Run ESEUTIL while Exchange is running

I am running my ESEUTIL function offline on another server because my Exchange server does not have the prerequisite 110% percent available.  (see my thread:

I was curious to see if I could do this:

1) dismount the store
2) copy the files over to the other server
3) run eseutil on the other server
4) mount the store
5) wait until eseutil is finished
6) dismount the store
7) move the newly defraged files from the other server back to the Exchange server
8) mount the store

If this is not a good thing to do, please set me in my place.  It may take a couple hours for eseutil to do its thing and I'd like to have Exchange available during this time.
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You can't do this because the data is changing constantly.
Any email that has been delivered to the server while you are working on the copy of the database will be lost, because you are putting an old version of the database back.

You MUST stop Exchange, then leave Exchange stopped while the process is running.

However, I have one question that I ask everyone who asks about doing an offline defrag.

Do you REALLY need to do it?

I do offline defrags in two circumstances only.
1. The server is Exchange 5.5 or 2000 STANDARD and has hit the 16gb limit.
2. I am going to gain over 50% of the space back AND there is no realistic possibility of the database ever going back to that sort of size within the lifetime of that server.

Any other reasons just are not worth the downtime and the hassle. Offline defrag is NOT a regular maintenance task and anyone who says otherwise is wrong.

I agree with what Sembee said.
I have one other thing to add in anticipation of your next question:
You will not be able to play any transaction logfiles into the defraged database that were created on the original server during the time you were running the defrag.
I hope that made sense. lol
When you run a defrag of an Exchange database, the database gets a new database signature. Since all logfiles are imbedded with a database signature you will not be able to replay any logs from the original database. This is why Microsoft strongly suggests that you make a full ONLINE backup after running a defrag.

Another possible solution is to add another Exchange server to your organization.
Then move the mailboxes to this new server. You can take your time to move all the mailboxes.
After all the mailboxes are moved you can either remove Exchange from the original server (there are specific steps to do this)


unmount the mailbox store on the original server and delete the PRIV.EDB.
Then mount the store again to get a new PRIV1.EDB.
Move the mailboxes back to the original server.
Remove the new server from the Exchange organization.

As Sembee asked, do you really need to do this?

Just my 2 cents worth.
mcnuttlawAuthor Commented:
I am running Exchange 2000 and both the priv1.edb and priv1.stm added together total 16.4 gig.  I monitor the event 1221 to see how much space the dbs have and it ranges between 500-800 meg on a daily basis.  Also, the users experience the waiting dialog whenever accessing emails with large attachments.

I did a test defrag on the other server and it reduces the size by 10%.

But to address Sembee's first question, I am running 2000 and it has indeed reached its 16 gig limit less the available space stated in event 1221.   I have targeted the high usage users who are using 2 gig in their accounts (we don't impose limits) and will get them to reduce their storage.

So with all this in mind, is an offline defrag in order here?
To be honest, I think you should really consider upgrading to Exchange 2003 Standard. With Exchange 2003 SP2 you can have up a 75 GB mailstore.

Once again just my opinion.
If you are on Exchange 2000 standard, then you really must impose limits. You don't have much choice. If you have two users with 2gb mailboxes then that means those two users have a quarter of the mailbox store alone. That should be pretty easy to sell limits to the management.

As you have hit the 16gb limit, you will continue to bang your head against the limit until you do something like move to Exchange 2003 Standard SP2. Offline defrags will only ever provide short term fixes, especially if you are only going to gain 800mb of space.

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