Exchange Mailbox sizes vs. edb file size after offline defrag

Posted on 2009-12-17
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I have a sticky situation.  I have a SBS 2003 SP2 Exchange SP2 database nearing the 75 GB limit.  I have lowered deletion settings, ran online maintenance, and an offline defrag.  About a week ago I archived about 40 GB of data out of users mailboxes and was sure the offline defrag would shrink the file size.  Well, it didn't....Please help.  I have preformed the defrag twice and it only frees a half a GB.  I know there is more space to free up!

I know I could always exmerge and recreate the store but I would like that to be a last ditch effort.  Before buying Enterprise that is.

Thanks for the advise.
Question by:absremote
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    Use the "/D" switch...

    When to Run Eseutil /D?
    There are several situations where it is appropriate to run Eseutil /D to defragment an Exchange database. The following includes a list of those situations:

    There is a significant amount of white space in the database that can be reclaimed and which will not be reused. An example can be when the number of mailboxes in the database has been significantly reduced.

    An event is repeatedly logged in the Application log advising you to defragment the database offline. This may occur rarely when typical online defragmentation is no longer able to efficiently defragment the database.

    When the 16 GB database size limit is reached on the Standard version of Exchange and white space must be reclaimed in order to mount the database. If you are running Exchange Server 2003, then Service Pack 2 (SP2) should be installed to raise the limit to 75 GB. For more information about increasing the database size limit, see Microsoft Knowledge Base article 828070, "Exchange Server 2003 mailbox store does not mount when the mailbox store database reaches the 16 GB limit" (
    LVL 7

    Expert Comment

    To obtain a closer estimate, you may stop the database and generate a detailed report on free space by typing the following at a command prompt: ESEUTIL.EXE /MS [database.edb] > FREESPACE.TXT
    LVL 74

    Accepted Solution

    Check for event ID 1221 in the event viewer this will tell you how much White space there us in the database.

    If this doesn't report anything then there is little point in running an offline defrag.

    On the properties of the mail store in Exchange System Manager set the deleted items retention period to 0 (zero) and then set the maintenance to run every 15 minutes then restart the Microsoft Exchange System Attendent service.

    Then check for event 1221 after about an hour there should ne a few if them.

    Let it run through for a few hours then the 1221 event should report your 40GB or close to.  Then you can run an offline defrag again by running ESEUTIL /d "full path to EDB file"

    make sure you have a copy of the EDB file before you do this.
    LVL 74

    Expert Comment

    by:Glen Knight
    Also just to say the 75GB limit is worked out by the following:

    Priv1.EDB size + Priv1.STM size - whitespace (reported in event 1221) = Logical size of the database.

    So for example the combination of your EDB & STM file could well be 75GB but if you have 40GB of whitespace your database is actually only 35GB in size.

    if you don't have any retention periods set then you will not create any whitespace.
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    So the actual size shown in Widows Explorer has nothing to do with the 75 GB limit?  edb + stm in explorer is greater than 75 GB.  

    edb = 74,629,128
    stm = 868,360

    event 1216 "The current physical size of this database is 71GB."  Which we know is edb +stm, that in my case is larger than the limit.

    Online Maintenance after esutil /D lastnight reports event 1221 32480 megabytes of free space after online defrag.  I think if I run esutil /d again it will show the correct size in explorer.

    Can someone clear my confusion here?
    LVL 1

    Author Closing Comment

    I had lowered the deletion retention to 1 day prior to posting this question.  Once online maintenance ran it showed my white space as it should be.  Thanks to everyone for your responses.

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