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Exmerge and X500.. A story…

One fine Monday, one of the user walked up to my desk and asked me to take a look at her Outlook. I was so busy that I said I’d visit her desk after lunch. But the user said it is very urgent that I have to take a look at it as she says that her Outlook closes when she opens her e-mails.

As curiosity drove me, I followed her to her desk, and tried switching folders and noticed that her Outlook client crashes, when we try to switch folders. OWA opens up fine without any issues. I’d love to put the Outlook on cached mode, but unfortunately, user is on a citrix and we can’t do that. But my laptop helped me to configure her profile on my Outlook which worked fine in cached mode but crashes in Online mode.

Thinking so seriously about it, I chased my IT dept staffs and found that her 3GB mailbox was moved from one store to another, over the weekend. Movement caused corruption? Argh!! I felt angry on the user for having such a huge mailbox and my IT dept staffs for not testing the big mailboxes after movement. Luckily, among all the mailboxes moved, she was the only one whose mailbox size is more than 500mb.

Thanks to Exmerge, with the help of which, we moved the e-mails to a PST, created a new mailbox for the user, and moved them back with a little different approach to avoid missing any e-mails But my happiness didn’t last longer! 🙁

What did I do?

  1. I used “Delete mailbox” to disconnect the corrupted mailbox.
  2. Created a new mailbox and changed her legacyexchangedn using ADSIEdit(to help the old mailbox to be re-connected to another account), so that her incoming e-mails would still flow in and she can work without pestering me for some time.
  3. Connected her old mailbox to a test user with a same display name(Glad that I did it! 🙂 )
  4. Using ExMerge, extracted the e-mails from old mailbox to a PST. While this happened, I re-configured her Outlook and had my lunch!
  5. Deleting the test account, I renamed the PST to her Exchange Alias of her existing account and imported it back.
  6. After everything was successful, I sent an e-mail to her that her old mailbox is restored. Locking my PC, I went out for a cup of coffee.

On returning, I was surprised to see a NDR for my e-mail, and a e-mail from the user stating that her colleagues’ e-mails to her are bouncing back to them. They should be either replying to the old e-mails sent by her or using the “Auto-complete” option on Outlook(nk2 entry) to find her and e-mail her.

Cursing my idea to change the legacyexchangedn of the user, I could’ve very well modified the  attribute, but later, someone else would come running to me complaining that they are not able to reply to the (new) e-mails from her.

Resolution: X500!!! Yes, I added the old legacyexchangedn value to her new address as a X500, and user never came to my desk after that! 🙂 What did I do?

  1. Went to the properties of the user.
  2. Navigated to the e-mail address tab.
  3. “Add” a new “Custom Address”
  4. Filled in “type” as “X500″ and entered the address as the value, that Outlook displayed as her in her’s old e-mails that she sent(/O=”ORG NAME”/OU=”ORG UNIT”/CN=”RECIPIENTS”/CN=”USER ALIAS”)
  5. And I did relax for the rest of my week until the user ran into another problem!


  1. To be dead careful when moving large mailboxes(especially of nosy pestering users). Test if they are able to access their e-mails after movement
  2. Never create a test account to recover the e-mails of a live account.
  3. Never ever change the legacyexchangedn of the user unless or until you want to be disturbed by him/her.
  4. Even if you did, put it back to the user as a x500 address if you feel that he/she would not allow you to have a peaceful break following the change.

Anything I missed out, readers, please, in comments!


Edit: 12th September 2010; I played with x500 of another user whose mailbox was re-created and she came running after 3 days, asking us for her old e-mails. Result: Success! 😀

15 Responses to “Exmerge and X500.. A story…”

  1. Rajeev Says:

    a very good troubleshooting though at first seem as outlook application issue.Great keep it up!!

  2. Kumar Says:

    Thanks Rajeev! Comments of this sort always encourage us to dare more and more! 🙂

  3. Pink Netbooks Says:

    Thanks for the article. Isn’t it amazing how much power they are packing into these little devices these days?

  4. Bardon Says:

    This really is my first time I have visited right here. I identified a ton of intriguing facts with your weblog. From the volume of comments in your posts, I guess I’m not the only a single! retain up the extraordinary work.

  5. Ray Says:

    Any chance the X500 can be added via email policies to all users in EX2010?

    I know it can be done via admodify, but would love if it can be done another way.


  6. Ron Says:

    Written nicely. Thank you Mutha.

  7. Roman Says:

    Excellent info.

  8. sanjeev Says:

    well very well written, Dear Admins i have one problem too I am just beginner in exchange , actually i am running Exchange 2003 SP1 on win 2003 enterprise edtion and unable to retrieve the mailbox and mail box items, could anyone pls help me in getting them and just post a step by step guide to my email id so that i don’t have to look around anywhere else plus how to i merge the mailbox data in users pst files using exmerge or using exmerge exchange wizard as i am unable to see the option ( recover deleted mail item )in exch. i badly need your help folks pls do outcome with positive result

  9. Paul Says:

    God that was a journey. Bravo though. i read with fascination.

  10. Mystery of adding X500’s – What an amazing thing to know…!!! « Says:

    […] Exmerge and X500.. A story…: […]

  11. Atif Sheikh Says:

    Excellent JOB

  12. Jeff Says:

    Hello Muthu,

    Very nice information.
    Have you across the same issue in Office365.
    I am planning to migrate users from one tenant to another and I feel will get x500 errors.

    Wondering how to resolve, as here wont have much info on :

    As its Office365 (Cloud based email, managed by Microsoft)

    Any pointer will be of great help.

  13. Muthukumar P Says:

    Hi Jeff,
    Just noticed your comments and I hope you managed to solve this yourself already. Irrespective of the Exchange deployment (on-premises/hosted), the LegacyExchangeDN and SMTP attributes are Active Directory attributes of an user account. So, given you have access to your Active Directory, you should be able to read/modify it.

  14. Ahmed Says:

    Hi Muthu,

    Thanks for an excellent article.

    I have moved my mailboxes from an Exchange 2007 to Exchange 2010 server. On the process, I have to recreate a mailbox as it failed to move.

    The emails addressed to the user through the outlook cache gets bounced back now. I followed above steps and modified the entry as below :


    Am I missing something ? Please advise.

    Best Regards,

  15. Ahmed Says:

    Hi Muthu,

    I got that sorted out.

    The difference is, I replaced the email address with the domain user name. The mails started to flow.

    Best Regards,

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