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Exchange 2013 Restore and Operation terminated with error -1216 errors

You know how when you are nervous about something and so try to do a perfect job and hope for the best, things will inevitably go wrong! Yeah, they don’t lie about that. :) 

I had to do an Exchange 2013 restore. My first time, to be honest, if you don’t count the one time I restored a folder in my home lab. And things didn’t go as smoothly as one would have hoped for. But hey it’s not a bad thing coz I get to learn a lot in the process. So no complaints, but it has been a nervous experience. 

Initially I had a lot of DPM troubles restoring. These were solved by attaching my Azure recovery vault to a different server and doing a restore from there. In the process though I didn’t get DPM to clean up and mount the database directly on Exchange; rather I asked it to restore as files to a location and I decided to do the restore from there. 

It is pretty straightforward according to the docs

  1. Restore the database files. 
  2. Bring the files of the restored database to a clean shutdown state
  3. Create a new recovery database, pointing to the previously cleaned up database files. 
  4. Mount database. 
  5. Do a restore request. 

That’s all!

Here’s some more useful details I picked up along the way, including an error that caused some delays for me. 

1 Restore all files to a location

Now, this is important. After restoring *do not* rename the database file. I did that and it an “Operation terminated with error -1216 (JET_errAttachedDatabaseMismatch)” error. You don’t want that! Keep the database name as is. Keep the folder names too as is, it doesn’t really matter. 

2.1 Check the database state

You run the eseutil /mh “\path\to\edb\file” command for this.  

Two things to note. First, the state – “Dirty Shutdown” – so I need to clean up the database. And second, the logs required. If I check the restored folder I should see files of this name there. In my case I did have files along these lines:

2.2 Confirm that the logs are in a good state

You run the eseutil /mh “\path\to\log files\EXX” command for this (where XX is the log prefix). 

All looks good. 

2.3 Bring the database files to a clean shutdown state

For this you run eseutil /R EXX /l “\path\to\log\files” /s “\path\to\edb\file” /d “\path\to\edb\file” (where XX is the log prefix). I remember the /lsd switches coz they look like LSD. :) They specify the path to the log files, the system files (this can be skipped in which case the current directory is used; I prefer to point this to the recovered folder), and the database file. 

Looks good!

The first few times I ran this command I got the following error –

I went on a tangent due to this. :( Found many outdated blog posts (e.g. this one) that suggest adding a “/i” switch because apparently the error is caused by a mis-match with the STM database. I should have remembered STM databases don’t exist in 2013 (they were discontinued in 2010 I think, but I could be wrong; they used to be the database where you stored attachments). When I added the “/i” switch the operation succeeded but the database remained in a “dirty shutdown” state and subsequent runs of the eseutil command without this switch didn’t make any difference. I had to start from scratch (luckily I was working on a copy of the restored files, so didn’t have to do a fresh restore!). 

Later I had the smart idea of checking the event logs to see why this was happening. And there I saw entries like this:

You see I had the “smart” idea of renaming my database file to something else. It was a stupid idea because the database still had references to the old name and that’s why this was failing. None of the blog posts or articles I read did a database rename, but none of them said don’t do it either … so how was I to know? :) 

Anyways, if you haven’t renamed your database you should be fine. You could still get this or any other error … but again, don’t be an idiot like me and go Googling. Check your event logs. That’s what I usually do when I am sensible, just that being nervous and all here I skipped my first principles. 

2.4 Confirm the database state is clean

Run the eseutil /mh command of step 2.1 and now it should say “Clean Shutdown”. 

At this point your recovered database files are in a clean state. Now to the next step!

3 Create a new recovery database, pointing to the restored database files. 

Do this in the Exchange Management Shell. 

You will get a warning about restarting the Information Store service. Don’t do it! Restarting the Information Store will cause all Outlook connections to that server to disconnect and reconnect – you definitely don’t want that in a production environment! :) Restarting is only required if you are adding a new production database and Exchange has to allocate memory for this database. Exchange 2013 does this when the Information Store is (re)started. We are dealing with a Recovery Database here and it will be deleted soon – so don’t bother. 

Also, remember that Recovery databases don’t appear in EAC so don’t worry if you don’t see it there. 

If you want to read more on Recovery databases this is a good article

4 Mount the recovery database

Again in EMS:

5 Do a restore request

Still in EMS:

I am restoring a folder called “Contacts” from “User Mailbox” back to “User Mailbox” under a folder called “RecoveredContacts”. 

You can keep an eye on the restore request thus:

5+ Cleanup tasks

And once done you can remove all completed requests:

That’s it! 

You can also remove the Recovery database now. Dismount it first. 

This doesn’t remove the EDB files or logs, so remove them manually

Some links that I came across while reading up on this:

My first baby step production Exchange 2013 restore. Finally! :)

Exchange 2013 Restore and Operation terminated with error -1216 errors by rakhesh is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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