Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery Software – A Review

Few months ago, Stellar Phoenix reps approached me and asked me if I could do a review of their product “Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery Software”. Since I work a lot with customers who has Exchange in their production environments, I thought of reviewing this product to see if it really can recover Exchange server mailbox databases during an event of corruption.

So, the first time I installed it, I was surprised at how easy the installation procedure was. Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery Software took care of all the aspects of installing.

The setup wizard handled all the complexity and it was a not a huge process to follow to get it installed.

Note: The below setup was carried out on a Test Lab running Microsoft Exchange Servers and I also had few corrupted databases in the environment to test out the functionality of the software.

Installation process

As soon as you double-click the .exe file, the wizard opens.

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Once you click the “next” button, you’ll be prompted to accept the terms and conditions.

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Setup wizard will ask you to select the destination folder.

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In the next step, you can choose to create a desktop shortcut.

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When you hit the install button, the installation process starts right away and is completed within a few minutes.

After completing the installation, it was time to start the repair and recovery process and to see how it will perform.

Repair and recovery process

 

As a first step, I double-clicked the software and opened it.

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One of the first things I noticed about this software is its simplicity. The user interface was clean and well-designed with no complex panes and buttons.

A lot of the options at the top are fairly self-explanatory as well.

As soon as you open the software, you’ll be prompted to select the EDB file that needs to be repaired.

If you know the exact location of your EDB file, choose “open EDB” option. But, if you know only the name, but not the location, click on “find edb”. This automatically opens a list of files that have .edb extension and you can choose the relevant .edb from that list.

This is definitely a convenient feature to have, especially if your EDB files are spread across different drives and locations due to the complexity of your Exchange environment.

This is how the list looks when you click the “Find EDB” option.

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After selecting the right .edb file that needs repairing, click the “Start” button on the main screen to start the recovery process.

Now, the software prompts for two types of scans – quick and extensive scan. As the name suggests, quick scan runs through the contents quickly while the extensive scan does a more detailed scanning. I did an extensive scan because I wanted to see how the software performs in recovering the content in the database.

Though it took a few minutes, the results were very impressive.

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As you can see, the left side pane contains details of the EDB files that were recovered during the scanning process.

The central window shows all the items that were recovered from the file, while the right-hand side pane gives a preview of selected emails.

Up to now, the software did a good job to recover my corrupted database. I could see the list of mailboxes as well as their content without any problems or issues.

Now comes the part that is very important. That is exporting the recovered data to files. I was given the choice to save these contents in different formats.

All that I had to do was right-click on the EDB file and this gave me choices to save the file in MSG, XML, HTML, RTF and PDF formats. This is for a particular file.

I even had the choice to save and export the entire database to PST format. I was even given the choice to export it to my Office365 and Exchange mailboxes. To do this, navigate to the left-hand side pane and choose a database. Right click on it and you’ll get the option to save it as PST or to export it to Office365 or Exchange Mailbox.

I saved few recovered mailboxes to PST’s and once the extraction is complete, you will be notified via a message as shown below.

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That is about it. The software was really easy to use and helped me recover my mailboxes from the corrupted database.

What I love about this tool?

There are quite a few things I really liked about Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery.

  • User interface is simple and intuitive. It requires no advanced technical experience.
  • The job is done efficiently and quickly.
  • Simple and straightforward to use, starting from installation to export.
  • It’s not easy to recover contents from a severely corrupted database, yet the software hid all the complexity of background processes.

Overall, I would recommend this tool if you ever come across a corrupted database which needs recovery.

 

(Opinions expressed in this post are mine and based on the testings conducted on my Lab environment running Exchange servers with few corrupted databases)

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You do not have permission to access this page or perform this action – Office 365 Admin Role

Recently I came across a scenario where I have allocated a user in my Office 365 tenant a “Global Admin” role.

But as soon as the role has been assigned to the user and when the user logged in, the below error was generated when he tried to access the “Admin” tile on Office 365.

Admin issue

When investigated, managed to find out that this was not an issue as this was caused by Office 365 still assigning the user privileges to the user in the backend.

