Give me 2 minutes and I'll save you hours of Exchange troubleshooting !

Disclaimer: Guys if you happen to be suffering from “Event ID: 494” syndrom on your Microsoft Exchange Server do not attempt anything before reading this article, I might save you a lot of time.

It is always frustrating to me to receive a calls from customers telling me that their exchange database is refusing to mount and that they have tried everything, even restored from their last backup but nothing seems to work! Oh if only they’d call earlier

Symptoms: Typically a storage group will fail to mount and an error will be logged in the Application Log with an event id of 494. The error is the following

Event Type: Error
Event Source: ESE
Event Category: Logging/Recovery
Event ID: 494
Date: 1/10/2007
Time: 2:11:05 PM
User: N/A
Computer: MailServer
Information Store (3600) First Storage Group: Database recovery failed with error -1216 because it encountered references to a database, {DB_Path}, which is no longer present. The database was not brought to a Clean Shutdown state before it was removed (or possibly moved or renamed). The database engine will not permit recovery to complete for this instance until the missing database is re-instated. If the database is truly no longer available and no longer required, procedures for recovering from this error are available in the Microsoft Knowledge Base or by following the “more information” link at the bottom of this message.


No matter what you already know, no matter what you read DO NOT attempt, as a start,

  1. DO NOT Restore: You might need your backups but not yet
  2. DO NOT Recover/Defrag: Chances are that eseutil will exit with the same error
  3. DO NOT Check for integrity: It will take TOO much time if your database is big


These are simple steps to do that can be completed in a few minutes and, if you are lucky, all will be back to normal.

  1. Is the edb file really in the location pointed out in the event log ?
    • No: Put it there and retry
    • Yes: Continue to step 2
  2. Open your command prompt: Start -> Run -> cmd
  3. Stop the Microsoft Exchange Information Store service: net stop MSExchangeIS
  4. Go to the directory where you failing edb file is located
  5. Assuming exchange was installed in its default location and we’re having problems with priv1.edb run
    "c:\program files\exchsrvr\bin\eseutil" /mh priv1.edb >c:\log.txt
  6. Open c:\log.txt in notepad and search for “state
    • if it says “consistent” or “clean shutdown” then it is your lucky day go on to step 7
    • if it says anything else then stop reading this and look elsewhere
  7. OK so you are lucky after all now it gets just a little bit trickier
  8. In the folder containing your Microsoft Exchange EDB files create a sub folder called temp and move to it ALL FILES that are not .edb or .stm
  9. If your EDB files and log files are in the same location skip this step, if not in the folder containing your Microsoft Exchange log files create a new folder called temp and move ALL logfiles to it.
  10. Start Microsoft Exchange Information Store service net start MsExchangeIS
  11. If your store does not mount automatically mount it manually
  12. After you made sure that everything is running correctly you can safely delete both temp folders previously created

Total time of this operation 20 to 30 min maximum, time saved: Don’t ask !

I have been working in IT consultancy and solution integration since 1998 and I consider myself lucky to be, one in a few, making a living out of my passion. I am also member of the famous Experts Exchange (profile here) online community where I try my best to share what I have learned along the road.

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11 comments on “Give me 2 minutes and I'll save you hours of Exchange troubleshooting !
  1. Sunny says:

    I agree /mh saves a lot of time (atleast 10-12 hrs going through eseutil's and isinteg's)

  2. Buikje1 says:

    thanks from belgium.

  3. Reto says:

    thanks, saved the day!

  4. Salim says:

    Brilliant, thank you very much, the message seems to make no sense and I was stuck at your point 8,  scratching my head trying to work out what to do next, then I found your post
    Saved some more hair falling of my head !

  5. hakki jalal says:

    oh thank you very match, you saved me 😉

  6. bithead says:

    Sweet! I was already through step 6, and then I got the event 494 error. The MS docs on it assume that the message is accurate, but that wasn’t the case here — the edb it complained about was right there in plain sight! It was your steps 7 forward that I needed — THANKS!!!

  7. ken says:

    Awesome solution. Saved tons of hrs with this quick fix. once again thanks a million!!

  8. granpetate says:

    Thanks a lot, dude!!!! Saved lots of hours!

  9. d3krepit says:

    This gets rid of the log files so you might have issues with replication, circular logging, and backups.

    Don’t think that’s a very good plan.

    • no it won’t cause you any issue with circular logging (that already deletes the logs to start with)

      as far as backup is concerned just take a full backup after

  10. n00b says:

    Dude! You are my hero!

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