Recover Information Store on Exchange Server 2003 & 2000

Of all the components of Exchange Server, Information Store is the most significant one. In Exchange Server 2000 or 2003, any kind of corruption results in inaccessibility over the information store. It is basically the database management constituent of Exchange Server that comprises of two types of databases files: Priv.edb, Priv.stm, pub.edb and pub.stm. In this article, we will discuss how to recover exchange 2003 information store.

Management of User Mailboxes: The priv.edb file stores the non-SMTP messages as well as those that are in-process while priv.stm comprises of the SMTP messages, plus the stored and in-process database.

To ensure that Exchange activities get registered on hard drive of the Server, Information Store uses MAPI and the database engine. For example: When an email is saved on the client application (definitely Outlook in case of Exchange), a call is made to the Information Store first which then consequently calls the database engine for making the required updates to the disk.

The process for which information updates are made to the disk are discussed below:

The Exchange server 2003 database is similar to JET format in which LOG files holds the required information of changes made to the files. The Extensible Storage Engine uses Database cache to reduce I/O operations. In another word we can say that the less the I/O operations for Exchange server the more cache database user will have. The cached database is composed of 4KB space i.e. maximum and can be increased dynamically according to requirement.

Whenever the operation is performed in the Exchange server database related to all files then it is loaded in the cached memory, at this time JET engine (database engine) marks it as Dirty. The reason behind is that until the time for transaction is completely committed, the last database will not be considered as updated one. The caching of database boost up the transaction time speed but the updation in the database will remain in the stake. If the Dirty page resides in the Exchange database then it is marked as inconsistent. So to make database consistent the dirty pages are loaded into the cached memory. In the meanwhile of the transaction, the system shutdowns unexpectedly, that database will remain attached to the transaction log files. This is called "Dirty System Shutdown".

What Will Make You Discover That Information Store Is Corrupt!

There are minor and major corruption issues which make administrators to recover exchange 2003 information store. The common problems are listed below:

Minor Issues!

  • Starting up Information Store will be difficult or it may not get started.
  • In addition, stopping the Information Store services will not be possible.
  • Is dependent services like POP3, IMAP will be hindered or avoided
  • Stopping or starting up information store will not resolve send/receive email service problem

Major Issues!

  • When you try to restore Exchange Server 2000 or 2003 database through offline backup and then run Isinteg.exe command, you might encounter the following error on screen:
    Error 4294966746: JET_errDatabaseInconsistent
  • The attempt to mount the mailbox store on Exchange System Manager, following error can be displayed on screen: Unable to Mount the Mailbox Store with error c104173c "The Information Store is Busy"

How to Recover Exchange 2003 information store?

To fix inconsistencies in Exchange Server database, Microsoft offers Eseutil command that enable users to deal with corruption. However, this does not prove beneficial as it deletes the corrupt part of the database and thus does not ensure complete recovery of database.

Therefore, in order to retrieve data from inaccessible information store, use of third party software is recommended. Exchange Recovery software is a comprehensive solution that illustrates users as how to recover information store on Exchange 2003 and 2000. Following are some of the worth investment features of the tool:

  • Recover unhealthy Exchange Server mailbox data
  • Exchange to Exchange mailbox migration within same domain possible
  • Helps to work around database mounting issues with ease
  • Quickly recover Exchange 2003 information store