I was approached by the good people at Stellar and given the opportunity to review their Stellar Toolkit for Exchange some time ago. Due to various delays I’ve not been able to do so until now. They provided me with a 10 mailbox license so that I could test out the product in real world situations.
The Stellar Toolkit for Exchange is in fact a combination of 5 separate tools that they provide.
• Stellar Repair for Exchange
• Stellar Converter for EDB
• Stellar Converter for OST
• Stellar Extractor for Exchange Backup
• Stellar Password Recovery for MS Exchange
You can find more info on the product itself here – https://www.stellarinfo.com/email-tools/exchange-toolkit.php
This review will focus on the Converter for EDB portion of the toolkit.
You can easily download and install the toolkit direct from their website. Installation for me was no problem at all and very fast. When the install completed it automatically launched into the program itself.
Firstly I grabbed a copy of my Exchange EDB file from my now dead Exchange server and copied it to a hard drive on my desktop PC.
My Exchange server that died had 4 databases. I knew which user I needed the information for, but not which database they resided in.
I then ran the Extract Mailbox option (above) and selected Offline EDB (below)
The Select EDB file allowed me to select all 4 EDB files that I had available.
It then displayed for me the contents of the selected EDB file. Unfortunately the mailbox I wanted was not in this file, so I had to go and reselect another file to find which EDB contained the mailbox I wanted to recover. It would have been great if it had allowed ALL of the selected EDBs to be displayed at once, as it would make the processing of my tasks a lot easier. Maybe a feature for future product releases.
Once I found the database I needed to extract from, it was EASY to expand that users mailbox and select a specific folder. It takes a few minutes while it processes the specific folder you’ve expanded as in the case of this mailbox there were quite a number of mails in it.
When you did this it showed you the contents of that folder in the right hand pane.
You can select an individual message and it will display the content of it for you. This is super helpful if all you need is a single email recovered. For my purpose however I wanted to export this users entire mailbox to PST. To do that you can right select on the specific user you want and select SAVE AS PST.
I had Outlook open at the time and therefore got a warning message to close Outlook which I did.
You can then easily select the destination where you want the recovered email to be and the processing of the mailbox started.
The recovery process was pretty fast, and took 9 minutes to recover the 2.2GB of mail from the mailbox. Part of this speed might be due to the speed of my machine (12th Gen Intel Corei9-12900k with NVMe SSD) but to be honest my CPU and disk were not being hit that hard, so I suspect the product is just straight up fast at processing.
One recovered, I was left with the PST as below. You can see they even thing to give the folder structure a name to show when the recovery ran. A nice touch and very important during any DR situation.
One thing you want to be mindful of when doing a recovery that might affect the data you get back. Your Endpoint AV scanner will be scanning the temp folder location whilst the recovery is running. If there are malware infected items in the emails being recovered, it will be seen by the AV scanning process and will be blocked. This is not a fault of the Stellar tool, but more the way your system needs to be configured IF you are purposely trying to recover an infected file from a backup. If that is the case then you will need to exclude the temporary location from ANY AV scan. You can specify the TEMP folder location when you first select the EDB for recovery.
Recovering Multiple Mailboxes
For the next task I wanted to extract multiple mailboxes, as if I was recovering from the failure of an entire server. I opened another database, selected multiple mailboxes to extract.
Here is where the product is not so intuitive. I tried to right click to Export those mailboxes to PST but that only exports the one you right select on. To export multiple mailboxes, you need to select the SAVE button at the top ribbon bar. Once you do this you will see a dialog box as below that allows you to select various options including saving direct into Office 365 which would be an awesome recovery feature to get someone up and running ASAP.
Once you select the Save as PST you can then get a couple more dialog boxes before being shown this screen where you can then select the priority of each mailbox. In this one I have set the Treetops mailbox to be one I want back first.
Now while it’s running, it will show the progress status of all mailboxes, and when each one is completed the status changes to Completed in green.
Finally – the recovered mailboxes are done – these were all small mailboxes and the recovery took just minutes to complete, so fast in fact I barely got the screenshot above before it was done.
Overall, I was impressed with this product in every way. It was dead easy to install it and get running. I’ve worked with other products in the past that require you to install other pre-requisites before they work. This product didn’t need any of that it just worked!
Also impressive was the speed with which is was able to recover the email and ease with which I was able to do it.
The feedback I’d give them is to make it more obvious when you want to export multiple mailboxes how to do that, given you can right select on things normally, I would have expected that to work. Having said that it’s a minor blemish on an otherwise excellent product.
I hope that this review helps others that might need to recover mail from Exchange databases in future!