Wednesday, 19 June 2013

How to move mailboxes from exchange to another domain?

Due to advent of technology, there exist numerous swift and easy ways to move the entire exchange mailboxes to another domain. For instance, Exchange server 2003 has a Move Mailbox Wizard embedded within itself with the help of which multiple mailboxes can be migrated simultaneously and this moving of multiple mailboxes in a single go is termed as Multithreading.

Scenarios under which Exchange mailboxes are moved across different domains – NEED:
There can be different circumstances under which the need of moving the Exchange mailboxes could arise. Like, when an existing Exchange server is upgraded to a higher version such as from MS Exchange Server 2003 to Exchange Server 2007; or to balance the server load among the existing exchange servers; to move the mailbox to a different Active Directory site or to a new location; to merge the data items of two mailboxes; to change the administration of MS Exchange from account of MS Windows; etc.
Also, the Exchange mailbox is often moved to another domain for realigning - on the basis of specific values such as to move the Exchange mailbox from one database to another which has larger mailbox size limit. Under any or every of these afore mentioned scenarios, the Exchange mailboxes can be moved by the user to any other domain.

Across which domains or versions are the Exchange mailboxes moved?
Generally, the Exchange mailboxes can be moved among different versions of Exchange servers and also across mailbox servers, databases, domains, AD directory service sites and forests. For example, Exchange 2000 mailbox can be moved to Exchange 2003 and 2007 mailbox; Exchange 2003 mailbox can be moved to Exchange 2000, 2003 and 2007 mailbox; etc.

Misconceptions about moving mailboxes:
Related to Exchange mailbox move, different misconceptions are spread by different people as per their experiences. Such as, user must be logged off from the mailbox while moving the mailboxes. However, if the user is not logged off while moving mailboxes, no errors are occurred even then. This is due to the fact that a flag PR_IN_TRANSIT is automatically set on the mailbox when the mailbox move operation is initiated. And it prevents all sorts of actions from occurring which safeguards the mailbox and helps to avoid any kind of errors.

How can the move mailbox operation be carried out?
In order to move Exchange mailboxes the user can opt either of the two options which is found suitable by him/her:
  1. By using Exchange Task Wizard:
    Step by step Procedure of using Exchange Task Wizard for moving the Exchange mailboxes (For Exchange 2003):
    1. On the computer desktop, Click Start, Select All Programs -> Microsoft Exchange -> System Manager
    2. Within the console tree, extend the list of the Servers and then select the server from where mailboxes are to be moved. Also extend Storage Group to select the one from which you need to move mailbox and there after extend the Mailbox Store. Now click Mailboxes.
    3. Move the cursor in the details pane and then right-click on the user/ users that you want and then click Exchange Tasks.
    4. The Exchange Task Wizard pops up
    5. Within the wizard, go to the Available Tasks page, select Move Mailbox and then hit Next
    6. Select a server in the Server list on the Move Mailbox page and a mailbox store from the Mailbox Store list. Then click Next
    7. Choose the appropriate option as per requirement under If corrupted messages are found and then proceed by clicking Next
    8. Now, choose the appropriate date and time for moving the exchange mailbox in the Begin processing tasks at list on the Task Schedule page. Proceed by clicking Next
    9. Click Finish to exit the Exchange Task Wizard
  1.  By using Move-mailbox cmdlet:
    The exchange mailboxes can be moved between servers of same organizations or servers of different organizations by using appropriate syntax in cmdlet.
How the mailboxes are actually moved after the information in the ‘Move Mailbox’ wizard is provided?
  1. When the Exchange Task Wizard is left open on the screen, the Wizard waits for the scheduled date and Time to arrive if the user has provided the same for some later moment.
  2. The MAPI( every Exchange server has a MAPI server version installed) connection is opened for source as well as destination servers
  3. The PR_IN_TRANSIT flag is set within the mailbox before beginning the process of moving mailboxes so that no changes are made to the mailbox while the process is being carried out.
  4. The target mailbox is created and the properties, folders, etc. related to it are set before initiating the process of moving mailboxes.

  5. Once the entire mailbox is successfully moved at the target location, update the directory object.
  6. As soon as the data is successfully transferred, PR_IN_TRANSIT flag of the mailbox at the destination is updated to make sure that it is no longer set.
However, with the help of above-mentioned two methods, the mailboxes can be moved quite efficiently but it involves manual efforts and tediousness. In order to automate the process of moving Exchange mailboxes, a commercial tool like Lepide Exchange Recovery Manager can also be used. It makes the process of moving Exchange mailboxes to another domain extremely swift, easy and effortless. You can download by clicking on this given link and get various exchange migration situations and their  right solution.


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