Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery review

People from Stellar contacted me some time ago and asked if I would like to test and review their product Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery. As I like the tools that help you to recover from a disaster, I gladly accepted. It took some time to complete the testing and here are the results…

Microsoft Exchange server is very important in the digital world. Whether it is Exchange server or Exchange Online, Exchange is most likely communication center of majority of enterprises. When you use Exchange Online (in either Office 365 or standalone subscription), you are pretty much protected when it comes to server or database failures – Microsoft got you covered very well. But if you are still using Exchange server as a part of your on-prem infrastructure, you need to be prepared for failures. Not that we summon failures, but they inevitable happen, like it or not. And once the disaster strikes, you got to have all the tools that can help you to get all your data back. I’ve heard too many times that if you consider yourself a good Exchange admin, you probably have a bunch of recovery tools.

Exchange administrators know that the mailbox database is crucial for proper functioning of the whole e-mail system. Database technology implemented in Exchange server is rock solid, but there are times and scenarios where you must recover the data contained in a corrupted database. Whether it’s a whole corrupted database or the need to restore only certain mailboxes, there are tools that can do exactly that – open the Exchange database and extract the data out of it. One of the tools you can use for that purpose is Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery (Picture 1).

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What is it and how does it work?

As the people from Stellar say, Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery is a solution that helps you recover the data contained in the corrupt Exchange database files, whether you need to restore e-mails, attachments, contacts… First, you open the EDB file, scan it and, after the scanning process is finished, you have the option to save the data into various formats, such as PST, EML, MSG, PDF… But, before we start to explain recovery process, let’s see how to install it first.

Hardware requirements and installation

Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery supports Exchange server from 2003 to Exchange server2016. System requirements are light – pretty much any modern processor can meet the requirements if you have 1 GB of RAM and 50 MB of free hard disk space and Microsoft Outlook (from 2003 to 2016). Installation file is 13.5 MB big and it takes around 35 MB after the installation.

Once you download installation file, installation process is pretty much straightforward.

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Recovery process, Scenario 1

Recovery process is simple – you open the database, run the scan, get the results and once you are presented with the results, you can export the data. Let’s see how it works, step by step:

When you open the program, you are prompted to open the database (Pictures 10 and 11).

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I selected the Extensive Scan option and after several moments, I was presented with the screen where all mailboxes in the database are shown in the nice tree view. There are two options of Scan – quick scan and extensive scan, if your objective is to deep dive into data you can always go for Extensive scan. Because it may happen that the scan process cannot detect all the attachments in the mail . Left-hand side is reserved for the tree with the mailboxes that can be recovered, central pane shows the items in a selected folder and the right-hand pane shows the content of the selected e-mail. In this case, you can see the mail items in Inbox folder. Right click on the item allows you to save the e-mail in various formats (as you can see it on Picture 12).

Picture 12

If you want to export the mailbox to PST file, the process is similar: open the database, scan it and once the scan is done, right-click the mailbox in the tree and select Save as PST option (Picture 13).

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After that, data gets extracted to the newly created PST file (Picture 14) and you can open it in Microsoft Outlook, using the well-known File -> Open & Export -> Open Outlook Data File command (Picture 15).

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Scenario 2: Export to Exchange server

One of the coolest things that Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery can do is the Export to Exchange Mailbox option. This option allows you to export the data directly to the mailbox on the running Exchange server. Let’s see how it works…

Once again, the process is similar: open the database, scan it and once the scan is done, right-click the mailbox in the tree and select Export to Exchange Mailbox option (Picture 16).

Picture 16

After you select that option, you are presented with the screen with the several fields, where you need to type in the login data. If you want to restore the data into the mailbox that resides on the Exchange server 2010 or newer, you should select the corresponding check box, as you can see on picture 17.

Picture 17

 After you connect to server, you are presented with the windows that lists all the mailbox on it. By double clicking the mailbox name, you start the import process (Picture 18) and the after some time you are presented with the dialog box that notifies you that the import process is complete (Picture 19). Pretty simple and straightforward, you would say, but there is a (little?) catch – the Export to Exchange mailbox can be done only from the machine that is joined to the same domain that Exchange server you are exporting to belongs. If you to do that from some other machine, you will get an error and process will be terminated. Also, it is perfect time to mention that you need to install Microsoft Outlook first, and only after that install Stellar Mailbox Exchange Recovery software. If you don’t follow that order, you will be presented with Phoenix.dll error.

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Scenario 3: Export to Office365 mailbox

The last option that Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery can do is the Export to Office365 Mailbox option. As the name says, it allows you to export the data directly to Office 365 mailbox of your choice. You will be pretty much amazed to see it in action…

Once again, the process is similar: open the database, scan it and once the scan is done, right-click the mailbox in the tree and select Export to Office365 mailbox (Picture 20).

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You are then prompted to log in to the Office 365 account (Picture 21), and once you do, the export process starts (Picture 22). Upon successful export, you are notified, as you can see on Picture 23.

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After I spent some time using the product, I can say that it is very easy to use. At first sight, you might thank that It doesn’t have too much options, but you would be wrong –  all that you need for a successful recovery is there, it is just that the user interface is well-organized and user-friendly. Available options work as they should and if it happens that you end up with a corrupted database, don’t worry. Just start the program, scan the database and choose the recovery options that suit you the most. Also, good thing about the program is that it allows you to transfer the license from one system to another, which is handy when you want to export to data to Exchange servers in different domains. Once you start using Stellar Phoenix Mailbox Exchange Recovery software, you will see that recovering from an Exchange database failure doesn’t need to be difficult – actually, you will learn that you can recover your data with just a few clicks.

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