Unable to view email items after a successful GRT restore

Problem

After a successful GRT restore of mail items and/or an entire mailbox restore, the restored mail items are not visible in the e-mail client or are displayed under new folders.

The problem can happen under the following scenario:

Scenario 1:
An entire mailbox no longer exists and is recreated using the Backup Exec restore wizard option "Recreate user accounts and mailboxes if they do not already exist on the destination server". The language settings for the Exchange server are different than the language settings for the mailbox being restored. For example the Exchange server is installed in German and the mailbox to restore was created in English.

In this situation, the option to "Recreate user accounts and mailboxes if they do not already exist on the destination server" in the Backup Exec restore wizard will not work as expected. The restore job completes successfully, the mailbox is recreated but contains no items other than the seeding message notifying the user that a restore took place.


Scenario 2:
Mail items from a mailbox using one language are restored in a mailbox using a different language. For example mail items from a mailbox initialized in English are
restored to a mailbox initialized in French.

Depending on the Exchange version, the mail item is either not visible or restored in a different folder. Below is an example using Exchange 2016 where a mail item backed up from an English mailbox is restored in a French mailbox. After the restore, a new "Inbox" folder is created in the French mailbox containing the restored email. This new folder corresponds to the original location of the mail item during the backup of the English mailbox. 

Figure 1

Mail item restored in "inbox" folder - OWA client

 

Error Message

N/A

Cause

The cause of the problem for scenario 1 is that the option  "Recreate user accounts and mailboxes if they do not already exist on the destination server" in Backup Exec creates a mailbox using the language settings of the Exchange server.
The mailbox is created without initialization and the data is restored. The restore operation is deemed successful in Backup Exec because the data is successfully sent to the Exchange server. However, because no initialization of the mailbox took place, the data is either written to folders that are not visible to MAPI clients using different language settings than the Exchange server or is not written at all. 

With regards to scenario 2, mail items are restored in their original MAPI folder location, if that folder does not exist or is named differently, it is recreated. The mail item in scenario 2 was restored in folder "inbox" rather than "boite de reception" because it was originally located in folder "inbox" when the mailbox of "Test user" was backed up.

 

 

Solution

For scenario 1, in order to restore an entire mailbox that no longer exists in a different language than the Exchange server, the mailbox must first be created then accessed by the e-mail client of the same language as originally, before launching the restore job.
For example, If a mailbox was originally first accessed by a French version of Outlook or was created using French regional settings in OWA. A mailbox must first be created in Exchange then opened using Outlook in French or created using French regional settings in Outlook Web Access. Below is the sequence of steps that needs to taken in order to successfully restore.
Note that if you have already attempted to restore using the option  "Recreate user accounts and mailboxes if they do not already exist on the destination server" in Backup Exec, this mailbox needs to be deleting before proceeding with the steps.

1- Using Exchange management tools, create a mailbox using the same mailbox name as the original one. Backup Exec identifies mailboxes based on their Distinguished Name which should correspond to their "User logon name" in Active Directory. If the user no longer exists in Active Directory, this information can be found in the Exchange GRT restore selections as shown below:

Figure 2:

User-added image

Note that if the Exchange environment is using a Database Availability Group, the mailbox needs to be recreated on the active node of the mailbox store even if the backups were taken from a passive node.

2- Open the mailbox using an Outlook version in the same language as the original mailbox or choose the same language settings as the original mailbox if using Outlook Web Access. If using Outlook Web Access, it is recommended to disconnect from OWA while the restore of the mailbox will be taking place.

3- In Backup Exec, start the "restore wizard" then select the mailbox to restore. When asked "Where do you want to restore the items", select to the original location

Figure 3:

User-added image

4- On the next screen, when asked "How do you want to restore the items?" leave all check box empty and do NOT select "Recreate user accounts and mailboxes if they do not already exists on the destination server"

Figure 4:

User-added image

5- Complete the restore wizard and run the restore job. All mail items should now show correctly.

Other workarounds for scenario 1:

The Exchange Agent of Backup Exec 2012 and above now provides the ability to restore mailbox or public folder items into PST files, which can be opened in Outlook or distributed to users.
For more information on this, please see the below article.
 
 

For scenario 2, if the restored items are not visible in a newly created folder corresponding to their location during the backup as shown in Figure 1. It is recommended to redirect the items to a mailbox using the same language settings as the original mailbox.

Terms of use for this information are found in Legal Notices.

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