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Microsoft Exchange Mailbox Management on an SBS 2003 Server

What are the current 'best practices' to maintain a Microsoft Exchange 2003 server, as part of SBS 2003.

The mailbox store is now increasing towards the 75GB limit and running the exchange task wizard to remove older users seems to have little impact on the database size. Is there a deeper process that can be run to actually reduce the exchange database size and also permanently delete old users.

Often even when a user is removed, Exchange still seems to remember that their email address is in use within the organisation and cannot be re-used.

What is therefore the best route forward to effectively manage the Exchange Information Store and help reduce the size, apart from enforcing mailbox size limits?  
6 Solutions
Even if you delete stuff from exchange, by default its kept for 30 days - or until you do an exchange backup - whichever is the longer.

Also the physical database size won't change unless you do an offline compaction http://support.microsoft.com/kb/328804
the size will never reduce when you delete things. The only way to make the file shrink is to do an offline defrag. Basically when you delete an email, it removes it from the DB and assigns the space within the as blank. Therefor, if you have a 70GB database and delete 20GB of mail, the size will still be 70GB, you will still have to backup 70GB but there will be 20GB of "white Space" in the db which is where new mail will go and the DB will not grow again untill all 20GB is used.
To run an offline defrag requires you to dismount the store and run a defrag against it. See here for full info.
You can change the default of "keep deleted item for 30 days" by going into the general properties of the database and changing it.
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An offline defrag is a waste of time on Exchange 2003 Sp2 anyway. The limit of 75gb is logical, not physical. All the time you have less than 75gb of data in the store you will be fine.

The size limit is the physical size MINUS the white space, which is shown in event ID 1221 each night.

So if you had a physical store of 80gb and 10gb of white space, then you have a 70gb store which is ok on the limit.

it may not be a waste of time if the reason for wanting to cut out the white space and therefor shrink it is because of disk space issues.
Also, i've just done some remedial work for a client that had 1 DB of 400gb. After some too-ing and fro-ing we decided on 4xDBs of 100GB. Obviously in this instance i wanted to run an offline defrag to chop 300GB out and free up the disks as well ease the backups and restore.
itcroydonAuthor Commented:
OK, so I am correct in assuming the following:

1) The Exchange 'on-line defrag' runs automatically by default and therefore does not need to be run manually to re-claim the 'Exchange whitespace'.

2) If the Exchange total data storage shows perhaps 65GB, that the 'whitespace' created by deleting mailboxes via the exchange tasks wizard etc., means that this is actually subtracted from this figure. i.e. 65GB - 10GB whitespace = 55GB used = 20GB still available.

3) The actual physical hard disk space cannot be reclaimed unless an 'offline defragmentation' is run.

Lastly does the offline defragmentation need to be run in order to re-create a previously deleted email address? It seems strange that when an email address is deleted, that Exchange does not allow this to be re-used again by default!?
The database has nothing to do with the email addresses.
If you have removed an email address from an account then you may not be able to re-use it immediately, because the domain has to catch up, but you should be able to re-use it a later point.

Otherwise everything else is correct.


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