How can I recover disk space from my Exchange 2003 mail store

I am down to 2 gigs of free space and need to remove some mailboxes. I have copied the mailboxes I want to remove to pst and am ready to recover. Below is what I have tried so far to get space back.
Deleted mailbox , purged mailbox, set all retention settings on mailstore to 0, run mailbox management process.
None of the above worked. I have not recovered any space and I tried to remove 10 gigs worth of mail. Please help
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bluntTonyHead of ICTCommented:
Removing data from the Exchange database will not reduce it's physical size (space on the disk) immediately.
In order to compact the database down you would need to perform an offline defrag of the database using eseutil. You will need to dismount the database(s) in question and perform this task.
Have a look at this to see how to do this :
VoyagerHealthCareAuthor Commented:
Hi, it looks like I will not be able to do this if I am reading it correctly. I will need at least as much free space as the mailstore is at now, or I would need to add a physical disk for the rebuild or temp file.
bluntTonyHead of ICTCommented:
Yes, unfortunately the process does defragment the file to a temporary location, then replaces the original DB with the defragmented temp file. This is the mechanics of ESE, the type of DB that Exchange uses.
You can use the /t switch to nominated another location for the temp file, so you can place it on another drive if you haven't got space on the drive the DB resides on. This could even be a USB drive you could temporarily attach for this purpose. Theoretically you may be able to place the temp DB on a network location by mapping a drive letter and using this. However, this is bound to have a hit on performance and I have to say I haven't tried this.
If you are wary about this process you can turn off instating with the /p switch so that the original DB isn't immediately replaced with the temp file, leaving you to do this manually when you're happy.

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VoyagerHealthCareAuthor Commented:
Ok, thanks Tony. I know what I need to do now. The moral of this story is to only allow your mailstore to get to half the size of available disk space.  Thank you and here is your points.
VoyagerHealthCareAuthor Commented:
Thanks again
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