Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Inconsistent Database Backup when Exchange Server is Running

Exchange Server databases are consisted of .edb files (database files) and .log files (database logs). All the transactions that occur for Exchange databases are first written to .log files before actually been written to database files. A database is inconsistent if all transaction log files have not been committed to the database files. But if you shut down the information service, Exchange writes all the log files to .edb files and the database comes to a completely consistent state. Thus, if you backup the database while information service is running, it will not be consistent. If your EDB files become corrupt and you try to restore from such a backup, it will give errors and the information service might fail to start. This creates an unavoidable situations of using an EDB Repair solution for your corrupted database files.

For example, consider your Exchange database files are corrupted. When you try to start Exchange Server services after restoring from a backup, you may encounter the below error in application log or on screen:

“Error -550 has occurred”

You cannot start the Exchange Server services.


You have used the backup software when Exchange Server was online. As a result, the backup is inconsistent and has failed to perform successful restore.


To prevent such errors from occurring, you are suggested to perform the database backup after stopping all the directory and information store services. Alternatively, you can look for backup solutions that are exclusively built to perform Exchange databases' backup in online state.

However, to recover the data from corrupted database files, you need to use these tools:

1. Eseutil /r command to perform soft database recovery
2. Eseutil /p command for hard repair
3. Third-party EDB Repair Tool

The hard recovery option of Exchange deletes the corrupted pages, which is not safe. Thus, you should use EDB Repair utilities if soft recovery fails. These software bring you the most effective and safe scanning algorithms for repairing damaged Exchange databases. Due to the interactive user interface they provide, these applications are easy to implement

EDB Repair Software is a feature-rich utility that employs powerful scanning algorithms to repair a damaged Exchange database. It supports Exchange Server 5.5, 2000 and 2003. It is a safe and advanced EDB Repair Tool with impressive set of features. The tool extracts user mailboxes in individual .pst file format files without affecting the original contents and view.

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