Microsoft Exchange Server and MS Outlook use two different formats for their mailboxes—Exchange Database (EDB) and Outlook Data File (PST). The advantage of PST file over the EDB file is that it resides on local systems and are readily accessible through Outlook email clients. Also, it is more portable than the EDB file. There are many circumstances in which Administrators think of converting EDB file to PST format:
- To create a mailbox backup (when an employee leaves the organization)
- To move mailbox from one location to another (to facilitate employee relocation)
- To recover mailboxes
EDB to PST Conversion – How?
Microsoft has incorporated one or other EDB to PST conversion feature with every version of the Exchange Server. Some third-party EDB to PST tools are also available in the market. Below are the most popular Exchange EDB to Outlook PST conversion options available for Exchange administrators:
- ExMerge (Exchange 2003)
- Export-Mailbox cmdlet (Exchange 2007)
- New-MailboxExportRequest cmdlet (Exchange 2010/2013/2016)
- Export to a PST file (Exchange 2013/2016)
- eDiscovery PST Export Tool (Exchange Online -Office 365)
Microsoft Exchange Server Mailbox Merge Wizard
Microsoft Exchange Server Mailbox Merge Wizard (ExMerge) is the simplest tool for exporting the content of an Exchange mailbox to PST file. It can be downloaded free from Microsoft sites. For exporting to PST, administrators need to perform the first step in its ?Two Step Procedure’ (Extract or Import).
- Can export data from single or multiple mailboxes of the same Exchange store.
- Can filter messages based on various criteria like date, time, folders, subject, attachment etc.
- Avoids duplication of messages
- Exports messages, rules, and forms.
- Can be used as a mailbox backup solution with incremental backup facility (owing to duplicate removal facility)
- Is scriptable and can be sued for backing up and archiving
- Is a simple, easy-to-operate wizard
- Cannot export mailboxes of size more than 2GB
- Download and installation is required (ExMerge is not an inbuilt feature of Exchange 2003)
Mailbox export cmdlets in Exchange 2007 (SP1)
In Exchange 2007 (from SP1 onwards), one can use Exchange Management Shell cmdlets to export mailbox content to Outlook PST (there are no Exchange Management Console options to do it). By this way one can export even mailboxes that are larger than 2GB. Also, one can filter the mailbox content by various criteria. The cmdlets used are:
Export-Mailbox -Identity <MailboxIdParameter> -PSTFolderPath <Path_Of_PST_Folder>\<File_Name>.pst
To export multiple mailboxes from a database named ?TestMailboxDatabase’, you can use (mailboxes will be exported to the matching PST files in the specified location):
Get-Mailbox -Database ‘TestMailboxDatabase’ I -PSTFolderPath <Path_Of_PST_Folder>\PSTs
Export cmdlet supports keywords for filtering the mailbox data. The keywords that can be used are: StartDate, EndDate, ContentKeywords, AllContentKeywords, SubjectKeywords, SenderKeywords, RecipientKeywords and AttachmentFileNames. For eg:
Export-Mailbox -Identity <MailboxIdParameter> -PSTFolderPath <Path_Of_PST_Folder>\<File_Name>.pst -StartDate <D/M/YY> -EndDate <D/M/YY> -SubjectKeywords:<’keyword’> -ContentKeywords: <’keyword1’, ?keyword2’>
Mailbox export cmdlets in Exchange 2010
In Exchange Server 2010, the mailbox export cmdlets and the export procedure are quite different from those in the previous version. In this version also, you don’t have a GUI option to export the mailbox data.
In Exchange 2010, the user performing export operation should be assigned a ?Mailbox Import Export Role’. Role assignment can be done using Exchange Management Shell. Also, the folder having the destination PST needs to be a shared folder with full permissions given to the Exchange Trusted Subsystem. The syntax for exporting mailbox data is:
New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox <MailboxName> -FilePath “<Path to the PST file>
?Export to a PST file’ option in Exchange 2013/2016
In Exchange 2013 and Exchange 2016, you can export the mailbox content to PST as you have done in Exchange 2010—you can follow the same procedure and use the same cmdlets. But all these actions can be done using the Exchange Admin Center (EAC) too.
eDiscovery PST Export Tool in Office 365 (Exchange Online)
In Office 365 (Exchange Online), you don’t have a direct option to export mailbox data to PST as in the on-premises versions. However, you can use the eDiscovery PST Export Tool to export mailboxes (results of an In-Place eDiscovery search) to a PST file. This tool is available in the compliance management section of the Exchange admin center (if you have the Enterprise Client Access License for Office 365).
Is there a single EDB to PST conversion tool that work with all the versions of Exchange?
Yes. There are professional EDB to PST Conversion Solutions that help you convert EDB files of any version of Exchange to PST format. It can convert offline and online EDB files to PST format bypassing the 2GB limit. It has many advanced features like preview, mailbox search, and attachment extraction.
With every version of Exchange Server, administrators can see a feature to export the content of EDB mailboxes to MS Outlook PST. However, many organizations prefer professional EDB to PST conversion solutions because of their ease of use and flexibility with Exchange versions.