Exchange 5.5 SP4 Cannot seem to reduce the size of the PRIV.EDB file.

Posted on 2004-04-21
Last Modified: 2007-12-19
I have an Exchange 5.5 SP4 Standard running on a W2K Server box.  The PRIV.EDB is hovering right at the 16GB limit in physical size.  I have taken the email service down and performed an Offline defragmentation with ESEUTIL.EXE /d but I get next to no space back.  Even after deleting several email accounts and archiving almost a gigabyte of email from varoius users the PRIV file is still right at the 16GB mark.  The online maintenance is configured to run every other hour between 6PM and 6AM. The event logs show only 15MB of space reclaimed last night.  Also the online maintenance takes virtually no time to complete.  The event for the beginning the process and the end of the process come out with the same time. This doesn't seem right.  And I have seen quite a few articles here referring to the total mailbox resources being smaller than the size of the PRIV file, and have read the MS KB article.  But my mailbox resources add up to 23GB, 7GB larger than the 16GB allowable for the PRIV database.  I can't seem to find anything about that, does that seem normal?  We are going to upgrade to Exchange 2003, and I am getting some training, but that is a month off, the company would probably like to keep sending email for that period...:).  And if there is something wrong with the existing database I would like to not port those problems to a new installation.

Thanks for reading, any insights would be appreciated.

Question by:jrwoody6861
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Expert Comment

ID: 10883837
take a peek at this kb;en-us;192189&Product=ech
and this one;en-us;178931&Product=ech

also you need to have your users move the email to personal folders and then set limits....:)

Author Comment

ID: 10883897
Ahh mailbox limits...if only I were in charge!  I have had some of my heaviest users offload email to personal folders, probably a least a Gigs worth.  Sorry, the two KBs are not of help.  I waited well past 10 minutes to perform the Offline defrag as detailed in the first link.  A couple of days actually so I could bring the email down on the weekend.  The second link describes the opposite of the situation I am experiencing.  The total of my Mailbox resources is LARGER than the total size of the PRIV.EBD.


Expert Comment

ID: 10884035
The PRIV.EDB file will not reduce size physically on disk, however as you delete contents it will free up space inside the file for reuse. Look for Event ID 1221 in application log to see what is the available space in the file. From what you say, there should be plenty space and you should have no worries of the 16GB limit yet.

If you for some reason really need to reduce the physical file size, it can be done either with ESEUTIL or (i guess) with a proper backup/restore.

You mention that the total of your mailbox resources is larger than the total size of the PRIV.EDB. This reflects one of the nice features in Exchange - single instance storage. If an attachment is sent in a mail to a number of users, it is only stored once in the EDB, whereas it counts once for each mailbox if you add up mailbox sizes. this can amount to a huge saving, depending on the pattern of use in your organization.

Regards from Norway
Leif H.
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Accepted Solution

Cerebellum earned 500 total points
ID: 10884102
One thing i forgot to mention:

After deleting stuff from mailboxes, it may not immediately be deleted in PRIV.EDB. This depends on the retention time setting. This is set per server, but may also be set per mailbox. Look at General tab in properites for Private Information Store under your server(s), and change it it if you find it inappropriate.

leif H.

Author Comment

ID: 10889628

Thanks for the input.  The message about the single instance storage was helpful.  It helped point me at MS KB198673 which was informative.  I did know about the single instance storage feature, but not about the effects of time on its efficiency.  As for the retention time setting, everything is at 0. We don't retain anything(much like my memory...or bladder take your pick).  I will definitely slide some of the points your way when I close out the question.  


Expert Comment

ID: 10890431
Hmmmm - after rereading I come to think that maybe - if your free space in PRIV.EDB does not increase noticeably even though you reduce mailbox contents - this might be because the content dumped out of mailboxes also for a considerable part is represented in other mailboxes?

Leif H.

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