Product Review – Stellar OST Viewer

Why I need an OST Viewer?

Exchange Server keeps mailbox data as EDB files at the Exchange Server end. The same mail data for a particular user is stored at the OST file when the user access the mailbox using a MAPI client like Outlook. There are cases were OST file fails to synchronize when the MAPI gets deleted and which makes OST file Orphan. Chances are there for an OST file becomes damaged too. You might also need to scan and view the OST file in case of Exchange Server downtime to view the mailbox items and that times I would recommend you a very good tool which I have found: Stellar OST Viewer

More about Stellar OST Viewer

I had a chance to use this free utility on my corrupt OST file. Fortunately, I was able to use this tool without much ‘How to use’ documentation as it was found very simple tool to use with. Just browse the OST file and everything at mail mailbox (emails, contacts, calendars, notes, tasks) has been loaded, exactly similar to my Outlook!!! Just saved some of the emails are .msg format.  Also found some supporting formats like EML, RTF, HTML, and PDF useful in your way.

Features – Stellar OST Viewer at a Glance !

Displays Outlook File Detail : Such as emails, contacts, calendar, etc. in a list format.

Search for an OST:  ‘Select OST File’ or search for an OST file using ‘Find OST File’

Allows Deep Scan: Found that it lists entire items in the same folder hierarchy and looks like a powerful algorithm !

Mail Preview supports: Includes info like ‘subject line’, ‘From’, ‘To’, ‘CC’, ‘BCC’

Multiple Formats: From the preview window, I was able to save the email as EML, MSG, RTF, HTML and PDF formats.

Compatibility: Operating system support is found as Windows 8, 7, Vista, and XP. The tool is found as works with Outlook 2013 (32/64 Bit), 2010, 2007, and 2003 versions !

Some more Details: How it looks like

A very user friendly interface as you can see in the below screenshot

Interface

The ‘Select OST File’ option  allows to  select the OST file, if the location of the file is known and if you  don’t not know the location, choose the ‘Find OST File’ option. ‘Find OST File’  will popup a new windows as below, in which you can select Drive, Folders etc. You can also select the option to go inside sub folders by putting the check mark for this. See this as shown below:

Find OST File

I was able to view  the OST file contents as shown below:

View OST File

Once the OST file is scanned, the tool lists all the folders in its original hierarchy. The left side of the interface showed all my folders including Inbox, Drafts, Sent Items, Contacts, Calendar, and more. I further navigated to each folder to see the mail items in the middle pane of the same interface. The software also allowed me to have a preview of the selected mail items on the right side of the interface. The preview contained the ‘Subject’, ‘From’, ‘To’, and ‘Cc’ fields etc. Unfortunately, I am not able to show you the mailbox contents here :( and thus copying something from their portal to show you the look and feel:

Preview Mail Items

The Find Message’ option at the toolbar can be used to search for any particular mail items. However, I did not use that option, as I was able to find all my mail items.

Saves Mail in MSG/EML/RTF/HTML/PDF formats

Once I previewed my mail items, it was very simple to save them in any of the given formats: MSG, EML, RTF, HTML, and PDF. I just had to right click on the scanned mail items and choose any desired format. Since I wanted to save the mail items in the EML format, I choose the ‘Save as EML’ option as shown below.

Conclusion

Stellar OST Viewer is found as the best for my purpose. Being a free utility, it does not have any limitations or restrictions to view or save the mail items. It allowed me to view all my OST file content easily and efficiently. I was able to preview the mail items as well as saved them in a desired format. With so many features and compatibility across different versions of Windows and Outlook, the software proves to be the best in its kind.

Patching of Hyper-V Hosts

Many of you may be using Hyper-V technology as the part of your move towards server virtualization. When you want to patch the Hyper-V hosts which are not equipped with a GUI (Server Core) and not connected to internet, we may want to get the help of WSUS server.

