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Restore old mailbox for user migrated to exchange 2007 / 2010

I got around 20 odd requests for the process to restore an old exchange 2003 mailbox for a user who was recently migrated to exchange 2007 or 2010. So here we go….
Jim had his mailbox on Exchange 2003 last Friday. He was moved to Exchange 2007 the following weekend. After his mailbox was migrated, he saw that an important folder he deleted last Thursday will have to be restored ASAP. Now what??

This is not a complete article with screenshots, I’ll try to create one pretty soon.

1. Restore the old exchange 2003 database and bring it to a clean shutdown following this article
2. Mount the store in Recovery storage group and ensure you can see the mailbox in disconnected state along with the other mailboxes.
3. Dismount the RSG database
4. Log in to Exchange management console, find the user and grant full mailbox permissions to the account you are logged in with
5. Now login to ADSIEdit and navigate to the location of the database where the user resides right now
6. Right click and go to properties and copy the attribute “distinguished name” to a notepad
7. Now navigate to the location of the RSG database in ADSIEdit
8. Right click and go to properties and copy the attribute “msexchOrigMDB” to a notepad (just a backup)
9. Paste the value you copied in step number 6 (distinguished name of the E2K7 database) to the “msexchOrigMDB” attribute of the RSG database
10. Wait for 5 minutes and mount the RSG database

Now run ExMerge and create a PST for the user and it will work flawless.

Explanation: “msexchOrigMDB” is the attribute which tells an RSG database “which database to recover”. It will be the “distinguished name” of the mailbox store which we are attempting to restore by default. Here, we edit this to point it to the mailbox store in exchange 2007 user where the user is residing right now.

The process is no different if the user was moved to different Exchange 2003 database

Please feel free to get in touch with us if you find my “explanation” is confusing. I am just an email away !!!


MVP Exchange Server
Keywords: Restore mailbox from old database, exchange 2003 mailbox restore for exchange 2007 user, restore mailbox in old database, restore mailbox for migrated user, Restore mailbox for a user moved to another database, Restore mailbox from old exchange 2003 database, Restore old mailbox after migration to exchange 2007

12 Responses to “Restore old mailbox for user migrated to exchange 2007 / 2010”

  1. Sunder Says:

    Good One Ratish.

  2. msexchOrigMDB « Says:

    […] More info found here […]

  3. Grant Says:


    we migrated from exchange 2003 to 2010 and BE 2010 and everything have been working fine until a user requested a restore of mail that was deleted back in his mail box when it was on the 2003 box. on first try we create a RDB and redirected the mailbox to here but it started restoring all the mail into his current mailbox. what i want do is restore his mail box for tape and then open it using outlook 2007 and get the emails he requires.

    any help pointing me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated. did you ever post that complete article with screen shots?


  4. stan levine Says:

    help restore old mail

  5. Gica Moni Says:

    Thanks you, keep up the good work

  6. Rab Mir Says:

    Brilliant !!!

  7. Rehan Says:

    Dear Ratish,

    I would appreciate if you could tell me step by step procedure for restoring exchange 2003 mailbox as the user is migrated on Exchange 2007 server . Exchange 2003 server is intact and available on network

    Thanks and Regards

  8. David P. Says:

    Maybe the answer is abvious but I dont dont want to assume. In step 1 you say to restore the database, my question is restore where? do i need to install a server with Exchange 2003 to restore there? at this point all my 2003 servers are gone, I only have 2010 servers in place.
    thank you.

  9. Barry B. Says:

    Can this be done across domains? We have merged and acquired several domains into one new domain and the new 2010 exchange environment is on the new domain, while the recovery DB’s and exchange recovery group is on a legacy domain.

  10. Carlos Says:

    Thank you. your suggestion worked very well. I almost migrated the user back to Echange 2003 to recover, but following your steps aloowed me to use Exmerge to get the data off.

  11. Muthu Says:

    Currently our environment running in 2010, but we have a couple of restore request from exchange 2003, but the servers already decommissioned. any other way to do restore?


  12. Prabhat Nigam Says:


    In the production, once we remove last 2003 you can’t install new 2003. so I would suggest building old server in the lab. Here are the steps.
    In the lab do the following:
    1. Build a domain controller with the same domain and netbios name.
    2. Install exchange 2003 with same name.
    3. create same SG and mailbox store which you have to restore.
    4. Create recovery storage group.
    5. Do a restore.
    6. Swap the DBs and mount.
    7. Create a user
    8. Reconnect the mailbox to step 7 user.
    9. Run exmerge to extract the emails to pst.
    10. Copy the pst in production and import to the production mailbox.

    Hope this helps

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