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Outlook 2003 file size limits

Posted on 2010-08-12
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Last Modified: 2012-08-13
Hi.  Outlook 2003 on XPsp3 over Exchange 2007.  User is getting repeated file size limit warnings and functional shutdowns from client (OWA works fine); the mailbox/outlook .OST and .PST keep reaching 2 gig.  I have wasted more than an hour trying to convert to Unicode.  Turning off Cache Mode causes other stupid problems.

1) Will upgrading to Office2007 resolve this local file size limit in Outlook 2003?

2) None of the methods of Unicode conversion I have found work.  Am I better to move him to 2007 or is there actually a conversion method that works in less then a week's time?
Thank you.
M
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Question by:michaelheffernan
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LVL 24

Expert Comment

by:Mike Thomas
ID: 33424059
Try modifying the keys back to the defaults as they are listed here.


http://support.microsoft.com/kb/832925
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33424170
Hi.  I tried this fix.  However, I do not know what values to enter into those new Dwords, i.e. kilobytes, megabytes, gigs, in hex, in decimal?  The article didn't specify the units.  
When I did create the keys with decimal 20000000 (wild guess), Outlook would not open.
 
 
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33424203
I should add that there was no such key as "\Office\11.0\Outlook" under HKCU and I had to create that cascade as well.
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Thomas
ID: 33424262
The values show are the same

HEX = 0x00005000

Decimal - 20,480

Both mean 20 GB so you do not have to specify, just enter on of those values in hex of decimal
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Thomas
ID: 33424288
There were 2 locations, both slightly different so try the other one. ;)

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\PST
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\PST
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33424385
Oooookayyy, lemme try that, then.  Thanks.  How can I test this fix (without again incuring the wrath of our GM)?
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Expert Comment

by:chcw
ID: 33425929
If modifiying the size limit value in registry cannot help, then you can use

Advanced Outlook Repair

at

http://www.datanumen.com/aor/ to convert it into a Unicode format, see

http://www.datanumen.com/aor/convert-ansi-to-unicode.htm

for a guide on how to do this.
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33426647
Ouchy.  A little pricey, but I will consider it as my last resort.  I will try both solutions tomorrow.
THank you.
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33432186
Nope, making either of those changes in the registry results in Outlook refusing to open, followed by an endless restore mailbox session after I delete those dworks.
SO, I guess I will throw [more] money at the fool thing...
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33432668
Update.  I tried the licensed converter that chcw suggested; no dice.  It successfully converted the various .pst files (which hadn't been a size issue) but has no provision for converting the sole .ost file (which has bumped the 2 gig size and which I believe is the cause of the problem).
Turning Cache Mode off makes the error go away *and* results in the outbound box immediately being emptied.
Any new suggestions, kind sirs/madams?
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33432674
I should note, the Exchange server has *no* restrictions whatsoever on this user's mailboxes.
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Expert Comment

by:mikerigel
ID: 33432972
Going to Office 2007 will not resolve the problem.  The problem is that Exchange 2003 has an upper limit on the overall size that the Exchange mail store can be.  Unless you have limits in place, this can get maxed out in a short amout of time (2 years or less, depending on user habits).

Ok, so there are no limits and the user is receiving messages that the mailbox is full?

Open Exchange System Manager
Right click the Mailbox store and goto Properties
Click the Limits tab to verify Storage limits are set.  This is a global setting.

Now, open Exchange, Active Directory Users and Computers
Drill down to the user and double click to open the Properties dialog box.
Click the Exchange General tab, then click Storage Limits...
Verify that the Use mailbox store defaults box is unchecked.

Adjust accordingly.  Teach the user how to manage their mailbox.  Deleted items, sent items, and items in other folders count toward that limit.

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Expert Comment

by:Mike Thomas
ID: 33432995
Go for a profile/system restore before you spend money.
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33433030
Hello.  No, we are Exchange 2007; I don't think those limitations exist in this version.
I did indeed check the global setting as you describe, and the defaults box is unchecked.
This poor user (my boss, incidentally) has tried to manage his mail, but being both a GM and an attorney, pretty much wants to keep tons of stuff handy.  Yes, he archives but I suspect, with Cache Mode turned on, the .ost file, currently a hair under 2 gigs, has both copies of active and archived mail in it.
His deleted and sent folders are very sparsely populated; they were first to be cleaned out.
Comments on my observation re: the .ost file, tho?
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Expert Comment

by:Mike Thomas
ID: 33433047
I have managed Ex 2003 with users with 10+gb mailboxes with no such issues.
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33433061
Too late; already spent.  However, doing system restore isn't feasible; I am simply too backed up with new deployments as it is.
Profile restoration...never done that, nor needed to.  However, the fact that Outlook functions fine with cache mode turned off tends to indicate to me that his profile is okay.
 
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33433102
I have 70+ other Outlook users who are doing fine, too.  However, the nature of the GM is such that he retains probably 90% of his email and needs/wants it at hand.
That said, I keep refering to the .ost file and its huge size.  Previously, forcing Outlook to recreate the .ost file resulted in normal functionality...until the new .ost file reached the 2 gig mark.  
Does anyone here have any thots about that aspect?
I suppose all this begs another question: are there methods to move old Exchange out of the user's boxes but still make it readily available/searchable, perhaps thru a third-party application?
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33433327
Mikerigel could be on to something; altho the menu cascades don't match, I did find the default mailbox size warnings and restrictions, all set to just under 2 gigs.  I reset everything to 10 gigs.  However, this user is positively not set to use the global settings.
I'll see if this helps.
 
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33433385
For clarification, here's the mb sizes as presented by the client...
The "old mail" folder came from his previous workstation.  I was never able to get a clean import.  Plus he wants to keep/access it as well.  Attorney, you know.
Is there a third party app which can read outlook .pst files?

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LVL 8

Expert Comment

by:chcw
ID: 33434295
For ost file, you can use

Advanced Exchange Recovery

at

http://www.datanumen.com/aexr/ instead.

Just ask DataNumen if they can offer a replacement for your purchased Advanced Outlook Repair.
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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33434325
Thank you.  Once I am certain this is complaining about the .ost file, I will.  More next week.
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:mikerigel
ID: 33434850
Is this Exchange 2007 install fresh or an upgrade?  Just curious.

I would make a backup .pst of his entire Mailbox and move it to a safe place.  Then I would run the repair tool(s):  http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/scan-and-repair-corrupted-outlook-data-files-HA010075831.aspx

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Author Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 33443149
It is not an upgrade (we had a previous version running on a different host.)
Thank you.  As soon as I can, I will run this tool.
 
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Accepted Solution

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michaelheffernan earned 0 total points
ID: 34640399
None of these suggestions resolved this problem. Our GM will have stop using Outlook as a file cabinet. Thank you, however.
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Author Closing Comment

by:michaelheffernan
ID: 35455637
Behavioral modification is the solution here.
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