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Exchange Mailbox much larger than reported by Outlook

Last Modified: 2008-07-19
I have a user that has an exchange mailbox that is almost 2 gigs in size on the server.
However, when the user goes to Tools -> Mailbox Cleanup -> View Mailbox Size (In outlook)
Both the local and server sizes reported are under 200MG.
Why is this? How can I clean up the mailbox?

Outlook 2003 (Office)
Exchange 2003
Windows 2003 server
Windows XP Pro workstation
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Lead Systems Engineer
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Where do I change the mailbox cleanup process and deleted item retention time?


Also, Recover Deleted Items is grayed out.


Deleted items are kept for 7 days.
Deleted mailboxes are kept for 0 days
Do not permanently delete mailbox until the store has been successfully backed up is disabled.

Any other ideas as the huge difference in size?
Usually PST files that large have become corrupt and the 'bloat' is whitespace in the PST datastructure.

I would run scanpst.exe against that PST first to determine it's stability.

I don't remember the location of scanpst for all flavors but you can find by searching for it.


But PSTs are not suppose to stored in the exchange store (so it shouldn't show up under the user's mailbox in exchange system manager)
William MichaelisLead Systems Engineer

It has nothing to do with PSTs.

phlatline, take a look at this article: http://searchexchange.techtarget.com/tip/0,289483,sid43_gci1243231,00.html
sorry completely skipped over the Exchange part.

Still the same rules would apply but on a grander scale.
What worries me is that there are limits on the size of the box(200MB) and yet the box is 2GB. There has to be some corruption in there somewhere.

Have you run eseutil on the entire mailbox store?

I had a user who tried running her own 'email blast' from ACT! with a 5MB attachment to about 3000 people. Needless to say the exchange server ground to a halt when her box reached quota, didn't and even after i got it all cleaned up and the mail server working again, her inbox was  ~2GB... I ended up just exporting her OST/PST from Outlook. then deleting her mailbox recreating and reimporting.


The box is a little shy of 2GB, so the user got an email notice that he is almost out of space.


Sorry, I also bumped up the mailbox limit to the max (a little over 2 gig)
William MichaelisLead Systems Engineer

michaelaknight, at no point does he say there is a limit on the account - he said that Outlook reports that it is just under 200MB.

I don't think there is a corruption issue with the store, and taking it offline to scan it isn't going to solve the problem. As I mentioned, I think it could be his deleted item retention policy, or the Mailbox cleanup process not running.


"I think it could be his deleted item retention policy, or the Mailbox cleanup process not running."

Where do I find the mailbox cleanup process? And can I run it manually?
William MichaelisLead Systems Engineer

You can. Right click on the message store that the mailbox is in, and it should be one of the options.


this seems bad
Started Processing mailboxes at 2008-07-18 12:01:26

The Microsoft Exchange Server Mailbox Manager has completed processing mailboxes
Started at:    2008-07-18 12:01:26
Completed at:    2008-07-18 12:01:26
Mailboxes processed:    0
Messages moved:    0
Size of moved messages:    0.00 KB
Deleted messages:    0
Size of deleted messages:    0.00 KB
Why would it not process any mailboxes?
It was set to run every Saturday at midnight, but the not emailing me reports, so I don't know if it has been running correctly in the past or not.
William MichaelisLead Systems Engineer

This leads me to believe that there is no deleted item retention period specified for your users.

Take a look at the properties for the mailbox store the user is in. On the Limits tab, at the bottom, should be deletion settings - what are they set to?


Use mailbox store defaults.

So Mailboxes processed:    0 just mean 0 mailboxes had files that needed to be deleted (or mailboxes themselves that needed to be deleted)? It should not show my total number of mailboxes?
William MichaelisLead Systems Engineer

That is correct. Basically, what it said was there was nothing to do, so it didn't do it.


Thanks, you've been a huge help.

Turns out, the user misreported what outlook told him (isn't that always the case)

Thanks for helping with my other questions
if a user reports that "Exchange Mailbox much larger than reported by Outlook" and that there is a size mismatch "mailbox that is almost 2 gigs in size on the server" but "View Mailbox Size (In outlook)
Both the local and server sizes reported are under 200MG"  I would lean toward a corrption problem....
As it turns out...someone left off a 0 - so it was just a corrupt user :)
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