ESEUTIL – Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Tool

Nimisha Ramesh | Modified: 2016-07-29T07:00:09+00:00 | Data Recovery, Technology|

ESEUTIL – Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Tool

Working with ESEUTIL tool calls for much precaution as any wrong step taken can destroy the entire database in one go. It is always suggested to get hands on experience on how to work with ESEUTIL before implementing the same on the main productive server. Like any solutions and tools ESEUTIL also have its own pros and cons- so even experts is confused to call it as a data saver or destroyer when the EDB file corruptions are addressed.

Here is a brief on how the different command lines for ESEUTIL help users, so that while working with them you will feel comfortable with the knowledge base.

  • Eseutil /p – To repair corrupted Exchange store database
  • Eseutil /cc – To troubleshoot error reported
  • Eseutil /k – To check damaged header
  • Eseutil /d – To Defrag EDB database
  • Eseutil /r – To work and repair Exchange 2003 log files

Exchange Server ESEUTIL – Tool to Troubleshoot Exchange’s Administrative Issues!

ESEUTIL Switches

Different Switches For Exchange Troubleshooting

Main functions of ESEUTIL application can be divided into 2 as: Defrag mailstore, Check status of EDB file and repair corrupt Priv.EDB files.  User can spell ESEUTIL in different ways as they think it is apt- It can be ESEutil, Eseutil or even eseutil will go. In functionality ESEUTIL resembles some of the Windows Active Directory troubleshooters and gives the message to work around Exchange’s Extensible Storage Engine as well. Just like any other command line meant of server troubleshooting, ESEUTIL also is under control of different switches, for e. g:  eseutil /k, /mh and /cc switches- which are responsible to replay the natural procedures within Exchange server like after re-run LOG after a scheduled backup etc.



Let Us Consider Each Switches of Exchange ESEUTIL For A Better Understanding!

Note: Always take proper backup of Exchange server before attempting ESEUTIL switches. Initiate the test run with any switches by following the path as: command prompt>> Exchsrvr\Bin folder. (Going through this path ensure you reach the destination without any error otherwise just because you are not executing the command from Exchsrvr\Bin folder, the error not recognized as an internal or external command” can be displayed as the \bin folder is not in the file ‘Path’.


Defrag Exchange 2003 database

Eseutil /d Switch: – Eseutil /d switch prompts the process to defrag Exchange 2003 database. This command line will help to shrink/compress the EDB files giving free disk space providing enough space for database management. By hearing the process of defragmentation don’t misunderstand it with Windows 2003 disk defragmenter, as Eseutil /d perform a special database compaction process unlike Windows Defragmenter.




ESEUTIL /r or /p: – ESEUTIL /r or /p switch helps in the EDB database repair function. It is normally considered as the only rescue point to repair a mailstore when it is damaged. Experts consider this switch as the most dangerous and most care needed switch from ESEUTIL, because on any interruption or error being reported while running this switch, the entire database will be left in an unusable state.

Repair EDB







ESEUTIL /mh – This switch is helpful to understand the current state of database. Simply, we can say that by running the ESEUTIL /mh switch it can be analyzed whether the last shutdown of database was dirty shutdown or clean shutdown. The peculiarity with this switch is that it is non-harmful to the mailstore database. So as a beginner anyone can check on this switch.

Note: One should be familiarized with the location of Exchange 2003 databases as \exchsrvr\mdbdata folder carries the priv1.edb file  etc, which can be tracked by typing the command from the exchsrvr\bin folder as: eseutil /mh “(drive where Exchange 2003 is installed)program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb”

Output can be either Clean Shutdown or Dirty Shutdown as shown in the figure.

Clean Shutdown Dirty Shutdown

From this report user can get many other database updates like: Current backup strategy, last backup strategy etc. Another useful update that user can get is the status of last run switch, like eseutil /p. The proportion of the repair count indicates the possibility of successful repair.

ESEUTIL /ml: Get the integrity check of LOG files done using this switch. It is similar to the ESEUTIL /mh switch.  Integrity Check of LOG files




ESEUTIL /mk – The easiest troubleshooting for the backup/restore issues is running this switch. This help to capture the information regarding the Checkpoint file. User can troubleshoot database backup and restore issues thus maintaining possible points to manage the troubles.Information about Checkpoint



ESEUTIL /k – The new switch introduced in Exchange to give a check for damaged headers. Integrity check of Exchange 2003’s information store is carried out using the switch. If an unexpected Windows 2003 server happens then this switch helps to troubleshoot Exchange 2003 database. Once it is done the check result can be analyzed but to repair and recover database run ESEUTIL /r or /p switch. Check Damaged Header




ESEUTIL /cc – This switch issue user with the step to replay current log, once they are done with the Exchange mailstore restore. The file restore.env carries the information regarding general and log sequence number and by issuing the command Eseutil /cc from the folder with Restore.env file the current log can be replayed.  Command is eseutil /cc path to restore.env. Replay Current LOG

Summary: – Working or implementing ESEUTIL tool calls for so much precautions and preparations from user side. Even though it is the inbuilt tool to restore and repair corrupted EDB database, it is suggested to get third party software like Exchange Recovery to repair EDB files to EDB, PST, EML or MSG format as it is safe and risk free.

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