Migrated from eDJGroupInc.com. Author: Greg Buckles. Published: 2010-12-20 08:20:32Format, images and links may no longer function correctly. While conducting my discovery scenario testing on Exchange 2010, I found that Microsoft had made two steps forward along with what seems like several strange steps back. In the early days of corporate networks, personal computers and enterprise software, administration was reserved for wizardly geeks  who had mastered various esoteric command line languages. I recall the blessed feeling of relief when I stumbled through my first administrative GUI (Graphical User Interface). The admin GUI brought mastery of systems and applications into the realm of the merely mortal user. When evaluating software, I tend to view applications that force the user to learn command switches and syntax as immature. As a counterpoint, I acknowledge that the command line functionality is fantastic for an advanced user to run batch scripts or even automate functionality. When I first looked at Exchange 2010 SP1 Beta (only version available at the time), I was astounded to find that they had killed off ExMerge, the administrative utility used for years to import and export PST files from mailboxes.

Instead, Microsoft has introduced a new set of PowerShell based cmdlets to provide a wide range of functionality from an old fashioned command line called the Exchange Management Shell. I don’t know about you, but this feels to me like Microsoft is deliberately raising the bar for the prerequisite admin technical skills. With the steady migration of SMB (small-medium businesses) to the cloud (Microsoft Exchange Hosted Email Services, Google, Intermedia and a legion of others), it could be that Microsoft is starting to view on-premise Exchange servers as the providence of the large enterprise environment. Whatever the cause, Litigation Support has lost a favorite tool used to preserve or collect custodian mailboxes.

Exchange Command Shell

In the final SP1 version, Microsoft did provide an Import/Export function in the Exchange Management Console (GUI) that does not require a dedicated Exchange server with Outlook 2010 installed. The GUI function and the cmdlets apparently no longer rely on the Outlook DLL files. Jaap Wesselius at Simple-talk.com has a good article discussing the architectural changes and how to throttle back the PST import so that it does not overrun the server’s ability to ingest the email. This may be the root of the PST import errors that we experienced when attempting to ingest the EDRM Enron Data Set Ver. 1. We had consistent failures with the default configuration and were only able to import ~80% of the email. The import PST cmdlet (New-MailboxImportRequest) does add some ability to specify target folders, which is critical in light of how all the search results are dumped into the new Discovery Mailbox.

The bottom line is a heads up that Exchange 2010 comes with some big changes for administrators and Litigation Support personnel who must move email in or out of the server. If you deal directly or indirectly with email preservation and collections, you should take the time to see what they have added and what they have taken away (like single instance storage) before you create your discovery plan.

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