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Troubleshooting a corrupted Exchange database

The steps to take when you need to troubleshoot a corrupted Exchange database.

Troubleshooting a corrupted Exchange database
Adesh Rampat

An Exchange database can become corrupted in many ways, from an abnormal shutdown of the Exchange server to a defective hard drive. Resolving a problem with the Exchange database, unlike other databases, tends to be a little complicated. As with all other applications, you should always conduct regular backup of the Exchange database.

Sometimes when an Exchange database is corrupted there may be no visible warning signs. Users might complain about not being able to access the Global Address List or, when they select the "new message icon" to type a new mail, the system may appear to hang for a period of time and may then report a failure to connect to the Exchange server.

When situations like these develop, the first approach you should take is to shut down all Exchange services and restart the server. Databases like the Information Store may take a while to shut down depending on their size. Upon restart of the server, all major services should then automatically start up. If a service fails to start, a warning dialog box will appear.

Whatever database service fails to start, it is always a good idea to run the Exchange maintenance utility first for that database, rather than performing a restore.

The ESEUTIL can be used for both the Information Store and Directory Services. Typing ESEUTlL /? will list the various switch option to apply. Use this utility to perform a recovery, checking the integrity of the database, or perform a repair to the database. When using this utility it is always a good idea to use the recovery option first to get the database back to a consistent state. After this, use the integrity checking option on the database. After conducting this procedure, restart the failed service. In most instances, this can resolve the problem.

Use ISINTEG to check the integrity of the information store database. Run ISINTEG after performing the recovery option with ESEUTIL. Use ISINTEG with the test option to scan the Information store database for any errors. After performing this task restart the Information Store service.


Adesh Rampat has 10 years experience with network and IT administration. He is a member of the Association of Internet Professionals, the Institute for Network Professionals, and the International Webmasters Association. He has also lectured extensively on a variety of topics.

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Related Book

Microsoft® Exchange 2000 Server Administrator's Companion
Author : Walter J. Glenn and Bill English
Publisher : Microsoft Press
Published : Aug 2000
Summary :
MICROSOFT® EXCHANGE 2000 SERVER ADMINISTRATOR'S COMPANION is the comprehensive, easy-to-read guide that saves time by providing all the facts you need to deploy, administer, and support Exchange 2000 Server in any organization--small, medium, or large.


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