I have employed a manual patching of  Windows Server 2008R2 Hyper-V host using a WSUS Server. As the first step, I have setup , configured the WSUS server as the part of the domain (See the link http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc708574(v=ws.10).aspx) to see how to configure the Group Policy for this). I have connected my WSUS server to the internet and synced with Microsoft Repository of patches. Now everything is ready to deploy the patches to the Hyper-V Host. Cross check the WSUS console and make sure that the Hyper-V host is visible there (You may want to forcefully  apply the Group Policy)

RDP to the Hyper-V Host and I’m going to work on the PowerShell console as shown below (which comes by default when you RDP the Host):

1Note the 2 option available here, 5)Windows Update Settings 6)Download and Install Updates.

I have opted the option 5 by typing 5 and press enter.

Now the ‘Windows Script Host’ console will open and process the connection to the WSUS Server as shown below:

2

After a few minutes, we can see the list of available patches at the same window. Again, the program will ask to select the updates needed to install as follows:

3

Type  the option for you from A,N or S and press Enter.

Finally, we will get the progress as shown below. Some of the updates are not found as successful. Let me try those again, after restarting the host

4

 

 

My Microsoft® MVP Award! for the 5th time…

Just want to share the very happy news I got from Microsoft today.. I have been Re-awarded as Microsoft MVP (Microsoft Most Valuable Professional) – Exchange Server for the 5th time continuously
ImageProxy
Dear Manu Philip,
Congratulations! We are pleased to present you with the 2014 Microsoft® MVP Award! This award is given to exceptional technical community leaders who actively share their high quality, real world expertise with others. We appreciate your outstanding contributions in Exchange Server technical communities during the past year.

 

The Microsoft MVP Award provides us the unique opportunity to celebrate and honor your significant contributions and say “Thank you for your technical leadership.”

 

Mike Hickman
Director
Community Engagement
Microsoft

 

Here is the announcement: MVP Award Winners July 2014

Product Review – Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery v5.0

 

I would like to share a useful software I used some days back. As a Microsoft MVP – Exchange Server, I have received the product for a full featured evaluation version and thanks for the manufactures for such a wonderful product. I found a wonderful review 9.5 out of 10 and thought of using it for the first time.

One of the product from Stellar Pheonix, I would like to introduce you is Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery tool, which is basically can be used to restores the users’ mailboxes on the Exchange Server when you face some corruptions at the mailbox/database level. The tool can be used to repair the database and enables saving the repaired mailboxes as individual Outlook PST data files.

See the product in box..let’s open and explore for more now !!!

stell

Installation: Windows 7 / Vista / 2003/ XP/ 2000 is found as supported for the installation.  The software takes less than 30 seconds to install and only 50 MB of the disk space.

Downloadable Exe is available here for a trial

Test Environment: The following are the configurations of two different machines on which I tested the software:

Test System 1 – One with an obsolete system configuration

  • OS Version: Windows XP
  • Processor:  1.80 GHz Intel Celeron
  • Memory: 1 GB
  • Free space on Boot Drive: 3.24 GB
  • Outlook version: Outlook 2007

Test System 2 – Another one with the latest set of system configuration

  • OS Version: Windows 8
  • Processor: 3.33GHz Intel core i5
  • Memory: 4 GB
  • Free space on Boot Drive: 121.79 GB
  • Outlook Version: Outlook 2013

I was curious to know about Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery software, as the manufacturer alleges that this tool has got the ability to restore the corrupt mailboxes of the individual users by repairing the Exchange Server database file in an efficient manner. I wanted to ensure that if the software is user-friendly and suitable to be used by a beginner. Since the Exchange Server has an administrator to handle the clients’ mailboxes, what are the phases that require the software usage? I wonder! How the corruption affects the mailboxes and the changes the nature of the mailboxes – are the major points that I aimed to clear up with this review.

Well, I began practicing the software on Test System 1 and what I noted is it did not take much time to install. I navigated to Start > All Programs > Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery > Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery, and the software opening landed on the following screen:

1

On the Select EDB File screen, the software provided two options – Open EDB File and Find EDB File – to start with.

  • Open EDB File – Select this option to browse the location of the corrupt EDB file on your computer.
  • Find EDB File – Select this option if you are not aware of the location of the corrupt EDB file on your computer.

In addition to selecting the EDB file, the exact version of the Exchange Server on which the database was created, must be known.