To overcome the issue, give some time prior to log in to the portal and accessing the “Admin” tile and your admin page should load up without issues.

The connection to the server could not be completed

Recently I started migrating few on premises mailboxes from Exchange 2013 to Office 365 using the Migration Wizard. However, when using the migration endpoint, I encountered the below error “The connection to the server “webmail.abc.com” could not be completed.

I investigated the above error and did the following tasks to start troubleshooting.

First, I ran the below command “Test-MigrationServerAvailability -ExchangeRemoteMove -RemoteServer webmail.abc.com” to make sure the server is available (You will have to replace the webmail.abc.com with the respective value of the server for your organization).

Once I ran the above command, I found out that the remote server had no issues with the below results as the result was a “Success”.

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Secondly, I wanted to test the Mailbox Replication Service health and ran the below command “Test-MRSHealth” and got the results to be successful as shown below with various services.

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After finding that the above services are functioning well, I was curious as to why the mailbox move was failing. I decided to check the migration endpoint itself for any misconfiguration and started by checking if the credentials used for the Migration endpoint is valid. Upon investigating, I found out that the credentials were expired. I managed to change the credentials and re ran the migration batch and this time mailbox moves were successful.

The above steps will show you to check where you can start troubleshooting if you encounter “The connection to the server could not be completed” error during your mailbox migrations.

Hope this will help someone and keep moving those mailboxes to Office 365!

AAD Sync No-Start-Credentials

Recently, when I was trying to Sync my On-Premises directories to Office 365 Azure AD, I was getting an error in my “Synchronisation Service Manager” and none of the AD objects were been synced under one of my connectors named “Techiewithablog.com” as shown below in Fig 1.

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Fig 1

It is obvious from the above screen that the credentials used by the connector is wrong or expired.

Therefore, I had to update the credentials of the specific connector “Techiewithablog.com”. To do that, go to the “Connectors” tab and right click on the connectors name, which in this case is “Techiewithablog.com” and select properties as shown below in Fig 2.

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Fig 2

Once in the connectors properties, Select “Connect to Active Directory Forest” and give the updated password for the relevant account in the “Password” box and click “OK” as shown in Fig 3.

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Fig 3

Once done, go back to the “Operations” tab and right click the connector name which has failed to run the sync cycle and click “Run” as shown below in Fig 4.

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Fig 4

If the credentials has been entered properly this time, your sync cycle should complete properly as shown below without  the error “No-Start-Credentials” as shown below.

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Fig 5

The above issue could happen if the administrators use accounts random accounts for provisioning AAD Sync services.

Therefore, it is highly recommended to use dedicated service accounts when configuring your AAD Sync environment with their passwords set to never expire.

The Active Directory schema isn’t up-to-date error when trying to Install Exchange 2016

Recently, I came across an issue where I got the below error when trying to install an Exchange 2016 Cumulative Update 4  into and existing Exchange 2010 SP3 CU 10 environment.

Error:

The Active Directory schema isn’t up-to-date, and this user account isn’t a member of the ‘Schema Admins’ and/or ‘Enterprise Admins’ groups.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.SchemaUpdateRequired.aspx

Error:

Global updates need to be made to Active Directory, and this user account isn’t a member of the ‘Enterprise Admins’ group.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.GlobalUpdateRequired.aspx

Error:

The local domain needs to be updated. You must be a member of the ‘Domain Admins’ group and ‘Organization Management’ role group, or ‘Enterprise Admins’ group to continue.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.LocalDomainPrep.aspx

Error:

You must be a member of the ‘Organization Management’ role group or a member of the ‘Enterprise Admins’ group to continue.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.GlobalServerInstall.aspx

Error:

You must use an account that’s a member of the Organization Management role group to install or upgrade the first Mailbox server role in the topology.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.DelegatedBridgeheadFirstInstall.aspx

Error:

You must use an account that’s a member of the Organization Management role group to install the first Client Access server role in the topology.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.DelegatedCafeFirstInstall.aspx

Error:

You must use an account that’s a member of the Organization Management role group to install the first Client Access server role in the topology.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.DelegatedFrontendTransportFirstInstall.aspx

Error:

