Exchange Server 2013 Disaster Recovery

In this blog post we will be learning on how to Recover Exchange Server 2013 if it is crashed. Although the steps remain same in 2013, however there are few pre-requisites changes which we will explore in this blog.

Before We Begin

The account with which we are going to perform Recovery should be a member of Domain Admins Group and Enterprise Admins Group along with Exchange Organization Management Group.

Concept

Disaster Recovery is purely based on the Data which is available. By which we can recover an Exchange Server. This data is available in any one of the Domain Controller which is reachable at the time of recovery. Exchange Configuration information is available on a Domain Controller under Configuration Partition. Disaster Recovery is not possible only when there is only one Exchange Server which is also a Domain Controller. It is always a best practice to have your Exchange Server running on a member server. This is applicable for Exchange Server 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2013. Although the steps to recover is little different, however the concept remains same.

Best Practices

Always maintain a proper backup of AD System State and Exchange Database Files.

Scenario

Domain Name : MSEXCHANGETEAM.IN

DC Name : DC1

Exchange Server 2013 : MBX

Windows Version : Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Forest Functional Level : Windows Server 2008 R2

Domain Functional Level : Windows Server 2008 R2

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Prerequisites

Functional Domain Controller (Should be Reachable)

Same Sever name and Operating System for Recovery. DO NOT ADD THE MACHINE TO DOMAIIN.

How to check what was the operating system the server was running before crash and its name.

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Figure 1.1 : Properties of crashed sever using Active Directory Users and Computers

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Assign same static IP address.

How to get the IP address. Go to any AD Integrated DNS server and check for the host name of the crashed server. Make a note of the IP address and assign the same address.

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Same drive letters are mandatory. Else recovery will fail.

How to get drive letters of crashed server.

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Figure 1.2 : In ADSIEDIT go to the location as shown above.

Go to the properties of “Mailbox Database 1679725872” and make a note of below attribute value for drive letters which has the database and log file path.

msExchEDBFile

msExchESEParamLogFilePath

msExchESEParamSystemPath

These attributes will have database file path and log file path.

Caution : Working with ADSIEDIT requires core understanding on how the tool works. If you are not confident of handling the tool then it is recommended to have an expert advice. Please be careful.

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Before adding the server to Domain. Go to Active Directory Users And Computers > Right Click the crashed server and Select “Reset Account” as shown below.

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Figure 1.3 : Resent Account.

In figure 1.3 once the Account is reset then we will be able to join the same server to the domain.

Now that we have added the machine to domain. Its time to check if Exchange information is available on Domain. To check that login to any one domain controller and open ADSIEDIT.

Caution : Working with ADSIEDIT requires core understanding on how the tool works. If you are not confident of handling the tool then it is recommended to have an expert advice. Please be careful.

To open ADSIEDIT go to Start > Administrative Tools > ADSIEDIT

In the console right click ADSIEDIT > Select Connect Too… > Select a well Known Naming Context > In the drop down menu select Configuration.

Below is the DN of the server object which was crashed.

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Figure 1.4 : DN of Exchange Server

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Figure 1.5 : Location in GUI.

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Now that we have confirmed that Exchange Server Object resides in AD and its safe to move further by running Disaster Recovery. Before running Disaster Recovery please ensure that the required Roles and Features are installed as shown below.

Open Windows Powershell and type the below commands.

Import-Module ServerManager

Add-WindowsFeature Desktop-Experience, NET-Framework, NET-HTTP-Activation, RPC-over-HTTP-proxy, RSAT-Clustering, RSAT-Web-Server, WAS-Process-Model, Web-Asp-Net, Web-Basic-Auth, Web-Client-Auth, Web-Digest-Auth, Web-Dir-Browsing, Web-Dyn-Compression, Web-Http-Errors, Web-Http-Logging, Web-Http-Redirect, Web-Http-Tracing, Web-ISAPI-Ext, Web-ISAPI-Filter, Web-Lgcy-Mgmt-Console, Web-Metabase, Web-Mgmt-Console, Web-Mgmt-Service, Web-Net-Ext, Web-Request-Monitor, Web-Server, Web-Stat-Compression, Web-Static-Content, Web-Windows-Auth, Web-WMI

 

Post installing the roles and features restart the server and install the software as listed in Microsoft Site. Please click here for installing the required software.

You also have to install the updates listed in this article KB974405

Now its time to create the folder path as listed in the attributes as shown below.

msExchEDBFilePath

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Mailbox\Mailbox Database 1679725872”

Post creating the folder path restore the data files as shown below.

“C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Mailbox\Mailbox Database 1679725872\Mailbox Database 17679725872.edb”

Note : Database file path and log file path may differ in practical scenario.

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Download Exchange Server 2013 from here and save it in a local drive.

Open  Windows Powershell and type the below command.

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Figure 1.6 : Recover Server Switch

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Figure 1.7 : Configuring Prerequisites

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Figure 1.8 : Setup completed Successfully.

Disaster Recovery is completed and its time to get the Mailbox database in place. Restore the database and mount the store.

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Figure 1.9 : Mount the Database by selecting the option as shown above.

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Figure 1.10 : Emails are restored and users are able to send and receive emails.

Disaster Recovery is completed and we are able to send and receive emails.

Important Points to Remember

  1. Good Exchange Database Files backup is mandatory.
  2. Its easy to recover the server if it’s a member server.
  3. Healthy Active Directory can help us recover the server faster.