1

The software provided the aforementioned versions of Microsoft Exchange Server to choose one. In fact, these are the versions of the Exchange Server that Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery software supports for recovery.

To begin repairing the corrupt EDB file, I clicked the Start button provided right below the Exchange Server Type. Further to that, the software provided two scan options – Quick Scan and Extensive Scan.

1

  • Quick Scan – is a faster scanning option that does the job quickly and is efficient in most cases of corruption.
  • Extensive Scan – is comparatively slow, but is recommended for getting better results.

Clicking the OK button instructed the software to initiate scanning the EDB file in the selected scan mode. Subsequently, the screen showing scan in progress (see the screenshot below) appeared.

1

Based on the size of the EDB file (since multiple mailboxes are there in the file), the software might take a while to finish scanning and repairing. Subsequently, a preview window opened and made a preview of each item in the individual mailboxes available.

The software created a tree of the mailboxes to the left, while expanding a mailbox in the tree listed all its folders right below it. As I selected a folder in a particular mailbox, it revealed its contents to the right. A preview of the individual emails was available.

1

“Amongst the significance of showing a preview of the individual mailboxes, the one I’m highlighting is that it enables recovering selected mailbox out of the EDB file. A check box in front of each folder facilitates to do it.”

After the preview is done, the next step was to save the recovered mailboxes. The Save Mailbox option in the toolbar enabled doing it. As I clicked the Save Mailbox option, a pop-up box opened, which enables selecting the destination.

1

The software saved the recovered mailboxes as shown in the screenshot above.

Note: The software saves the recovered mailbox in PST format, i.e. the Outlook data file, which is Outlook importable.

I then began testing the software on Test System 2 and the software took even lesser time in its installation. I could clearly say that the installation time was significantly lesser as compared to that on Test System 1.

I ran the software for the same EDB file, but then I chose the Find EDB File option to check out the efficiency of the software is in locating the required database file. I must say the software did well.

Based on the same tests on Windows 8 machine, I noticed that the software performance is subject to the system configuration. I observed the following facts about Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery:

  • The software is efficient in searching, scanning, and repairing the Exchange data files.
  • The software shows preview of the items in the mailboxes.
  • The software enables selected mailboxes recovery.
  • The saved PST files are Outlook importable.

Ease of Use: Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery software is a lightweight tool for Windows platform. The software quickly searches and repairs the EDB file and lets you to see the preview of individual items. Its simple and user-friendly interface makes the repair task easier and the user can save the PST file at a desired location. Moreover, the PST file is Outlook importable.

 

Pros:

  • Simple and user-friendly interface
  • Recovers mailboxes easily and efficiently
  • Supports an array of operating systems
  • Lightweight and Less resource consuming tool

 

Con:

  • The software is pricy.
  • Current version of tool does not support Exchange 2013.

 

Conclusion: Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery is a ‘must-have’ tool for an Exchange Administrator, especially in the absence of a recent backup. In fact, the administrator is responsible for taking care of the mailboxes of all the users. In case the Exchange Server is down or corrupt (let us say), the administrator can restore the mailboxes by repairing the EDB file.

Create Hierarchical Address Books in Office 365

The hierarchical address book (HAB)

The hierarchical address book (HAB) is a feature in Microsoft Exchange Server 2013, Exchange Online (Office 365) and Microsoft Outlook that enables end users to browse for recipients in their Exchange organization using an organizational hierarchy. In most Exchange deployments, users are limited to the default global address list (GAL) and its associated recipient properties. Additionally, the structure of the GAL often doesn’t accurately reflect the management or seniority relationships among recipients in your organization. Being able to customize an HAB that maps to your organization’s unique business structure provides your users with an efficient method for locating internal recipients.

The nice place to start with HAB is the kb article here

HAB in Office 365

In a recent blog article, MS has informed that Hierarchical Address Books have arrived at Office 365 too. After reading the announcement, I have decided to play something around on the new stuff in Office 365 !!!

How HAB Looks Like

So, my aim is to build something like shown below:

IC412984

The top-level tier represents the root organization Contoso, Ltd.