You must use an account that’s a member of the Organization Management role group to install or upgrade the first Mailbox server role in the topology.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.DelegatedMailboxFirstInstall.aspx

Error:

You must use an account that’s a member of the Organization Management role group to install or upgrade the first Client Access server role in the topology.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.DelegatedClientAccessFirstInstall.aspx

Error:

You must use an account that’s a member of the Organization Management role group to install the first Mailbox server role in the topology.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.DelegatedUnifiedMessagingFirstInstall.aspx

Error:

Setup encountered a problem while validating the state of Active Directory: Exchange organization-level objects have not been created, and setup cannot create them because the local computer is not in the same domain and site as the schema master. Run setup with the /prepareAD parameter on a computer in the domain xyz and site newyork, and wait for replication to complete. See the Exchange setup log for more information on this error.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.AdInitErrorRule.aspx

Error:

The forest functional level of the current Active Directory forest is not Windows Server 2003 native or later. To install Exchange Server 2016, the forest functional level must be at least Windows Server 2003 native.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.ForestLevelNotWin2003Native.aspx

Error:

Either Active Directory doesn’t exist, or it can’t be contacted.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.CannotAccessAD.aspx

Warning:

Setup will prepare the organization for Exchange Server 2016 by using ‘Setup /PrepareAD’. No Exchange Server 2013 roles have been detected in this topology. After this operation, you will not be able to install any Exchange Server 2013 roles.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.NoE15ServerWarning.aspx

Warning:

Setup will prepare the organization for Exchange Server 2016 by using ‘Setup /PrepareAD’. No Exchange Server 2010 roles have been detected in this topology. After this operation, you will not be able to install any Exchange Server 2010 roles.

For more information, visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/library(EXCHG.150)/ms.exch.setupreadiness.NoE14ServerWarning.aspx

I have verified that the account used to run the installer is a member of the “Enterprise Admins”, “Schema Admins” and the “Organizational Management” Groups and verified and checked the Active Directory replication is successful between the different Active Directory sites of the organization. Also, checked the forest and domain functional levels are all 2008 R2.

However, the error was still persistent. Upon investigating further, found out that the Schema update and the domain prep needed to be run from an Active Directory site which has the Domain Controller hosting the Schema Master FSMO role.

Extracted the Exchange 2016 CU4 installation files into a member computer which was in the Same AD Site as the Schema Master and ran the below commands to extend the Schema and prep the AD.

To extend the schema:

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To prepare the Domain:prep ad

The above commands ran successfully and did the necessary Schema updates and the Domain Prep in the environment.

After a while, re ran the exchange setup and it continued successfully without giving the above error.

I hope this article was helpful and will fix the same issue for someone by following the above method.

 

 

 

Exchange 2016 CU4 Installation Hanging on Language Setup in Windows Server 2016.

Recently, I was deploying an Exchange Server 2016 CU 4 in a Windows 2016 server into a Exchange 2010 hybrid environment.

However, I had to wait for ages for the language setup task to finish as shown below in Fig 1.

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Fig.1

Upon investigating, I found out that the Windows Server 2016 built in anti-virus which is Windows Defender is interfering with the installation of the language setup.

I removed the anti virus from the windows server by running the below command with elevated admin rights (Not recommended in a production environment. In a production environment make sure you reinstall the anti-virus after the Exchange Installation completes).

Dism /online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:Windows-Defender /Remove /NoRestart /quiet

 

Upon doing that, I restarted the server and continued with the Exchange 2016 CU 4 setup.

If you do not want to remove the Windows Defender service, you can simply disable the real time protection by running the below command in an elevated PowerShell window.

SetMpPreference DisableRealtimeMonitoring $true

If you want to re-enable the Windows Defender after the installation use the below command in an elevated PowerShell window.

SetMpPreference DisableRealtimeMonitoring $false

This time, as we can see from the below Fig.2, the installation proceeded without taking ages for the language setup to finish and the rest of the installation continued as a breeze.

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Fig.2

Hope this will help you to resolve the issue if you encounter the above scenario when installing the Exchange 2016 server in a Windows Server 2016 or Windows Server 2012 environment.