The Exchange EDB file contains various user mailboxes with different mailbox size. The objective of taking copy of EDB file depends on important reasons like backup of Exchange Server, legal compliances, reduction of mailbox size, protecting Exchange from a server crash.
When the need of any specific or all mailbox from EDB file to access data in Outlook, then we refer either to import EDB file to live Exchange Server or convert EDB to PST file format. Microsoft Exchange Server provides some manual methods to convert Exchange EDB to PST.
Free Methods to Convert EDB to PST file
Here three manual methods are described depending on your version of Exchange Server. We have given you the complete methods and their limitations.
- Export through Exchange Admin Center
- Export through Exchange PowerShell (Exchange Management Shell) commands
- Export through Ex-Merge Utility
Note: It is recommended to have a complete backup of the EDB file before trying any of the below explained free processes as a prevention measure.
#1. Export through Exchange Admin Center
If you want to export EDB mailboxes of the latest Exchange Server versions to PST, there is another way for this. The Exchange Admin Center facilitates the export for which users need to have a ready shared folder and must have assigned export permissions for the EDB mailboxes.
- Does not support earlier Exchange versions.
- Good requirement of technical expertise.
- Risk of data deletion during the process.
- Cannot deal with corrupt EDB mailboxes.
- PST file must be saved on a shared network path.
- Need Exchange Server or client machine.
- Need for Mailbox Import and Export Role assigned in advance.
- After opening the Exchange Admin Center, go to permissions category and click admin roles.
- In the list of admin roles, choose Recipient Management and click add button.
- Click add in Role Group wizard, then choose Mailbox Import Export role, click Add > OK.
- Go back to ‘recipients’ section, choose mailbox and there click more with three dots. Choose the option ‘Export to a PST file.’
- Select the mailboxes that you want to export. Later, browse a shared folder to save the PST file.
- In the last step, choose the mailbox that will get the email after the PST file is created.
#2. Export through Exchange Management Shell commands
It is the most technical free way to convert EDB to PST and it works for Exchange 2007 and above versions. To perform this method, user must have a shared folder for PST and the Mailbox Import and Export roles must be assigned to the mailboxes ready for export.
- High level of technical expertise is required.
- Database with those mailboxes should be mounted
- Does not work with corrupt EDB mailboxes.
- Not for non-technical users.
- Need for supervision for correct execution.
- Need for Administrator privileges.
First, execute this command to retrieve the complete list of the mailboxes from the Exchange Server database.
Provide the Exchange mailbox database name in the above command.
Run this cmdlet in your Exchange Management Shell (with administrative rights) window in order to export EDB mailbox to the PST location.
Here, provide your EDB mailbox name at the place of Mailbox and provide the shared folder path at place of <destination file path>.
Users can check the status of the mailbox export request using this command.
The export would be quick if the correct command is executed, otherwise user can bear file corruption also.
#3. Export through Ex-Merge Utility
It is a free utility provided by Microsoft which exports mailboxes from EDB to PST and imports PST mailboxes to EDB file. The primary requirement is Exchange mailboxes for export need to have full permissions for export.
This method has following limitations:
- Risk of data loss
- Exports data only upto 2GB.
- Supports earlier Exchange versions mostly.
- Lengthy, time-consuming process.
- Works in older Exchange Server versions like Exchange 2003 and earlier ones.
- Launch the downloaded and installed Ex-Merge utility. On the Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Merge Wizard, Click on Next to start.
- Under Procedure Selection, select the second radio button Two-step procedure and click on Next.
- Now, select the first option Extract data from Exchange Server Mailbox and click on Next.
- In the Source Server window, provide your Exchange Server credentials like name, domain name, etc. and then click on Next to continue.
- Now, in the Data Selection Criteria, switch to the Import Procedure tab and then select the option Archive data to target store. Click on OK.
- In the next window, make selection of the EDB mailboxes for export and then click on Next.
- Next, in Target Directory section, provide the destination path for the PST file at the system location. Click on Next to start the export process.
- You can see the progress of the export process. Once it is completed, click on Finish to exit the process.
- Hence, the EDB to PST conversion process is completed.
All these native solutions are free of cost but obviously include certain limitations and possible risks before executing these solutions. Hence, I recommend to use third party EDB to PST Converter tool for instant, efficient extraction of data. The best thing about this tool is it does not have any above-mentioned limitations and also shows great compatibility to all Exchange Server and Outlook versions.
|EDB to PST Converter License Comparision|
|Free Solution||EDB Converter Tool|
|Ex-Merge is long gone with Exchange 2003.||The software repairs database from Exchange 2003 easily.|
|Exchange Admin Center cannot connect with a corrupt database.||The software can access orphan or dismounted database files.|
|The Exchange Management Shell requires various levels of administrative permissions.||The software does not require any permission to access the database files.|
|The manual methods do not apply filter options.||The software offers multiple filter options.|
|The manual options take great time to complete the conversion process.|
For converting EDB to PST file format for backup or other requirements, different free processes are explained with limitations required user’s look out. But for user convenience and better experience, users are advised to take help from EDB to PST Converter tool which suppresses all limitations of free procedures.
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The conversion process using first method is quite easy because of the wizard procedure. It helps to do process happening. I used it once and it worked for me and I could easily extract data from Offline EDB file.
Thanks Olaf for the methods you describe with pictorial description. But what if the user is not capable to run Exchange commands. I think the third party tool can perform it in better way, efficiently and securely.