I’ve seen so many people attempt to restore Exchange and fail using Microsofts built in tools, or come unstuck because they want to restore a single mailbox, that I thought I’d document the free method of backing up Exchange that we use, so that it will hopefully help others.
One of the tools available from Microsoft free is Exmerge. It allows individual mailboxes to be individually exported to PST files, which can then either be re-imported back into Exchange or simply opened in Outlook. Exmerge is available from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=429163ec-dcdf-47dc-96da-1c12d67327d5&displaylang=en
Extract and save to the Exchsrv/bin directory, and when the appropriate mailboxes have been selected, destinations set save the configuration. This will create an exmerge.ini file.
This can then be scripted in a batch file and run as a scheduled task. I create a folder on the local disk of the Exchange server (although this can be done to a mapped drive) for each day I want the backup to run.
My exmon.bat file reads:
D:\exchsrvrbinexmerge.exe -F C:\scriptsexmonexmerge.ini -B
Which runs the exmerge.exe, with the options specified in scriptsexmonexmerge.ini and runs the script as a batch job using the -B switch.
To clean the folder prior to running, I have a separate batch file that runs earlier on the same day that runs
del /F /Q /S z:\Exchangeexmon*.*
Subsequently to back up the PST files to a separate server I use the excellent BackupPC running on a Debian server. Installation instructions for Debian are here: http://www.debianhelp.co.uk/backuppc.htm
The BackupPC box is confugured to access the SMB share that the PST’s are stored in, as well as additional file shares on the server. BackupPC supports incremental backups and backups via a variety of methods (including SSH and rsync, as well as SMB).
It’s also possible to archive off historic backups for off-site using the archive functions within BackupPC. As a free solution for backing up mailboxes and beiong able to recover easily (with version control) this is very effective…