Exchange Server Database Backup – A Comprehensive Guide

Updated On - September 5, 2023 by Nasir Khan |

Reading Time: 4 minutes

There is so much articles defining ways to backup Exchange Server mailboxes database that the entire network is probably sagging under its own weight. In spite of all the chatter, the demand for IT-related knowledge continues to rise. One probable explanation is the proliferation of cutting-edge technologies and novel solutions offered by unofficial or independent sources. In reality, the conversation continually circles back to the limits of the Exchange backup solutions and how to get around them. The situation is analogous to cutting through an impassable hedgerow, where you would still wish to find more efficient means. Whether you’re using Exchange 2010 or 2013, I’ll do my best to give you a quick rundown of the options available for backup Exchange Server database and how they compare to those offered by a third-party tool.

Face-to-face: Exchange’s built-in backup options

Some of you who have attempted backing up Exchange mailboxes with native solutions will realize that this is as risky as jumping into waist-deep water despite appearances. The Exchange tools can back up mail completely or incrementally, but the options are limited and not particularly granular.

Verified methods to Backup Exchange Server Database

Method 1: Windows Server Backup

Windows Server Backup (with the WSBExchange.exe plugin installed) is a popular option that provides a straightforward native method of backing up Exchange data, and it comes prepackaged with some of these options. A full VSS backup of a selected disc or full server backup is the only option to back up and restore Exchange data; therefore, be aware that using this tool is like taking a one-way street. There is no way to recover the mailbox data if you generate a backup of only some data, including the mailbox files and folders. Strangely, you can access the mailbox databases and restore them using the exciting applications restoration process only if you back up the entire drive. But you either get a complete snapshot of a volume, which would contain your mailbox databases, or you don’t.

It is possible to restore simply a subset of your data, such as your mailbox contents, and then either manually replace or merely relocate the files before mounting the databases. This means restoring just one mailbox database won’t work; instead, you’ll need to restore all of them. The recovered data can be dropped back into the original Exchange location or restored there. It’s a tough and drawn-out journey.

Drawback and Limitation of this method

  1. To reiterate, you cannot make copies of your mailbox’s brick-level backups.
  2. Cannot restore specific mailboxes or things
  3. Full server or custom volume backups are the main culprits in disc space consumption.
  4. You can’t recover a single database, and that’s a problem.
  5. It’s difficult to perform backups from a distance, and there isn’t a simple remote
  6. No mechanism for versioning backups

Method 2: Export Exchange Mailbox to PST Files

You may also backup Exchange Server mailbox data more permanently by managing PST files. With Exchange 2013, you must launch EAC, choose the mailbox you want to export, and then click the Export to PST file button. As unfortunate as it may be, there is no option to perform a comparable action on a collection of mailboxes; thus, this is as far as backing up can go with this method. However, PowerShell (Exchange 2010 and 2013) allows you to conduct mass operations on mailboxes, such as exporting mailbox data to PST files via the automatic execution of relevant commands or scripts. Using the -ContentFilter argument, you can specify which mailboxes are exported, how many things are exported, and how to filter out unnecessary messages.

Drawback and Limitation of this Method

  1. Due to limited brick-level mailbox backups
  2. You can’t see what you’re backing up or restoring unless you use the cumbersome Shell filtering tool.
  3. There is no way to preview PST files (only via Outlook)
  4. The fragility of the PST file format can lead to lost information.
  5. There is no way to organize your PST files

Key Takeaways

As you can see, Exchange provides a wide variety of useful capabilities, yet, there is little to boast about in terms of brick-level Exchange Server backup or granular recovery, let alone convenient backup administration, excessive disc space usage, or questionable file system reliability.

Recommended Approach to Backup Exchange Server Database

In large, distributed businesses where many users may accidentally delete important messages or attachments, granular backups and restorations have become essential tools for administrators. Exchange does not provide simple and straightforward options for working with data at different levels of granularity, such as restoring only specific emails or files without having to back up the entire inbox or integrating with Shell. However, help is at hand because third-party providers like Regain Software incorporate cutting-edge backup technology into their own applications and offer far more comprehensive solutions.

An Automated tool to Backup Exchange Server Mailbox Data

Since the software shares the same core capabilities as the aforementioned Exchange solutions, we’ll spare you the little talk like full backup, incremental features, and PST file archiving and instead play our aces.

You may create full, incremental, and differential backups of your Exchange server with the help of the Regain Exchange Server Backup program. You can back up just the data that matters to you, whether that’s a single database, a set of mailboxes, an individual mailbox, an email, or even an attachment, rather than having to back up the entire volume or mailbox database. Doing so can free up a lot of space on your hard drive.

Free Download100% Secure Buy NowPrice: $29

Similarly, previewing features can quickly discover and recover specific objects from full or continuous/incremental backups. The item versioning system allows you to view any previously saved iteration of an item or mailbox from any point in time. Seek’n’restore!

The program’s capabilities are quite flexible, and its intuitive graphical user interface makes it easy to access all the features and functions you’ll ever need.


Regarding the number of mailboxes that can be backed up and restored, solutions like Regain Exchange Server backup tool far surpass the Exchange’s built-in capabilities. With granular backup solutions, you may reduce the amount of space used for backups without negatively impacting system performance. However, it is up to you, dear administrators, to assess progress toward secure mailbox data and their management goals. In this situation, you must choose which options best meet your requirements while maintaining optimum system performance. Whether using an in-built Exchange feature or a third-party solution, you should prioritize the safety of your mailbox information to avoid future data recovery disasters and satisfy regulatory requirements.

Author: Nasir Khan

I am Nasir Khan from India, working as a Content Developer in Regain Software. Here I am writing about our products and their updates. And writing some free solutions from converting emails or Cloud Migration process. We have tools like Email Converter, Emails backup and Cloud migration.

One thought on “Exchange Server Database Backup – A Comprehensive Guide”

  1. Avatar Harold Walker says:

    Extremely helpful guide! As someone who has had to restore a database in the past, it’s invaluable to have a step-by-step guide like this to make sure everything is done correctly. Thanks for sharing!

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