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Exchange server mailbox cleanup agent (how can you remove tombstoned emails?)

Posted on 2004-10-07
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Hi,

We are having a little problem with Exchange Server 2000 on Windows Server 2000 where the sotre is nearing the 16GB limit. We have got all users to delete all unwanted emails, and even copied some to PST files. We then set a mailbox limit to 100mb per person. If you go through the list of mailboxes, and add everyone up, it comes to around 10GB, however, the size of the priv.edb is still nearing 16GB. We have also run both an online and offline defrag on the store, but it is still near 16GB. Do we have to run the cleanup agent to remove the emails yet again? If so, can this be one in working hours? Also, if we run the cleanup agent on the mailboxes, will we then have to do another offline defrag?

Thanks a lot,
Dan
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Question by:DClayden
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by:Dhope
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I've had the exact same problem (yesterday infact)

Details of my question are at
http://www.experts-exchange.com/Networking/Email_Groupware/Exchange_Server/Q_21158094.html

The thing that made the real difference for me was setting the deleted items retention period to 0 and allowing time for an online defrag (about 4 hours) before running the offline defrag.  This was because like you, I'd done a lot of work deleting and archiving mail, but Exchange was still keeping everything for 10 days, so my offline defrag didn't do anything first time around.

If you follow all the steps here
http://www.tek-tips.com/faqs.cfm?fid=3841

Before running the offline defrag look for event ID 1221 in you application log (after the online defrag is complete) and it will indicate roughly how much space is expected to be freed after an offline defrag.

You can also add a registry key to temporarily allow Exchange to run with more than 16GB - details at
http://support.microsoft.com/?id=828070

You will probably need to do an offline defrag to lower the EDB size, but you will at least be in a better position to know what to expect having gone through the steps above.  The other option is to upgrade to the Exchange Enterprise which removes the 16GB limit.

Good luck with it
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by:ikm7176
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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 informational events in your Application log in Event Viewer.

http://www.tek-tips.com/faqs.cfm?fid=3841

http://blogs.msdn.com/exchange/archive/2004/07/08/177574.aspx
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by:DClayden
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The event 1221 only shows 2mb of space will be freed. We done both the online and offline defrag, and still no luck. Is it the mailbox cleanup agent that we need to run? If so, can this be done it working hours?

Thanks,
Dan
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by:Dhope
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The retention period is likely to be key

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"
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by:Dhope
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You may also need to leave time for another online defrag and examine event 1221 once that is complete.

The process may take a few hours.  I changed the retention periods and had to wait 3 hours for the online defrag to complete, then I was able to run the offline after that.
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by:DClayden
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This was already set to 0. I am thinking the mailbox cleanup agent is the key?
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ikm7176 earned 500 total points
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Cleanup agent will mark all the deleted mailboxes. it will not delete the messages. It will facilitate to delete the mailboxes before the retention period is expired.

You can run the cleanup agent. The cleanup agent will mark all the deleted mailboxes. You can then purge all the marked mailboxes to delete all the mailboxe.
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by:DClayden
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I don't want to actually delete anyones mailbox, it's just we have deleted all email, set retension period to 0, ran an online and offline defrag, and the priv.edb is still not getting any smaller. Will this do the job then?
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