing up those storage groups. However, in the newer and more recent versions of Exchange server user mailboxes are now stored in Exchange EDB files and granular Exchange user mailbox backup has become a rather difficult task. To backup mailboxes in such scenarios, your best bet is to convert EDB to PST.
First let us look at the differences between EDB and PST files and then we’ll walk through some of the methods that one can use to Convert EDB files to Outlook PST file.
Main difference between EDB and PST files
EDB – It is the Exchange database file that is used by Microsoft Exchange server to store all the information in the Exchange mailboxes such as email, calendar, notes, tasks, contacts etc. The EDB file makes use of a b-tree structure and the data is accessed using Microsoft’s ESE (Extensible Storage Engine). Dismounted EDB files cannot be opened directly.
PST – PST or Personal Storage Table is a database used by Microsoft Outlook for storing data items such as mails, calendar, contacts and other information associated with the Outlook user profile. The PST files and its contents can be opened and accessed easily in various Outlook versions.
Some of the reasons to perform EDB to PST conversion
- Recover all the information from a corrupted or inaccessible EDB file
- Save storage space by creating PST archives of large size mailboxes.
- Granular Exchange mailbox backup.
- Have local copy of mailbox data backed up for legal or compliance requirements
- Move mailbox data to another place
- Retrieve Exchange EDB data from common errors such as JET errors or dirty shutdown
Some of the methods to perform EDB to PST conversion
The first two manual methods and the third one is an easier method that gets the job done quickly and more efficiently unlike the manual methods:
- Use Microsoft ExMerge utility tool to convert Exchange 2003 EDB file to PST
- Use Exchange Management Shell commands to Convert EDB to PST
- Use EdbMails EDB to PST tool to convert EDB to PST
Let’s discuss each of these methods in detail
- Use Microsoft ExMerge utility tool to convert Exchange 2003 file to PST
Microsoft ExMerge utility is a tool that can be used to convert Exchange EDB mailboxes to PST. If you have all the required permissions then you can use ExMerge to export Exchange 2003 mailboxes to PST.
a. How to use ExMerge
Step 1: Download Exmerge and install it.
Step 2: Launch the ExMerge wizard and click Extract or Import (Two Step Procedure) and click Next.
Step 3: Choose Extract data from an Exchange Server Mailbox and click Next.
Step 4: Provide Exchange Server Credentials and click Next.
Step 5: In the Data Selection Criteria window, navigate to Import Procedure tab and select Archive data to target store
Step 6: Select the mailboxes that you wish to export to Outlook PST file and click Next.
Step 7: Provide the destination path for the PST file in the next window and click Next to start the export operation.
b. Disadvantages of using ExMerge
Although it is a nifty utility, it has some limitations such as:
- ExMerge utility is suited only to Exchange version 2003. For Exchange 2007 and 2010 this tool has been deprecated and replaced by Exchange Management Shell cmdlets
- It can be slow and inconsistent at times
- Not possible to use ExMerge on Exchange 2003 mailboxes larger than 2GB
- You might get some errors like ExMerge exchmem.dll missing when trying to use ExMerge.
- Use Exchange Management Shell commands to convert EDB to PST
With Exchange Management Shell cmdlets you can export your Exchange mailbox data to PST file. Run the following commands in order to Convert EDB to PST
Step 1: Use Get-MailboxStatistics to see the list of all mailboxes in a database. It can also be used to find out the size of the mailbox, number of messages contained within it as well as the last time it was accessed.
Get-MailboxStatistics -Database <DatabaseIdParameter>
Step 2: Use the New-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet to export the EDB file to the PST archive.
New-MailboxExportRequest [-Mailbox] <MailboxOrMailUserIdParameter> -filepath <LongPath>
New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox Admin01 -FilePath “\\EXCHSERVR\PSTArchives\Administrator.pst”
Step 3: To know the status of currently running export requests use Get-MailboxExportRequest
Step 4: Once the process is complete, remove the export requests as shown below:
a. Disadvantages of using Command Prompt
- One must have complete knowledge of the command prompts to execute the above operations.
- Using wrong commands might result in partial or even complete data loss.
- Advanced options like selection of particular mail items, leaving out junk mailboxes cannot be performed.
- Not a recommended approach for organizations having a large number of mailboxes.
- Convert EDB to PST using EdbMails EDB to PST converter
Step 1: The installation process is pretty straightforward.
- Download the setup from EdbMails website.
- Double click the EdbMails setup (EdbMailsSetup.exe) to install the application.
- Follow the on-screen instructions that appear to complete the installation.
Step 2: Login to the application after installing the software. You can also use the Start Your Free Trial option to test the functionality of the software.
Step 3: Select the option EDB to PST, EDB to Office 365 & Exchange and Continue.
Step 4: Choose the EDB file by clicking the Browse for EDB button, and click on Continue. Your EDB files will be recovered and the mailboxes are displayed in the form of a tree view for easy selection.
Step 5: Select the required mailboxes / folders and click the Export to Outlook PST button to continue. Alternatively, you can right click on the selected mailboxes / folders and select the option Export Selected Mailboxes / Folders to PST.
Step 6: Click the Continue button to start the Export operation. In this step, you have the option of applying filters to include/exclude items and folders for the export operation. There is also an option to split the target PST file, when it reaches a size set by the user.
Step 7: If the PST location has not been selected then the application will prompt to select the PST location. Select the PST location where you want to save the exported data. Ensure that you have enough free disk space to store the PST files.
That’s it! During export operation, you can view the progress as shown below. Appropriate message will be displayed on completion of the export operation. Start Microsoft Outlook and open the PST file to verify the exported items such as emails, calendars, contacts etc.
a. Advantages of converting EDB to PST using EdbMails tool
- With EdbMails you can export a large number of mailboxes for professional needs.
- Does not require internet connectivity as EDB to PST is an offline export.
- Filter options are available to selectively filter emails based on attachments, keywords, sender and receivers.
- Junk folders can be excluded for export.
- Large size target PST file can be split based on size.
- Generates a log report for verification purposes.
- No need to login to EAC or have admin credentials to perform the conversion.
If you would like to know more about the working and features of this product, you can request for a live personalized demo using this link.
You can install the trial version and easily test the recovery procedure of a damaged EDB file and convert EDB file to PST.