Recovering corrupt Entourage databases has always been challenging.

In the past, when a rebuild of the database using Microsoft’s Database Utility failed, Techcare has had limited luck extracting emails from the damaged database using Emailchemy.  This approach was hit or miss though, as Emailchemy is an email migration utility, not a recovery utility.  In the distant past Techcare also used EntourAid, which was a recovery utility, but it hasn’t been updated since 2002 and isn’t compatible with current versions of OS X or Entourage.

Stellar Data Recovery has recently stepped up to fill this void, and in Q2 2010 they released a utility named Stellar Phoenix Entourage Repair.  This utility adds to Stellar’s already long list of data recovery software offerings, spanning from traditional cross platform data recovery to database specific recovery (Access, SQL, MySQL, Oracle…).

I had the opportunity to put Stellar Phoenix Entourage Repair to the test at a client last week with a corrupt 17GB Entourage database, and overall had a positive experience.  As with most v1.x software, the interface is a little confusing, and the documentation is severly lacking.  It did however successfully recovery all email and contacts, including attachments and folder structures.

Stellar Phoenix Entourage Repair runs in demo mode until registered, which allows you to preview what can be recovered after selecting the damaged Entourage datbase (single user license = $149).   Although it would appear that you can specifically select what you want to recovery from the preview list, when you perform the recovery THE ENTIRE DATABASE is recovered to an RGE file.  This RGE file then can be imported in Entourage by doing a File->Import, selecting the option to import “Entourage information from an archive or earlier version”, then selecting the option for “Entourage archive (.rge)”.  The RGE file is imported into one folder, containing all the subfolders which can then be manually moved to their desired location.  When importing you are also prompted if you want to replace contacts and events if duplicates are found.

Because Stellar Phoenix Entourage Repair only recovers corrupt Entourage databases, and doesn’t actually repair them, prior to doing the import you’ll need to get Entourage in a functional state.  This process isn’t documented, but what I did at this client was remove the damaged Entourage database from the Main Identity folder, launch Entourage to bring it back to it’s virgin state, then setup the Exchange account and wait for it to sync everything with the Exchange server.  At this point I imported the recovered RGE file, then moved the subfolders to “Folders On My Computer”.  The recovered RGE file will also contain duplicates of the Exchange data, which can be deleted after verifying the Exchange account sync was successful.  Of course after resetting Entourage, importing the recovered RGE file and moving things around, it is a good idea to rebuild the database using Microsoft’s Database Utility.