Outlook folder size not accurate. Help!

Posted on 2004-09-14
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
We run an exchange server here at work, all clients are XP pro and use Office 2003.

We just upgraded a user from windows 2000, to XP pro with office 2003.
I imported her old .pst file (containing LOCAL personal folders) from outlook 2000, into her new outlook 2003.

She is now getting messages from the exchange server saying "overlimit" etc.. It looks as if the exchange server is counting this .pst file towards her allocated limit?
I went to her PC and checked her total folder size. It said "total=167 meg."  However, it only showed 7meg being used when you added all the invididual folders up. That is what makes no sense.  Her inbox, sent, deleted, junk all only add up to 7meg total. Why is total size 167 meg?

So I "closed" the 2 personal folders that were added when I  imported the .pst file.
Size remained 167meg for her entire mailbox.  I then did a search for all .pst files  on her hard drive and deleted them. Still, the size of her mailbox remains 167meg.  

Is it showing 167 meg because of the initial import of her old .pst file?  How do I remedy this situation?   I know she does not have 167 meg of mail stored in the exchange server. I think me importing the old *.pst file is the cause of this.

Thanks in advance
Question by:dissolved
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions
  • 6
  • 3

Expert Comment

ID: 12059271
It looks like you simply imported this information into her Active Mailbox on the exchange server. If there are limits set on the server it triggered it. When you Right Click on Outlook Today icon and then click on properties, and then click on folder size, what does that say. What folder does it report 167MB. try this.

It will list all the folders and their approprieat size.


Lets start with that and then we'll move on.


Author Comment

ID: 12059302
folder size says 167mb. That was what I had done, right clicked the outlook today.  
Total size was 167meg. Below that number, it listed each folder individually. However, when you added them all up it didnt equal 167 meg. It equaled 7meg.

Expert Comment

ID: 12059452
OK. it sounds like you imported all the message to the "TOP of the information store" this means that they are in the actual "Outlook Today Folder" Folder. Go to Advanced find and search for anything in the Outlook today folder and check of the "Search subfolders" check box. Ensure you highlighted the outlook today folder. Everything you'll find can't be seen in outlook by itself. When you click on outlook today in outlook it displays tasks, calender stuff etc... it won't display the messages underneath. Best of luck.


If you need clearer instructions, let me know :)

Technology Partners: We Want Your Opinion!

We value your feedback.

Take our survey and automatically be enter to win anyone of the following:
Yeti Cooler, Amazon eGift Card, and Movie eGift Card!


Author Comment

ID: 12059600
Thanks.  I sifted through all of the folders and am sure none of them contain 600meg plus. It may be where you say it is.

How do I search the outlook today folder for things?? What is the file type I am looking for?

Will reinstalling outlook fix this?

Author Comment

ID: 12060081
anyone? This lady is going to kill me lol. She car-pools with my boss everyday.
LVL 13

Assisted Solution

mark-wa earned 100 total points
ID: 12060412
What you need to do is compact the .pst file to delete the items that are not shown in the .pst file but are taking up space.  To do this:

On the File menu, click Data File Management.
Click to select your Personal Folder, and then click Settings.
On the General tab, click Compact Now.
Click OK, and then click Close.

Basically, a .pst file is a database file that contains an index within the file that keeps track of the data.  When you delete something in outlook and then delete it from the deleted items folder, it tells the index to mark that item for deletion which tells Outlook not to display that item, but guess what?  It's still there.  It stays there until the index tells it to be overwritten with new data.  So, if you compact the .pst, it gets rid of all of the junk left over that hasn't been overwritten yet.

Hope this helps.


Author Comment

ID: 12060841
I will try that tomorrow mark, thanks

Author Comment

ID: 12061251
I do have another question though.
if you "import" pst files into someones outlook, it counts against their allowed size limit they can have per mailbox? (in an exchange server anyway). Is that correct?  That's what I was told anyway.  I was also told you have to use the database manager to add .pst files, this way it doesnt count against their over all size of the mailbox.

Accepted Solution

jaguarpriest earned 400 total points
ID: 12064355
Well there are 2 issues here. Maybe it's just a misconception. WHen they told you import they could have meant only Open the PST while using your Exchange Mailbox. Yes you can do this. Anything that is added into the mailbox on the exchange server counts as data. The exchange server doesn't care if it came from an email,  importing from PST or importing from any other source. If there is data that is added it counts against it. Now, Enterprise practice usualy has a set qouta for the mailbox and people are asked to use PST's for all that other extra archiving data that they need. A personal folder or PST is created and put on a file server share (for backup purposes) as their "HOME" drive. That "usershare" is mapped. A  user share is usually a lot bigger than and exchange mailbox share. A PST can be moved to this share and opened, NOT imported, in Outlook. \
best of luck


Author Comment

ID: 12065620
Found the problem.

User copied one of her personal folders, to the "outlook today" root. When you highlight the "outlook today", it displays all of the email. Deleted it, problem fixed.

Featured Post

Is Your AD Toolbox Looking More Like a Toybox?

Managing Active Directory can get complicated.  Often, the native tools for managing AD are just not up to the task.  The largest Active Directory installations in the world have relied on one tool to manage their day-to-day administration tasks: Hyena. Start your trial today.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

This article explains how to install and use the NTBackup utility that comes with Windows Server.
There are times when we need to generate a report on the inbox rules, where users have set up forwarding externally in their mailbox. In this article, I will be sharing a script I wrote to generate the report in CSV format.
To show how to create a transport rule in Exchange 2013. We show this process by using the Exchange Admin Center. Log into Exchange Admin Center.: First we need to log into the Exchange Admin Center. Navigate to the Mail Flow >> Rules tab.:  To cr…
In this Micro Video tutorial you will learn the basics about Database Availability Groups and How to configure one using a live Exchange Server Environment. The video tutorial explains the basics of the Exchange server Database Availability grou…
Suggested Courses
Course of the Month10 days, 17 hours left to enroll

632 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question