exchange server reaching mailbox store limit

running small business server 2003 sp 2 with exchange.  Every morning I'm having to restart the exchange services because people are not being able to send/receive email and are disconnected in outlook as well as their OWA being down.  I'm receiving these logs when i restart the services.

Event Type:      Information
Event Source:      MSExchangeIS Public Store
Event Category:      General
Event ID:      1216
Date:            6/29/2009
Time:            9:17:20 AM
User:            N/A
Computer:      TCPDALLAS2
The Exchange store 'First Storage Group\Public Folder Store (TCPDALLAS2)' is limited to 18 GB. The current physical size of this database (the .edb file and the .stm file) is <1 GB. If the physical size of this database minus its logical free space exceeds the limit of 18 GB, the database will be dismounted on a regular basis.

For more information, click


Event Type:      Warning
Event Source:      MSExchangeIS Mailbox Store
Event Category:      General
Event ID:      9685
Date:            6/29/2009
Time:            9:17:21 AM
User:            N/A
Computer:      TCPDALLAS2
Exchange store 'First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (TCPDALLAS2)': The current physical size of this database (the .edb file and the .stm file) is 23 GB. This database has exceeded the size limit of 18 GB. However, the logical free space in this database has not yet been evaluated. Therefore, it is possible that this database contains enough free space to bring its logical size below the maximum size limit.

If the logical database size exceeds the maximum size limit, it will be dismounted on a regular basis.

For more information, click

I understand that there is an 18 GB size limit and that the message is saying that they have exceeded their limit and they are at 23 GBs.  I also know that you can increase the limit if you so choose to but I dont necessarily want to do that.   Last weekend I had instructed everyone that they will need to start cleaning out their email and by looking at the mailboxes in system manager, I can tell they cleaned a significant amount.  So what I dont understand is why the event log is still reporting 23 GBs.  Do I need to do something with the database since everyone has cleaned up a lot of email?

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Exchange does a pretty poor job as far as database management goes. You may want to run eseutil /d on the database to clean up all the white space left behind after the cleanup.
You can need to force online maintenance/defrag to run to remove the whitespaces
Read the article below for more info
You can also run an offline defrag of the database using the eseutil /d "path of the edb file" However this would require downtime
Why don't you want to increase the limit?
You can go up to 75gb.

An offline defrag is a waste of time and is not risk free. Considering the size of store I would simply increase the store.

The Exchange database works in a special way.
After a user has deleted something, it isn't removed immediately. There is a feature called deleted item retention in the database which will store the email. It is only after that period has expired that the content will be removed. After that Exchange will mark it as white space. Only at that point will the database size reported by the event log entry reduce.


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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
For now I would increase the limit a little as the Exchange store will keep dismouting until the size decreases.
You can increase it to keep it working to say 25Gb, then decrease it once the store has reduced in size back to 18Gb or so.  The link to change the size is:
Bear in mind that the store will by default retain the deleted items for 30 days unless you turn off the Store retention, so ever if people clean up, you may have to wait for 30 days before any space is reclaimable by a defrag.
lindsey_arwineAuthor Commented:
I will increase the size of the database and then just wait for the items to be deleted after they have met retention.  Thanks for your help
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