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Meeting the ExMerge Requirements

Alexander Zammit

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Alexander Zammit has been developing server applications for over 15 years. Most of his works involve Exchange integrated applications, including a FAX server, a mail security product and anti-spam products.

  • Published: Jul 11, 2006
  • Category: ExMerge
  • Votes: 5.0 out of 5 - 22 Votes
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Getting ExMerge to run may involve a little journey. Firstly a number of installations are required to satisfy all dependencies. Next the user account must be assigned the necessary access rights.

ExMerge needs little introduction with Exchange Administrators. It enables the import and export of emails between mailboxes and personal folder files (.pst). ExMerge is often used to perform brick level backups, enabling the backup/restore of individual mailboxes.

This tool certainly lacks the polish of commercial applications. The non-existent installation is the most striking missing element. Indeed installing it manually may involve quite a few steps.

In this article I go through the details of running ExMerge from a Windows XP SP2 or Windows 2000 Professional SP4 machine. The article illustrates the steps as applied against Exchange 2003. Nevertheless the same procedure could be applied to Exchange 2000 as well.

In summary these are the key steps:

  1. Install the Exchange System Management Tools
  2. Install ExMerge
  3. Configure Permissions

Installing the Exchange System Management Tools

ExMerge 2003 requires the Exchange 2003 System Management Tools to be installed. In turn this brings along a couple more requirements that are typically missing on XP and 2000 Pro machines.

  1. Install the Internet Information Services Snap-In

    1. From the Add/Remove Windows Components select Internet Information Services (IIS) and click on Details.

      IIS Snap-In Installation

    2. Set the checkbox for the Internet Information Services Snap-In component and proceed with the installation.

  2. Install the Windows Server Administration Tools Pack AdminPak.msi. If installing ExMerge on Windows XP then follow this link to get the latest AdminPak from the Microsoft Download centre.

    In case of Windows 2000 Pro you will need the Windows 2000 Server CD. AdminPak.msi is located under the setup\i386 directory.

  3. Install the Exchange System Management Tools. It is now time for the Exchange 2003 CD. Run setup.exe under the setup\i386 directory.

    At the wizard, select 'Install' for the Microsoft Exchange System Management Tools component as shown below and proceed with the installation.

    Microsoft Exchange System Management Tools

    Finally check the Exchange SP level at the server and apply this to the ExMerge machine so as to bring it inline.

Install ExMerge

The latest ExMerge is available for download from the Exchange Server 2003 Tools page. This version may be used to import/export from any of Exchange 5.5, 2000 and 2003 server but requires the Exchange 2003 System Management Tools to be in place on the machine running ExMerge.

If you haven't yet started migrating to Exchange 2003, then you would have installed the Exchange 2000 System Management Tools in the previous steps. In that case you will find ExMerge on the Exchange 2000 CD under the Support directory.

The ExMerge package will include ExMerge.doc, ExMerge.ini and ExMerge.exe. As the extensions imply, these contain documentation, application settings, and the application executable respectively. Copy all files to the Exchange bin directory created by the Exchange System Management Tools installation.

Configure Permissions

The user account running ExMerge clearly needs access rights to the processed mailboxes. Getting the necessary permissions to run ExMerge is the trickiest part. If we look at the articles available from Microsoft Support we find a number of these addressing this topic (see references). The procedure I present here is largely based on the merger of these articles. I also include extra details where it matters most.

  1. On the XP/2000 Pro machine the user account only requires to be a Standard User (Power User Group).

  2. To set the rights, at the server we first create a security group to hold all user accounts running ExMerge. We will call this group ExMerge to be consistent with the MS support articles. Once created add the user accounts to its membership list.

    Note: At this stage it is easier to work with accounts that have no Administrative role in Exchange. This helps us avoid hitting into issues related to permission inheritance that too often cause confusion.

  3. At the Exchange Server, delegate 'Exchange View Only Administrator' control to the newly created security group.

    Unless we do this, ExMerge would fail on enumerating the private information stores and would return an error saying: "Error getting list of private information store databases on server..."

    Error getting list of private information store databases on server

    This delegation of control could be done at the Organization or the Administrative Group level. I will do the former since most Exchange organizations only have one Administrative Group and don't even expose these at the Exchange System Manager.

    1. On the Exchange Server open the Exchange System Manager

      Delegate Control

    2. Right-click the Organization object and select Delegate Control

    3. Move ahead with the wizard and click Add

    4. At the Delegate Control dialog, click on Browse and select the ExMerge security group

      Exchange View Only Administrator

    5. Set the Role to 'Exchange View Only Administrator'

    6. Click Ok to close the dialog and add ExMerge to the list

    7. Complete the Wizard to save changes

  4. Give the ExMerge security group full control permissions on the relevant Mailbox Stores.

    At this stage we are still missing the rights over the Exchange mailboxes. Specifically we need the Send As/Receive As permissions over those mailboxes against which ExMerge will run.

    1. Open the properties for the Mailbox Store

      Mailbox Store Object

    2. Select the Security property page and locate the ExMerge group entry. This should have been created by the Delegate Control wizard on assigning the 'Exchange View Only Administrator' role.

      Security Page Settings

    3. Click on the Full Control Allow check-box to allocate all the permissions not yet inherited. This should include the Send As and Receive As permissions.

      Note: If the ExMerge security group was not newly created as specified here make sure that the group is not currently denied the Send As and Receive As permissions. In that case click the Advanced button at the security page and assign Full Access permissions so as to override any denied permissions.

    4. Click OK to save changes.

Final Tips

It was indeed a long journey, but finally everything should now be in place. It is time to fire ExMerge.exe that is waiting under the Exchange bin directory! Try a simple export to confirm everything is in place. If you come across errors, restart the Exchange Information Store service so as to force the new permissions to go live.

You are now set for your brick level backups. ExMerge has many options worth exploring. Take some time to read ExMerge.doc and learn how to best use this tool.

References

Windows Server 2003 Administration Tools Pack AdminPak.msi

ExMerge Download - Tools for Exchange Server 2003

How to configure the administrator account to use ExMerge 2003 in Exchange 2003

How to configure an account to use the ExMerge utility in Exchange 2000 Server and in Exchange Server 2003

When the Mailbox Merge Program Tries to Open the Message Store, the Operation Is Unsuccessful

User Comments - Page 1 of 1

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IT 14 Aug 2018 08:03
Brilliant, thank you very much!!

was looking everywhere as I was keep getting rror encounterd getting mailbox information from the private information store database(s) on server for last day

Tried local account/ Domain Admin and Domain user

it must be part of the Power user groups on the server!!

Thanks,
Robert Tedaldi 2 Oct 2014 02:33
Im not touching this.
link to the admin pack installer 23 Feb 2011 16:33
Nice article, http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/confirmation.aspx?FamilyId=E487F885-F0C7-436A-A392-25793A25BAD7&displaylang=en
Randy 25 Jun 2010 07:15
By jove, this is magnificent! Crackers!
Charlotte 23 Apr 2010 08:39
Your instruciton for implementing Micorosft ExMerge are excellent.

Thank you,
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