Restoring an Exchange Mailbox Database backup to original location may complete successfully using NovaStor DataCenter, however after the restore job is completed it may not show any difference in the actual restored content when viewed in Outlook Web Access or Outlook client, versus what is in place prior to the restore. This is unless all of the files at the original mailbox database path location are moved prior to the restore. In order to restore an Exchange Mailbox Database backup to the original location properly, to replace the current Exchange Mailbox Database and Transaction Logs, you will need to first move (or delete) the current Mailbox Database .edb file and Transaction logs files from their present folder location where they are stored at (how Exchange has them defined to be stored at). This is a complete walk-through using NovaStor DataCenter 8.1.3 and Exchange Server 2019. The version of Exchange may differ in your case but the steps are going to be basically all the same, the interface may look a little different.
First, we need to take the Mailbox Database offline by dismounting it via Exchange ECP. In our case we only have one Mailbox Database but in your case you may have multiple. In Exchange ECP go to servers > databases, dismount the Mailbox Database that you are going to be restoring to. Example:
Second, you will need to mark the mailbox database as "This database can be overwritten by a restore", which is a Maintenance option. Go to servers > databases > double-click on the Mailbox Database in question and then click on maintenance, and enable the checkbox on that option. It will not do this for you when dismounting the Mailbox Database. Example:
Third, using Exchange ECP we need to discover what the "Database path" value is for the Mailbox Database that we want to restore is defined as. In Exchange ECP go to servers > databases and double-click on the Mailbox Database in question that you want to restore, you will see the Database path variable as the second item. Note: ECP unfortunately cannot show if the logs and database files are combined into a single folder or not, as it does not output the logs folder path on screen here even if one was defined. Example:
Note: For a Mailbox Database that when first setup was defined to utilize custom paths, including separate drive locations, for the Database path and Logs folder separately, you will not be able to determine the Logs path inside Exchange ECP. In that case to be sure you will navigate to the "Database path" folder in Windows Explorer, and look to see if there are any .log files in that folder, if there are then it means your Mailbox Database when created was defined in the default manner, to combine the Database path and Logs folder into a single path. In that case it will look like this:
Note that in most cases the Database file path and the Log folder will be combined into a single folder. This is determined at the time of creating the Mailbox Database originally, by default after installing Exchange it creates a single Mailbox where the database and logs are combined in a single folder. However, you have the ability to custom define both of those folder paths at the time of creating a new mailbox. In your case it could be storing the database (.edb) and transaction logs (.log) files in a single folder, in the default path, or they could have been defined to both go to the same folder on a different drive and path, or they could have been defined to utilize two different drives and paths, the later being the best practice. Once you determine the database file path and log folder path you will know where to navigate to via Windows Explorer in a later step. Below is an example of what you would see when creating a new mailbox database in Exchange Server 2019, you are be able to define the Database file path and the Log folder path uniquely, and in this example we defined to store them on separate drives. If that is the case for you then you will need to know the database file path and the log folder path at this point, as we will be moving all of the existing files in those folder(s) in the next step.
As an example of what you see when creating a new database, note how the Database file path and Log folder path can be defined as unique folder paths, and in this case they use separate drives even:
Next, we need to navigate to the Database path and the Logs folder path. If the database path and the logs folder path were defined to use a single folder to store both the mailbox database and logs in one folder, which is the default method when creating a new database, then you only need to navigate via Windows Explorer to the "Database file path", as determined in the earlier step. The folder paths were determined in an earlier investigative step. In this example when investigating the Database path, we determined that the database and the logs are using the same single combined folder. We did that by looking to see if there were any .log files in the Database path, and there were, so that means the database and logs are in a single combined folder. Example:
In our example, it was using the default Database path for Exchange Server 2019, and in that case the Logs folder is combined with the Database path so they both are using the same folder on the same drive. In our case the single folder we need to navigate to is C:\Program Files\Microsoft\Exchange Server\V15\Mailbox\Mailbox Database 1819398090\, the last part will differ in your case, or if you have custom defined your Mailbox Database to be stored in an alternate folder path. You can see in our example we have about 187 transaction log files (*.log), and 1 mailbox database file (Mailbox Database xxx.edb), this means that the database and logs were defined to store in the same single folder (the default). Example showing the Mailbox Database xxx.edb file as well as the .log files in a single folder:
You will need to move ALL of the database (.edb) AND transaction logs (.log) files to a sub-folder or another location if you do not have room, for safety in case you need to move them back. Each Mailbox Database will have its own folder, and recall by default the Database path and the Logs folder will be combined into a single folder path, however if your Mailbox Database was custom defined to use separate paths/drives be aware that all files will need to be moved in that case from BOTH of the folder paths. In our case we created a sub-folder named "_Backup" in the original Database path, and then we moved all files to that sub-folder. You can only do this if the Mailbox Database is dismounted. We are left with 0 files, and that "_Backup" sub-folder in the original Mailbox Database folder. If your Log files are stored in a separate "Log folder" path, and not combined into the "Database path" folder, then you will be required to also move all of the .log files in that Logs folder to a sub-folder.
Once that is done you can load DataCenter GUI and click on Restore and choose MS Exchange, then navigate to the Exchange Mailbox Database backup that you want to restore, which matches that Mailbox Database that we just dealt with moving the files for. In the MS Exchange Restore dialog, under "Restore Destination Options" make sure it has the "Restore to original Exchange Server and mailbox" option selected, which is the default for the option, as it is set to in the example screenshot below.
You will then click on the "Restore" button at the bottom right of the Restore dialog in DataCenter GUI, to start the restore of Exchange Mailbox Database backup to original location, click on "Show Monitoring" at the bottom right, and it will show the status of the restore and then it should complete the restore. Example:
After the restore completes with the "Success" status you will then need to Mount that Mailbox Database which you just restored, in Exchange ECP, go to servers > databases > and then select your Mailbox Database that was Dismounted and then Mount it. After that you can then load Outlook Web Access to verify the email / calendar contents look good, to match the restored version of the Mailbox Database. If it restored properly, and the existing file content was moved properly as seen in the earlier step, your restored mailbox database content will match the content that was in the backup set that was restored.
Alternative Workaround method: If the above Restore to original location method does not work, at the time of restoring to original location, and shows the Restore as "Failure" status in the log in Report Manager, and you find you are unable to mount the Mailbox Database (and get an error doing so), you can use the alternate restore method to restore to an alternate folder location first. Simply select the "Destination directory:" field, and browse to the path where you want to perform that alternate folder restore to, in this example it is C:\ExchangeRestore\. Example:
Now click "Restore" to start the restore to the alternate destination directory that you specified. When the alternate folder restore completes with the "Success" status seen in Report Manager, you will then copy / move all of the files from that alternate destination directory path to the original mailbox database path noted in the first step. This should allow you to mount the database without error in Exchange ECP, and the contents of the mailbox database that you restored should be accurate for the restored mailbox database content.