  • The second-level child tiers represent the business divisions within Contoso, Ltd: Corporate Office, Product Support Organization, and Sales & Marketing Organization.
  • The third-level child tiers represent departments within the Corporate Office division: Human Resources, Accounting Group, and Administration Group.

How to start with establishing a HAB

It has found as a tenant administrator for Office 365 is able to configure a HAB using the same commands one would in an on premises deployment through PowerShell only. So my reference to play around is Enable or Disable Hierarchical Address Books in Exchange 2013

The general steps are found as follows:

  1. Create a distribution group that will be used for the root organization (top-level tier).
  2. Create distribution groups for the child tiers and designate them as members of the HAB. Modify the SeniorityIndex parameter of these groups so they’re listed in the proper hierarchical order within the root organization.
  3. Add organization members. Modify the SeniorityIndex parameter of the members so they’re listed in the proper hierarchical order within the child tiers.
  4. For accessibility purposes, you can use the PhoneticDisplayName parameter, which specifies a phonetic pronunciation of the DisplayName parameter.

The following table shows all the required cmdlets to configure a HAB.

Cmdlet Parameter
Set-OrganizationConfig HierarchicalAddressBookRoot
Set-Group IsHierarchicalGroupSeniorityIndexPhoneticDisplayName
Set-User SeniorityIndexPhoneticDisplayName
Set-Contact SeniorityIndexPhoneticDisplayName

Steps to Enable HAB in your Office 365 organization using Remote PowerShell

1. Create the Global Distribution Group, in which all the Hierarchical Address Books and users are member of

New-DistributionGroup -Name “ExchangeOnline” -DisplayName “ExchangeOnline Global” -Alias “ExchangeOnlineGlobal” -Type “Distribution”

The PowerShell Output shows as follows:

11

2. Make the ‘ExchangeOnline’ Global Distribution Group as the root Distribution Group for the HAB

Set-OrganizationConfig -HierarchicalAddressBookRoot exchangeonline

See the corresponding PowerShell Output as below:

12

3. Create a new distribution group ‘ExchangeOnline.in’ and add it as a member of the Global group

New-DistributionGroup -Name “ExchangeOnline.in” -DisplayName “ExchangeOnline.in” -Alias “ExchangeOnlineIndia” -Type “Distribution”

Add-DistributionGroupMember -Identity “ExchangeOnline” -Member “ExchangeOnline.in”

Corresponding PowerShell Output:

111

4. Create distribution groups for the other tiers in the HAB. For this example, we would create the following groups: Messaging, Infrastructure, Office 365. This example creates the distribution group Messaging. Likewise create other groups too

New-DistributionGroup -Name “Messaging” -DisplayName “Messaging” -Alias “Messaging” -Type “Distribution”

3

5. Designate each of the groups as members of the HAB. For this example, we would designate the following groups as being hierarchical groups: ExchangeOnline, ExchangeOnline.in, Messaging, Infrastructure, Office 365, Consultants, Architects, Administrators. This example designates the distribution group ExchangeOnline as a member of the HAB.

Remember to convert every groups you wish to be there as a Hierarchical Group listed in your Address Book

Set-Group -Identity “ExchangeOnline” -IsHierarchicalGroup $true

Set-Group -Identity “ExchangeOnline.in” -IsHierarchicalGroup $true

Set-Group -Identity “Messaging” -IsHierarchicalGroup $true

Set-Group -Identity “Administrators” -IsHierarchicalGroup $true

etc…

See how the PowerShell Output looks like:

123

6. Add each of the subordinate groups as members of the root organization. For this example, distribution groups Messaging, Infrastructure, Office 365 are added as members of the root organization ExchangeOnline.in in the HAB. This example adds the Messaging distribution group as a member of the ExchangeOnline.in root distribution group

Add-DistributionGroupMember -Identity “ExchangeOnline.in” -Member “Messaging”

