Deleting old Mailboxes in Exchange 2003

Posted on 2004-04-28
Last Modified: 2010-08-05
I have 3 accounts that I deleted from Active Directory AND Exchange 2003 and my hard drive free space has not increased at all.  These 3 mailboxes were a total of about 2 gigs.  I went into Active Directoty, chose Delete and marked them for deletion.  I then went into Exchange System Manager, right clicked the mailboxes chosen for deletion and then purged them.  They are gone from Active Directory AND Exchange....but my hard drive free space didnt increase a single meg.  I am STARTING to get low on hard drive space and those 2 gigs would be nice to have back.  Please help!
Question by:harboramerican
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Expert Comment

ID: 10938610

you have to perform offline defragmentation to regain the hard disk space physically.

search for KB192185 in microsoft site
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Accepted Solution

ikm7176 earned 30 total points
ID: 10938648
have a look at this

If your Database has shut down after reaching the 16GB limit, and you are using Exchange 2000, you can obtain a fix from PSS to temporarily extend this limit or follow the steps below (part B followed by Part A).  If you have not shut down and want to reclaim free space in your database, this can be followed as well, just omit any parts that pertain to the database shutting down


PART A. Preliminary

To maximize the amount of free space you will reclaim, follow the steps below prior to the defragmentation:

 a. Set deleted items retention to 0. This can be found by going to the properties of the mailbox store and the Limits tab "Keep deleted items for"
 b. Have users delete old items, empty their deleted items and/or move items to a pst file
 c. A cycle of online maintenance needs to be run following these deletions. On the properties of your Mailbox Store on the Database tab, hit the Customize button on Maintenance Interval and set to always (extend the green bar all the way)
 d. When online maintenance has started (it may take 30 minutes to start) and finished you will see these informational events in your Application log in Event Viewer.

 Event ID: 700

 Source: ESE

 Type: Information

 Category: Online Defragmentation

 Description: MSExchangeIS (170) Online Defragmentation is beginning a full pass on database 'C:\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb'.

 The defrag may take several hours to complete and upon complete will log the following in the application log:

 Event ID: 701

 Source: ESE

 Type: Information

 Category: Online Defragmentation

 Description: MSExchangeIS (170) Online Defragmentation has completed a full pass on database 'C:\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb'.

 e. When this completes run an offline defragmentation to free up space in the database.


1. Run an offline defragmentation.  This will take run at about 2-5GB per hour, depending on hardware.  An offline defragmentation has certain disk space requirements.  You will need disk space equal to your database size plus and additional 10 percent. For example, if your database is 16GB, you will need an additional 16GB of space plus an additional 10 percent (1.6GB) to run.  For example if your database is 20GB you would need an additional 20GB of space for the temp database + 2GB or 10 percent.  

If disk space is at a premium, the temporary database created during the defrag can be redirected to a drive with more space or a network drive.  The following 3 Scenarios describe the different options.

Scenario A.

If you have the disk space requirements, to run an offline defragmentation, go to a command prompt and change to your Exchsrvr\bin folder.  The syntax would be

Eseutil /d <database path>

Eseutil /d “c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb”

Repeat the steps for the public database (pub1.edb file)

*****Note the priv1.stm and pub1.stm files do NOT need to be defragmented******

*Database path needs to be in quotes if located in “program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata” if path is exchsrvr\mdbdata the path does not need quotes.

Scenario B.

If because of disk space, you need to redirect the temp database to another drive on the same server use the syntax below. In this example, a folder created for the temp database on the F drive is called Defrag the syntax would be

Eseutil /d “c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb” /tF:\defrag\tempdfrg.edb


Scenario C.

To redirect the temp database to a mapped network drive the following syntax would be used


For example we mapped a drive Z to a folder called Defrag on a network share

Eseutil /d <path> /tz:\tempdfrg.edb

Eseutil /d c:\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb /tz:\tempdfrg.edb

***when redirecting the temp database to a network drive the defrag will take significantly longer*****


Expert Comment

ID: 10938671
Understand that when you delete a mailbox and purge it from Exchange, the space does not automatically get reclaimed like if you deleted a 2gb folder from your Filesystem.  Because Exchange is a database, once it grows, the size will not decrease unless you perform an offline compaction/defragmentation.  If you have to have the space back, then you will need to look at using the eseutil utility with the Mailbox Store dismounted (Offline).  Here is the Microsoft KB that explains how to use eseutil.  You need to keep in mind that in order to successfully use eseutil, you HAVE to have 110% of the size of the database in free space, otherwise it will fail as the disk will fill up.  The eseutil process copies the current database to a temporary database (and defrags during the copy), then once the defrag is complete, it replaces the old fragmented db with the new one.  There are some provisions in case you don't have the free space on your current server that you can run eseutil and specify another server as the location for the temp db, as well as provisions to copy the database yourself to another location and run eseutil from that other server.  Have a look at the article and post back if you need further help on using eseutil.;en-us;192185
running eseutil on a non-Exchange server:;EN-US;163627;EN-US;244525


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