Although Recovery Toolbox for Exchange Server (Download) is intended for recovering rather complex data structures, using it is a real snap. You don't have to be database expert or a system administrator with years of experience to get your data back after system crashes or hardware failures. This article is a detailed guide through every step of the recovery process, so make sure to read it carefully before proceeding and don't hesitate to refer to it when you are in doubt.

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The interface of Recovery Toolbox for Exchange Server is based on a multi-step wizard with a minimal set of controls on each page. Most of the program functions are automated, but you can modify certain aspects of the recovery process to achieve specific goals, so feel free to press Back and go back any time to change the program settings.

Main Screen

The main screen is shown immediately after the start of the program. At this step, you must select the version of Microsoft Exchange that has been damaged. Depending on your choice, the software will use different recovery algorithms and even utilize different source files. If you are using Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or an older version, select the Exchange 2003 and lower option. If you have a newer version of Exchange Server, select Exchange 2007 and greater. Once you have selected the version of the Exchange suite, press Next to proceed to the next step.

Step 1. Select the Source File(s)

Depending on the choice you made at the previous step, you will see either one or two input fields. Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 and earlier versions store data in a pair of associated .edb (Exchange database) and .stm (stream) files, so if you have chosen this option, you will see two input fields. If Exchange 2007 and greater was selected, you will see a single field for an *.edb file.

You can specify the name of the source file in one of the following ways:

  1. By typing the full name and path of the file into the input field.
  2. By selecting a previously used file from a dropdown list. To do that, click a small icon with a black triangle in the right part of the field and select the file you want to use again.
  3. By using the standard Open File dialog. To do that, click the dialog button to the right of the input field and browse your hard drive to select the necessary file. Finish the process by double clicking the file or clicking the Open button in the dialog.
NOTE: If you are recovering data from Exchange Server 2003 or an earlier version, repeat the file selection process for both files (*.edb and *.stm). Note that the input field for the *.stm file will remain inactive until you have selected the source *.edb file. By default, the software automatically uses the same name and path for the *.stm file when the *.edb file is selected, but you can change them manually using any of the file selection methods described above. Once you have selected the source file(s), click Next to proceed to the next step.

Step 2. View the structure of the damaged database and select the objects to be recovered

Recovery Toolbox for Exchange Server analyzes the structure of the database file(s) and displays a tree of recoverable objects it identified. This screen of the recovery wizard consists of two main parts. The left pane contains the tree of objects that the software detected in the damaged file(s), while the right pane enables you to view the contents of specific objects and folders. You can browse the tree by clicking on its nodes (to expand or collapse them) and select specific objects. You can also right-click anywhere in the left pane to bring up a context menu with Select All and Deselect All options that can be used for quickly selecting all the data or clearing the current selection.

The right pane is divided vertically into two parts. The top part is used for displaying object lists (messages, contacts, appointments, notes, tasks and so on), while the lower one enables you to view the contents of specific objects. If an email message you selected has an attachment, you can save or open it by clicking the Attachments button, selecting the necessary one from the dropdown list and choosing either Save or Open. If Save is selected, a standard Save File dialog will open and will allow you to specify the file name and its destination folder. Clicking Open will open the attachment using a default application associated with this file type.

If you want to recover all of the data found in the damaged database file, use the Select All command of the context menu in the left pane. Otherwise, select the objects you want to recover by checking the corresponding boxes opposite them. Once you are finished selecting the objects to be recovered, press Next to proceed to the next stage.

Step 3. Selection of the output folder

At this step, Recovery Toolbox for Exchange Server prompts you for the target folder your recovered data will be saved to. Either type the path to this folder in the input field or use the Browse dialog to select the necessary one. The dialog also enables you to create a new folder by pressing the Create Folder button. Once the target folder has been defined, press Recover to proceed to data recovery.

Step 4. Recovering data and viewing results

This is the final stage of the recovery process. Recovery Toolbox for Exchange Server starts the recovery process and shows a detailed log of all operations being performed. The duration of the process primarily depends on the size of your database, the number of objects you selected for recovery and the speed of your computer. When all of the objects have been recovered, the program will show you a corresponding notification message. You can now click the Show Result button in the bottom right corner of the program window to open the destination folder with output *.pst files that can be opened in Microsoft Outlook.

You can now quit the program by clicking Exit or use the Back button to go back to any point of the recovery process to choose another database, other objects to recover or a different destination folder.

NOTE: The unregistered version of Recovery Toolbox for Exchange Server only recovers 5 objects from each folder. To remove this limitation, purchase the full version of the program.

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