Deleted about 20 GB of email from Exchange 2003, no reduction in drive size

Greetings,

I deleted over 20 GB of users emails but the Exchange drive did not decrease in size. I ran an info store backup and also imaged the server just after, but that did nothing. I have deleted email retention set to 3 days and it has been about 5 days since the email deletion. Running Exchange 2003 on Server 2003. Any suggestions much appreciated.
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king daddyAsked:
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Premkumar YogeswaranSr. Analyst - System AdministratorCommented:
Have you deleted the logs...!

When you take the last backup..! the logs could be deleted on taking the backup..

So it could reduce the database size.
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Glen KnightCommented:
You won't see a reduction in the size of the database unless you run an offline defrag.

I would recommend you have a read of my article here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/Software/Server_Software/Email_Servers/Exchange/Exchange-Offline-Defrag.html

If you find the article useful please vote for it :)
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Deleting mail from the mailstore won't reduce the size if the database as the database will have a default retention period set on it and once the retention period has passed, the space that was used by deleted emails, becomes "White Space" which will get reused by Exchange next time it needs to write to the store.

So, this is why Exchange stores never reduce in size.

To reclaim space, delete messages, set the retention period to zero and then run an offline defrag of the store using eseutil /d.
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SnowWolfCommented:
You need to defrag the database offline.

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/192185
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
First, thank y'all for the quick responses.

premglitz - I have not deleted the logs. Also, thanks for the links.

demazter - easily, got the vote

alanhardisty - thanks for the info.

SnowWolf - Thanks for the link.

Now, my 1221's from this morning show that I should have about 43 GB of free space distributed over 2 storage groups and 4 databases. That's a lot more than I thought. However, my Exchange drive is down to about 10 GB out of the 300 GB total size. I can reclaim 21 GB from one of my databases, but of course this is the paralegals database and will be heavily used over this upcoming weekend, and for the foreseeable future. The current database size is about 78 GB. Based on demazter's article, that could take it down for a day. Also, I need to find some space around here to use for the 110% defrag requirement. That'd likely be on either an external 1 TB USB drive or maybe on a network share where I have about 400 GB of space. Any issues with using either of those for the defrag? Any other suggestions that won't require taking it offline? Thanks again for the help with this.
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Glen KnightCommented:
Well in that case, create a new mailbox store, move the mailboxes to it and there you go.
No downtime, defragged mail store, no chance of dataloss.

As explained in my article :D
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
demazter - I did see that but I don't have the space to do so as I only have 10 GB free and can't create a new store and move 77 GB (well, about 57 GB taking into account the free space). This machine is virtual so I may have to delete some other virtual things and use that space for this drive. I am guessing that moving to a new store would be much quicker than the offline defrag, correct? Thanks again.
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Glen KnightCommented:
>>I am guessing that moving to a new store would be much quicker than the offline defrag, correct?
Yes, and safer and no downtime for your users

hmmm, can you move all mailboxes out of one store in to the other stores?  Exchange will use the space in the store before it increases the size.  Thus enabling you to delete one store, to create a new one.

does that make sense?
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
>> does that make sense?

only somewhat. if I move them to other stores, and delete the original store, won't the original store be empty at that point? couldn't I just leave that original store, now empty, and move the mailboxes right back but now with a smaller size? if that is the case, could I just move the few mailboxes that deleted the largest emails and move them back, thus reducing the size of the mailbox due to the move(s)? it was only about 10 mailboxes that were ridiculous.
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Glen KnightCommented:
>>won't the original store be empty at that point?
Yes it would be empty but the file size will still be the same.  The ONLY way to reduce the size of the mailstore file is an offline defrag.
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
>> The ONLY way to reduce the size of the mailstore file is an offline defrag.

or creating a new store, moving the mailboxes then deleting the old store, correct? based on your previous post
 >> "Well in that case, create a new mailbox store, move the mailboxes to it and there you go. No downtime, defragged mail store, no chance of dataloss."
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Glen KnightCommented:
Yes, but that's not reducing the file size is it :) That's deleting the file and creating a new one :)
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
Hilarious!
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Glen KnightCommented:
Sorry, no joke intended.

I was just trying to explain the situation without it sounding like I was patronising you.  Hence the smiley faces.
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
it was funny to me because I am somewhat sarcastic at times (in a funny way) and you are correct, that is definitely 2 different things. didn't think you were patronizing at all.

