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Recovering an Exchange Server 2003 store on a disaster recovery box

I need to restore a 66 GB Exchange Server information store on a disaster recovery (DR) box. This box, which is not on the domain, has different hardware specs and uses NTBackup for backup purposes. We are using Exchange Server 2003 Enterprise Edition and I have proposed the Recovery Store Option, but management is very strict about making changes to anything on the production box. I have assumed that the following steps need to be taken to fix the problem:

  1. Build a domain controller (DC) and create the same domain as the production domain.
  2. Complete a System State restore of the DR domain controller box.
  3. On the DR Exchange Server box, name it exactly the same as our production Exchange server and put it on the DR domain.
  4. Complete a disaster recovery load of Exchange on the DR Exchange Server box after running forest and domain prep.
  5. Use ExMerge to extract the mailbox that I need to restore into a .PST file.

Is there an easier way to do this?

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There are several third-party Exchange Server disaster recovery tools that will circumvent this process. They are Ontrack PowerControls and Quest Recovery Manager for Exchange (disclaimer: I work for Quest).

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This was first published in October 2008

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