Using the Export-Mailbox command in Exchange Server 2007

Get an overview of how to use the Export-Mailbox command to migrate Exchange Server 2007 mailbox content. Get an overview of how this command differs from ExMerge and the Move Mailbox Wizards, some of its limitations, compatibility issues and more.

In Exchange Server 2007, Microsoft removed the ExMerge utility and replaced it with the Export-Mailbox command. Although it may seem similar to the Move-Mailbox command, the Export-Mailbox command has additional capabilities and a few limitations. In this tip, Microsoft Exchange Server expert Brien Posey gives an overview of the Export-Mailbox command, its features and some compatibility issues you may encounter when running various versions of Exchange Server in your organization.

If you've worked with Exchange Server 2007, then you know that the Move Mailbox Wizard has gone through some improvements since Exchange 2003. You likely also know that the Move-Mailbox command allows you to move mailboxes from the command line. So you may ask: If Exchange Server is already equipped with a Move-Mailbox command, why did Microsoft create the Export-Mailbox command?

The Move-Mailbox command is designed to move entire Exchange mailboxes from one server to another. The Export-Mailbox command, on the other hand, is more granular and focuses on moving individual items within a mailbox.

More on moving mailboxes in Exchange 2007:
Migrating resource mailboxes from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007

Moving mobile user mailboxes from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2007

Methods for moving mailboxes and public folders to Exchange 2007

You can use the Export-Mailbox command to extract content based on folders, message keywords, attachment file names or dates. The command also lets you either delete original content from the mailbox once it has been extracted or leave it untouched.

Unlike ExMerge, the Export-Mailbox command isn't compatible with Exchange 5.5, as it's native to Exchange 2007. Because Exchange 2007 and Exchange 5.5 aren't compatible, you can only access the tool once you've deployed Exchange 2007. This doesn't mean that ExMerge is inaccessible, though. If your Exchange organization is running Exchange 5.5 servers, you can still use the utility.

Extracting mailbox data via the Export-Mailbox command


The Export-Mailbox command can extract mailbox data from Exchange 2000 (SP3 or later), Exchange 2003 (SP2 or later) or Exchange 2007 servers. However, you must move extracted data to an Exchange 2007 server. For example, you cannot use the Export-Mailbox command to move Exchange 2007 data to an Exchange 2003 server.

Previously, an administrator using ExMerge had to grant himself permission to access a user's mailbox before being able to extract information. This is also true for the Export-Mailbox command. You cannot export a mailbox's contents without first granting yourself permission to do so. You can, however, move the entire mailbox using the Move-Mailbox command -- or the Move Mailbox Wizard -- without accessing a user's mailbox.

ExMerge was commonly used to export mailbox data to .PST files. Unfortunately, the Export-Mailbox command cannot natively write data to a .PST file. One workaround is to copy the data to a separate folder and then use Microsoft Outlook to deposit the folder's contents into a .PST file.

Additionally, when migrating mailbox data using the Export-Mailbox command, both the source and destination servers must exist within the same Active Directory forest.

About the author: Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a five-time recipient of Microsoft's Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award for his work with Exchange Server, Windows Server, Internet Information Services (IIS), and File Systems and Storage. Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal website at

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