Thanks for your help. Since it is not at all feasible to take down a store for a day right now, I will have to create a new store and do the move and delete. could you explain this a little further, not sure I fully get it >> "Exchange will use the space in the store before it increases the size.  Thus enabling you to delete one store, to create a new one."
does this mean that I can do this with only about 10 GB left on the drive because I am not increasing mailbox size, just moving around so-to-speak? or is that not correct?

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Glen KnightCommented:
OK, check Event 1221 in your mailstores
You said you have 4 of them?
How much free space do they all have (reported by Event 1221)?

Try and move the mailboxes out of one store in to the other 3 if possible.  When you move a mailbox to a store that has free space in it the free space will beused before it makes the database bigger.
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Glen KnightCommented:
The important is to create 1 store that can be completely deleted.

Then you create a new one, move the mailboxes from your smallest store in to that one and delete the now empty store.

And so on until all mailboxes have been moved to NEW stores.  They will now be fully defragmented, error free and you will have more disk space.
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
gotcha, I will check that out and post back later
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
demazter - I am going to have to do the move to another store method. Can you explain one more thing? I don't follow "The important thing is to create 1 store that can be completely deleted." I thought I should just move the mailboxes to a new store I create then delete the store I moved them out of after they're all moved.

Thanks again for working with me on this.
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Glen KnightCommented:
OK, if you are low on disk space then creating a new store is not going to help you because you will increase the storage requirements.  This is why I said move the mailboxes out of 1 store into the other stores that have "free space" in them.

This will allow you to delete the now empty store (which will still be quite large) create a new empty store and move the mailboxes that are in one of the other stores to this one.  Do the smallest store first otherwise you will have disk space problems.

once you have moved the mailboxes out of one of the stores into the NEW store you can delete the old one, again gaining more space? And just keep doing this until all your mailboxes have been moved in to new stores, and the old stores deleted.

Hmmmm. let me try another method of explaining it.

You have 4 stores
The Physical Sizes of the stores are Store1 = 70GB, Store2= 80GB,Store3= 90GB & Store4 = 100GB
The free space available (reported by event 1221) is Store1 15GB, Store 2=25GB, Store3 = 40Gb and Store4 = 15GB

The above makes the LOGICAL size of the stores as follows: Store1 = 55GB, Store2=55GB, Store3=65GB and Store 4 85GB

So based on the above calculations (and remember these are all theoretical so yours may be very different).
Move 20GB of Mailboxes out of Store 1 to Store 2 and move 35GB of mailboxes from Store 1 to Store3.
This will give you no mailboxes in Store1.

You can now delete this store recovering 70GB in PHYSICAL Storage

Now this is where you will loose a little of physical store because you will now start moving mailboxes from the stores you have just filled up into the empty store.
So create a new store and move the data from Store 2 into it.
Once you have done that you can delete store2 and the physical files that go with it, again recovering that PHYSICAL storage.

You can then do the same with Store3 and Store4.

Once your done you will have 4 completely defragmented error free stores and zero downtime.
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
got it! Thanks a lot.
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Glen KnightCommented:
Excellent, no worries.
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
demazter - still looking at this? if so, I have another question. It'll likely turn into questions. Should I post to a new thread? It is directly related to your accepted solution above. Thanks - I'm new to posting to the forum and not sure of the protocol.
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Glen KnightCommented:
rpliner, I am still monitoring, how can I help?
Although to be honest, you may wish to open a new question(s) as I am in training all week so may not be able to assist you very quickly.
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
thanks for your willingness to help even more. I moved all mailboxes in one store to another. I then dismounted the original store, now empty of mailboxes (well somewhat, they were there but had the red x circle and only about 16 kb in size at most). The users are having no problems. I moved the .edb and .stm files of the original, now empty store to a backup server. Don't know if that was necessary, but it made me feel better. Now I don't know which log files are related to that original store. Do I need to move the database back and run eseutil to determine the log files? Also, my image ran last night but there was an error stating it couldn't truncate the log files because not all stores were mounted. Can I move the files back, remount, and let my image run tonight in order to have the log files truncated? I was expecting to recover a lot more space than I did. I don't know if this is becasue of the log files created for the move and/or from the backup not removing log files due to the dismounted store. Anyway, hope I explained this well enough. Essentially, I need to know how to get rid of the log files from the old store and from the move. Thanks again for your help. It's not an emergency as I have space now, but would like to figure this out so I can reclaim as much space as possible.
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king daddyAuthor Commented:
OK, after searching around I was able to figure out which log files I could delete. I also deleted the original store I moved the mailboxes from. I am going to leave the machine alone now until this weekend when I move some more mailboxes per your posting above. Thanks again.
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