See how it is operated in PowerShell

5

7. Add each of the groups that are subordinate to the distribution group ‘Messaging’ as members of the group. For this example, distribution groups Architects, Consultants, and Administrators are added as members of the distribution group ‘Messaging’. This example adds the Architects distribution group as a member of the Messaging distribution group.
Add-DistributionGroupMember -Identity “Messaging” -Member “Architects”
8. Set the SeniorityIndex parameter for groups in the HAB. For example, the Messaging group contains three child groups: Architects, Consultants, Administrators. Instead of having the groups listed in ascending alphabetical order, which is the default, the preferred sorting will be Administrators (SeniorityIndex = 100), Consultants (SeniorityIndex = 50), and then Architects (SeniorityIndex = 25). This example sets the SeniorityIndex parameter for the Administrators group to 100.
Set-Group -Identity “Administrators” -SeniorityIndex 100
The PowerShell Output Looks like as seen below:
8
9. Set the SeniorityIndex parameter for users in the HAB groups. For this example, the Administrators group contains three users already: UserX, UserY, and UserZ. Instead of having the users listed in ascending alphabetical order by default, the preferred sorting will be UserZ (SeniorityIndex = 100), UserX(SeniorityIndex = 50), and then UserY(SeniorityIndex = 25). This example sets the SeniorityIndex parameter for the users UserZ,UserY,UserX to 100.

Set-User -Identity “UserZ” -SeniorityIndex 100

Set-User -Identity “UserX” -SeniorityIndex 50

Set-User -Identity “UserY” -SeniorityIndex 25

See the PowerShell Output too:

9

How the HAB we made looks like?

So, it’s almost done, except the one which is how the HAB looks like in address book. Microsoft has clarified that it can be viewed through Outlook 2010/2013 only as of now (That means no OWA supported for the time being)

Are you ready to see the new addition in Outlook 2013? A new tab is added to the Address book !!!

The HAB is displayed on the Organization tab, similar to the following figure.

HAB

You can also review the hierarchy of display of Groups and Users as we set using SeniorityIndex in a previous step.

Hope, this will help you when you are in need of creating a Hierarchical Address book in your Exchange 2013 or Office 365 environments.

RPC virtual Directory Basic Authentication keeps getting disabled

I met an interesting issue today during the troubleshooting of an RPC/HTTP connectivity issue on a Windows 2008R2/Exchange 2013 environment.

Observation: The observation was RPC virtual Directory Basic Authentication keeps getting disabled in about 5 minutes even when we enable it manually.  The intermittent observation has noticed during the testing of the RPC/HTTP via http://exrca.com/. It keeps passed when the Basic Authentication keeps enabled and failed when the change has introduced automatically.

Also, the cmdlet output for Get-OutlookAnywhere |fl showed the IISAuthenticationMethods as follows:

auth

 

So the Exchange was forcefully overwriting the Windows IIS settings for RPC virtual Directory with on some minutes every time.

Requirement:

Default Settings for Exchange Virtual Directories for Exchange 2013 showed the following requirement for RPC Virtual Directory under ‘Default Website’ in IIS

RPCAlso IISAuthenticationMethods for OutlookAnywhere should be listed as follows:

auth2

 

How to Fix the issue

The TechNet Blog published here mentioned some hints to fix the issue.

The fix is set the Exchange OutlookAnywhere settings forcefully by using the following cmdlet:

Get-OutlookAnywhere | Set-OutlookAnywhere -IISAuthenticationMethods: Basic, ntlm

After setting this, I have manually Enabled the RPC virtual Directory Basic Authentication and it keeps maintaining the settings because of the fix.

Hope this will help you also !!!!

Exchange Online GAL federation between two Office 365 tenants

I have recently tried to establish the GAL Federation between two of my Office 365 Exchange Online tenants to share the Free busy Availability between those domains. I have used the domains exchangeonline.in and the free one manuphilip.onmicrosoft.com

1) Connect to Exchange Online through PowerShell as an administrator user on one of the domain

2) Find the existing Federation info between the domains under consideration. Substitute the domain name when asked as below:

Get-FederationInformation -DomainName

EOL

3) Create a New Organization Relationship between the domains and set the Free Busy Properties. In this step, I am going to set the FreeBusyAccessLevel as ‘AvailabilityOnly’

