Server 2003 and Exchange 2010 Mailbox Backups: Known Incompatibilities.

Hi everybody,

Recently we’ve had a few cases raised through our helpdesk when attempting to backup individual mailboxes on Exchange 2010 remotely using the Server 2003/XP platform. While this is possible, there are also a few known scenarios where this will not work.

When you attempt to perform an Exchange mailbox backup, you receive the BA4320 error with additional details of:

The message store may be locked or password-protected * (E) Error: "The information store could not be opened."

The reason for this error in a Server 2003/Exchange 2010 scenario is due to a version of Exchange MAPI being installed that isn’t compatible with Exchange 2010. There are two common scenarios where certain components being installed include the older version of MAPI automatically:
– Exchange 2003 server
– Exchange 2003 management tools

It’s also possible (but not confirmed) that Outlook installed on a Server 2003/XP system may cause this error as well. It’s stated by Microsoft not to install Outlook on Exchange Server 2003 due to other issues as is mentioned on this MSDN blog.

Note: it’s highly recommended that you do not attempt to perform mailbox backups of Exchange 2010 within SBS2003 since Exchange 2003 MAPI is included automatically with that operating system.


To be able to perform a backup within this scenario, you’ll need to remove the incompatible version of Exchange MAPI from the Server 2003/XP system by completely uninstalling either component mentioned earlier. Once you’re confident Exchange MAPI is removed fully from the system, install the latest version (which is Exchange 2010 compatible) through BackupAssist. You can do this by clicking on the ‘Install Now’ button under the PST format options within your Exchange backup:

Install Exchange MAPI within BackupAssist

Other Implications

While backing up mailboxes is a valid form of Exchange backup, it’s not always the most convenient way to recover Exchange in some scenarios. PST files are great for recovering individual mail items which may have been accidentally deleted quickly and with minimal disruption to all users.
However if you need to do a complete recovery of Exchange, PST files can take a lot of time to gather and import (especially if you’ve got a lot of users) causing unnecessary downtime.

The best scenario for a full disaster recovery of Exchange is to also perform an Information Store backup as this contains everything from the Exchange server in one place and can be restored if the entire Exchange server is down. We recommend that if you have an Exchange server that you perform both an Information Store and PST backup, to cover all possible scenarios. The catch with this on Exchange 2010 is that BackupAssist needs to be installed locally backing up the Information Store as it needs local access to the Exchange VSS writer to perform an Information Store backup.

The best practice is to run both the Information Store and Exchange mailbox backups locally on the system Exchange 2010 is installed on, or from its Hyper-V host if Exchange 2010 is installed on a Hyper-V guest.

More resources on Exchange backups and restoration techniques can be located in our documentation, available from here.

If you have any question or require any further information, please get in touch with us at

The BackupAssist Team

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