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Happy Recovery

Sunder

MSEXCHANGETEAM | Ideas That Clicks

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26 Responses to Exchange Server 2013 Disaster Recovery

  1. Marshal says:

    Above concept & scenario is amazing to recover mailboxes from exchange server, As Microsoft provide the utility to recover exchange database using eseutil command from earlier exchange version . You can find tips to mount the exchange database from here. Thanks for sharing tricks to recovery from exchange sever 2013.

  2. Sunder says:

    Thank You Marshal

  3. aarenchris25 says:

    Hey Sunder ,
    It is a very informative recovery process for the Exchange server. Although default recovery steps also work in EDB file repair but in severe case you need professional software or process that can bring back all damaged data from server.

  4. Sunder says:

    Yeah…You are correct. However your data recovery may be easy. If you have a proper backup.

  5. Santhosh says:

    nice article sunder..

    incase if the database file is not available to place it in below path,
    then go to folder option > view > and uncheck the “hide extension for unknown file types”
    now create a note pad file with database name with extension.edb and then remove the .txt extension, now a dummy edb file is created.
    rerun the recover server switch it will succeed.
    “C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Mailbox\Mailbox Database 1679725872\Mailbox Database 17679725872.edb

  6. Sunder says:

    Thank You Santhosh

  7. carson says:

    I’m unable to recover because its asking for SP3 or greater for my now crashed exchange server 2010 server, I think it only had sp2! how can I get passed this issue?

  8. Sunder says:

    Hi Carson,

    If you could give me complete details. Then I can help you based on the data shared.

  9. ken says:

    Will this method work if you have an Exchange 2010 database and you want to recover it in 2013? Thanks!

  10. Sunder says:

    No it wont work Ken.

  11. Venkat says:

    Hi Sunder,

    The above information is very informative and I had followed the above steps and I have successfully recovered the Exchange Server 2013 but the thing is Microsoft Management Tools are not working.

    Like Exchange Queue Viewer, i am trying to open the MMC and the snapin is not working and giving the below error :

    MMC could not create the snap-in.The snap-in might not have been installed correctly.
    FX:{714FA079-DC14-470f-851C-B7EAAA4177C1}

    Could not load file or assembly ‘Microsoft.Exchange.Management.Edge.SystemManager, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35’ or one of its dependencies. This assembly is built by a runtime newer than the currently loaded runtime and cannot be loaded.

    Exception Type:
    System.BadImageFormatException

    Please give me any suggestion for recovering the Exchange Management Tools 2013

    Thanks & Regards,
    Venkat.

  12. sunder says:

    There is no mmc in e15. Please try to browse the URL for eac

  13. Venkat says:

    No Sunder,

    There are 3 MMC files available in
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Bin\

    1) Details Template Editor
    2) Exchange Queue Viewer
    3) Exchange Toolbox

    I have checked before i tried to recover the exchange server, they were working fine, but after recovery these 3 files are not working.

    Please check once in your end after recovery.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Venkat

  14. Sunder says:

    Venkat, This is the default option available in 2013. In order for you to have a complete management experience then please open Exchange Shell.

    Type
    Get-ECPVirtualDirectory | fl inter*

    Copy this link and paste in the browser.

    You will get the option to login to EAC. Once you are in then you will get what you are expecting from it.

    Please let me know if that is not helping you.

  15. Venkat says:

    Hi Sunder,

    Actually EAC is working fine, am looking for the mails Queue viewer.

    Mail Queue option not available in EAC.

    Can you please check ‘how to check the mails which are in Queue in graphical mode’.

    Regards,
    Venkat.

  16. KrishKen says:

    Hello Sunder,

    Thanks for this article.

    Please let me know the procedure to perform recovery on the same server.

    Thanks and regards,
    KrishKen

  17. Sunder says:

    @ Krishken

    Could you please help me with the scenario.

    Are you talking about Exchange on a DC???

  18. KrishKen says:

    No Exchange is memeber server.

    After CU2 update my OWA is not working.

    We are looking to run Setup /m:RecoverServer on same server.

  19. Sunder says:

    @ Krishken

    Make a complete database file backup.

    Format the box

    Install the server with same operating system and name.

    reset the computer account in AD

    Join the machine.

    Install pre-requisites

    Run /recoverserver switch.

    You cannot run /recoverserver switch on an existing or failed server setup.

  20. Amasn says:

    While trying to mount exchange database using the above method I got an error
    Failed to mount database ‘Mailbox Database’.
    Mailbox Database 0610509261
    Failed
    Error:
    Couldn’t mount the database that you specified.

    Upon someone’s recommendation,I used Stellar Phoenix Exchange Sever Recovery tool, which can repair exchange database with a few clicks and recovers exchange data quickly. Visit this link http://www.stellarinfo.com/edb-exchange-server-recovery.htm if anyone want to know more about this tool.

  21. Sunder says:

    Maybe your database was corrupted. Thank you for sharing the tool.

  22. Tom says:

    Nice, it discuss about the exchange disaster recovery. I tested the automated tool ( http://www.lepide.com/exchange-manager/ ) that allows to recover corrupted exchange server database as well as restores selected mailboxes from backup and move or copy mails or mailboxes from unmounted EDB files to PST or other live Exchange mailboxes

  23. Sunder says:

    Thank You Tom.

  24. Rino says:

    hi, after resetting the computer account, do i assume, in the article above, that you have reformatted the server and reinstalled Windows?

  25. Sunder says:

    Either you can format or bring a new hardware. Just ensure that the machine has no pre-installed exchange files. Else the recovery will permanently fail.

  26. Peter Jr. says:

    Outstanding Article Sunder!

    Thanks very much