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How to restore a corrupt Exchange database backup?

Created: 24 Jun 2013 • Updated: 25 Jun 2013 | 12 comments
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Hi, I'm running Backup Exec 12.5 on Windows 2003, and I've been asked to restore the contents of a user's mailbox from a couple of years ago into their current mailbox (accounts haven't changed).  The user archived their emails, and then lost the archives, so they have a giant gap in their inbox/sent folder.

Normally, this wouldn't be an issue, except due to oversight/mistakes on my predecessor's and my part, there's a very large gap of time where the backup tapes show the email database as corrupt (which is true- there was a problem, and it grew until it finally brought things to a halt, at which point, it was finally fixed, and the backups were good again.)

I can't just select another backup, as the issue was pervasive enough to cover a much larger stretch of time than I'm willing to admit.

How can I convince Backup Exec to restore the corrupt Exchange database somewhere so I can try repairing it, and grab the users email from it?

Also, if I do manage to extract the corrupt database to somewhere, and then repair it, can I then use Backup Exec to restore from the image?

Operating Systems:

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szakulec's picture

Exchange 2007 (haven't changed versions of Exchange in the meantime). 

szakulec's picture

I'm not sure how important it is, but I'm running Exchange & Backup Exec on separate servers.  Exchange 2007 is on Server 2008 x64, and Backup Exec + the current Exchange database are on Win 2003 Storage Server.

szakulec's picture

Thanks for your suggestion, but I can't try them because when I go to the Restore Job screen, the tapes with the corrupted Exchange backup on them refuse to show the Mailbox Database- I only see the option to choose Logs. 

The Public Folder database is fine on every backup.

Is there some magic option to tell Backup Exec to restore files that are broken, corrupt, failed to verify, etc?


lmosla's picture

 There might be a mapi issue so try doing a duplcate job to disk and see if that works better. Hopefully this was a GRT full backup?

pkh's picture

If the mailboxes are corrupt, BE will not back them up in the first place.  This is why they are missing from your backup sets.

szakulec's picture

So, if any part of the Exchange mailbox database is corrupt, it skips the entire database?

If that's true, then there would not in fact be anything on the tape for the database correct?

Under Settings, General in the Restore Job Properties window, there's an option to "Restore corrupt files".  How does that work if corrupt files aren't backed up in the first place?

CraigV's picture

...can you see anything in your restore?

Otherwise duplicate to disk as per my article below, and then try pulling the data out (that you can, if at all) using a third-party application like Kernel for Exchange:


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szakulec's picture

Here's two screenshots of the Restore Job Properties screen: one for a good tape, and one for a tape with the corrupt Exchange backup.

If there's something else you need, please tell me.



CraigV's picture

...if the Information Store doesn't show up in your corrupt job, then there isn't anything you can do. It wasn't backed up, therefore nothing to recover.

You would need to find a backup that has the Information Store from that date range...


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