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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.
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:
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.
Install the Internet Information Services Snap-In
From the Add/Remove Windows Components select Internet Information Services (IIS) and click on Details.
Set the checkbox for the Internet Information Services Snap-In component and proceed with the installation.
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.
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.
Finally check the Exchange SP level at the server and apply this to the ExMerge machine so as to bring it inline.
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.
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.
On the XP/2000 Pro machine the user account only requires to be a Standard User (Power User Group).
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.
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..."
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.
On the Exchange Server open the Exchange System Manager
Right-click the Organization object and select Delegate Control
Move ahead with the wizard and click Add
At the Delegate Control dialog, click on Browse and select the ExMerge security group
Set the Role to 'Exchange View Only Administrator'
Click Ok to close the dialog and add ExMerge to the list
Complete the Wizard to save changes
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.
Open the properties for the Mailbox Store
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.
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.
Click OK to save changes.
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.
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
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