EseUtil or Stellar Repair: Which Exchange disaster-recovery tool is better?

In this article, we’ll provide a comparison between two tools that can make your life easier as an Exchange admin. The tools are Microsoft’s own Exchange Server Database Utility — better known as EseUtil — and the third-party Stellar Repair for Exchange. You can use these tools when disaster strikes, Exchange Server is unavailable, or the databases won’t mount. In addition, we will be going through the pros and cons of both tools so that it is easy for you to find the best one for your Exchange needs.

We often tend to work out the best solution for the problems we encounter in our Exchange Server infrastructure. Most of the time, we rely only on native tools such as EseUtil. However, we sometimes fail to recognize the role of third-party applications such as Stellar Repair for Exchange in easily resolving big as well as small problems in our Exchange Server.

So, without further delay, let’s compare EseUtil and Stellar Repair for Exchange and see which application can resolve problems in the Exchange Server in the least painful and easy way possible.

Let us start by comparing the two contenders with their pros and cons.

Offerings EseUtil Stellar Repair for Exchange
Graphical Interface No Yes
Can open any version of Exchange Database Yes, depending on the installation Yes
Can repair a corrupted database Not fully Yes
Can extract data from a mailbox database No Yes
Can import to a healthy mailbox database No Yes
Recovery time from disaster Very high Low
Chances of data loss Yes No
Cost-effectiveness in admin effort No Yes
Can recover databases from an offline Exchange Server No Yes

Application interface and use

EseUtil is a command-line based application in the Exchange Server environment. It can be executed from the Exchange Server.

EseUtil and Stellar Repair

Stellar Repair for Exchange can be installed on the Exchange Server itself or another machine running Windows 10 or Exchange Server operating system. It has an intuitive and easy-to-use graphical user interface (GUI), with all the features needed in one screen.

EseUtil and Stellar Repair

Recovery features/process

EseUtil works well in case of minor damage with the database. You can start with performing a soft recovery. But if the soft recovery does not work and the database will not mount, you will end up trying the hard recovery, which will lead to data loss. After hard recovery, you will get no support from Microsoft if you face any problems. And EseUtil can recover only one database at a time. Also, you must have enough space available, about the same size of the database, as the hard recovery will generate another file. Sometimes, depending on the damage, the application can recover the database, but it results in data loss as it crops out the damaged items. In such a case, when you do not know what’s damaged, you might end up with a lot of lost data. In addition, it is not guaranteed that your database will be fixed. You could end up with a database, which is still in Dirty Shutdown state.

Stellar Repair for Exchange can repair corrupted exchange mailbox databases without any data loss. And it can repair multiple mailbox databases at once.

Backward compatibility

Unfortunately, EseUtil does not have backward compatibility as you would need the Exchange Server to be live to run it against the EDB files.

Stellar Repair for Exchange is fully compatible and capable of extracting data from offline files and from any location. If you restore from a backup or have the EDB file created in any Exchange version being 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, or 2019, you will be able to open the files with no issues.

Data extraction

In this area, EseUtil is not the right tool as it can only check the status of the database and perform a recovery process. Natively, this is only possible by using the PowerShell cmdlet New-MailboxExportRequest or Exchange Admin Center (EAC) from Exchange Server 2013 and older. It is to be noted that to extract the mailboxes to PST, the database must be mounted, or else there is nothing much you can do.

Stellar Repair for Exchange can export from any healthy or damaged EDB file to PST, EML, MSG, RTF, and PDF. It can also granularly export from the database with selected mailboxes only or the entire EDB file while keeping the original folder structure intact. It can export all the mailbox items such as calendars, contacts, tasks, and journals.

Filtering options on export

EseUtil lacks the filtering options. If you use other native tools such as PowerShell New-MailboxExportRequest, you have filtering options, although they are a bit limited. The export request includes inclusion and exclusion of folders and data from and to (see the example below). This command is to be used on one mailbox at a time. However, with some scripting, you can do it for all the mailboxes. You cannot extract specific things, like excluding the calendar or contacts. This requires some skill in scripting all the exclusions and inclusions with the date ranges.

EseUtil and Stellar Repair

Though PowerShell and EAC are not related to EseUtil, it’s worth mentioning them as they are native tools.

In Stellar Repair for Exchange, you have a large amount of filtering and export options. You have inline searches and criteria to export. You can export the mailbox only by excluding calendar, contact, tasks, journal, and notes. You can also perform an eDiscovery search on mailboxes, folders, and items for emails, based on different search criteria such as to, from, subject, cc, attachment name, body, item type, importance, date, and more.

Other considerations

With Stellar Repair for Exchange, you can export an EDB file directly to a live Exchange Server with the matching mailboxes or create the mailboxes. You can also export an EDB directly to a Microsoft Office 365 tenant.

EseUtil or Stellar Repair: Which application should you choose?

You will definitely choose the application that decreases the downtime to a minimum, is easy-to-use, offers filtering options, has a simple recovery process, reduces administrative and resources effort, is reliable, works all the time, and has added benefits.

Stellar Repair for Exchange offers all of the above and will surely make an Exchange admin’s life easier and get the services up and running in no time.

Featured image: Shutterstock

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