Get-FederationInformation -DomainName “Domain Name” | New-OrganizationRelationship -Name ‘Federaion’ -Enabled $true -FreeBusyAccessEnabled $true -FreeBusyAccessLevel ‘AvailabilityOnly’ -FreeBusyAccessScope $null

eol2

4) Now check the Scheduling Assistant in owa or outlook and see it has shared as below: I have tried to check the availability info of a mailbox located in the federated domain

eol3

5) Similarly, you may also set the ‘FreeBusyAccessLlevel’ as ‘LimitedDetails’ for the existing OrganizationRelationship as below:

Set-OrganizationRelationship ‘Test-Federation’ -FreeBusyAccessLevel LimitedDetails

eol4

Common mailbox / folder sharing scenarios Guided Walkthroughs

Microsoft has published certain Guided Walkthroughs helpful for us when working with Exchange, Outlook, Office 365 (o365) etc. to set up mailbox, calendar etc. Very helpful in learning and troubleshooting instances:

Following are the guided walkthroughs available:

Exchange 2003 to 2010 Migration Roll back

Now as days one of the major migration project handled by exchange administrators are Moving mailboxes from Exchange 2003 to Exchange 2010. When doing this, we should have a proper roll back plan, when we required to move back the mailboxes migrated to Exchange 2010 back to 2003.

Recently one of the customer has requested me to include the steps in the migration plan. I have prepared it as follows:

The reference from Microsoft KB collection for this is found here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd638157.aspx

1. The first step is to disable the Personal Archive as this is an exclusive feature on Exchange 2010 only. The following cmdlet can do the job

Disable-Mailbox -Identity <identity> -Archive

2. The next step is if ‘SingleItemRecoveryEnabled’ property is ‘True’, this should be disabled by using the following cmdlet:

See if the property is enabled:

get-mailbox <identity> |ft displayname,singleitemrecoveryenabled    

Disable it using the following cmdlet:

set-mailbox <identity> -SingleItemRecoveryEnabled $False

3. Next step is to delete any Retention items presented with Exchange 2010 mailbox. You will need to clear these out before the mailbox is moved to Exchange 2003.

Your admin account should the member of  ‘Discovery Management’ USG in Exchange 2010 to search mailbox for retention items presented in the mailbox.  The following cmdlet can add your username to the particular USG

Add-RoleGroupMember -Identity “Discovery Management” -Member <your account name>

Next is to search the mailbox

Search-Mailbox -Identity <identity> -SearchDumpsterOnly -estimateresultonly |fl Identity, ResultItemsCount, ResultItemsSize

If the properties ResultItemsCount and ResultItemsSize are >0 you will need to clear these out before the mailbox is moved to Exchange 2003. Use the following cmdlet for this

Search-Mailbox -Identity <Identity> -SearchDumpsterOnly -TargetMailbox “Discovery Search Mailbox” -TargetFolder “<Identity>-RecoverableItems” -DeleteContent

Search the mailbox again to confirm the operation

4. Now we are ready to move the mailbox back to Exchange 2003. But we need to find the database GUID of the Exchange 2003 database to substitute in the cmdlet:

(get-mailbox -database “Exchange 2013 Server Name\Storage Group 1\Mailbox Database 1″ | select -first 1).database

The result includes a property called ObjectGuid property and which is will help to identify the correct hive in the registry on the Exchange 2003 server to find the GUID easily

The move cmdlet can be built as below: This is handled in two ways for ‘Same Forest’ as well as in ‘Cross Forest’

For ‘Local’ Move (Same Forest):

new-moverequest -identity “Identity” -targetdatabase GUID

For Remote Move (Cross Forest):

$UserCredential = Get-Credential

New-MoveRequest -identity “Identity” -remotelegacy -RemoteTargetDatabase “DB Name” -RemoteGlobalCatalog “GC Name” -RemoteCredential “$UserCredential” -TargetDeliveryDomain “Domain Name”

Exchange 2010 will be queuing the move request and can be monitored from the Exchange Management Console to see the status.

Hope this helps you in your Migration Rollback activity

Microsoft Exchange Server Blog

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