Exchange edb file growing very large

Our Exchange (2003) database files have grow to a large size where they are close to outgrowing the drives that they are on. I need to reduce their size.

edb file is 100 GB
stm file is 35 GB

Current combined size of users mailbox's is approx 30GB

 Further investigation has shown that the Maintenance interval is not enabled (or specifically set to Custom Schedule and no times selected).

If I just enable the Maintenance shedule, will this reduce the size of the database significantly or will i need to do an offline defrag using Eseutil?
Not sure why this was disabled in the first place but our exchange store had to be rebuilt a year or so ago, so perhaps it was never turned on again after that.

Either way my first step is going to be to backup the databases to an external drive.

Is there anything else I should be looking at or steps I should take?
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danmax1979Asked:
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Glen KnightCommented:
Exchange does not automatically reduce the size of the database.

The only way to reduce the database size is by running an offline defrag. The maintenance however will create whitespace. Check out my guide here: http://www.experts-exchange.com/Software/Server_Software/Email_Servers/Exchange/A_2730-Exchange-Offline-Defrag.html
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danmax1979Author Commented:
Thanks, i'll check it out, i'll run the backup tonight and hopefully do the defrag tomorrow night.
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paritoshjaniCommented:
danmax1979,

Please ensure that you have sufficient downtime as online defrag for 100 GB is going to take a lot of time. Is 100 GB utilized by a single database or multiple databases ?
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paritoshjaniCommented:
danmax1979,

If you can map an alternate hard drive, I would recommend to start splitting the databases  to smaller ones. This will help you to manage each of them individually and also optimize the performance. (Hoping that you are not using SBS)
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danmax1979Author Commented:
It is a single database, What is the process for splitting the database?
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paritoshjaniCommented:
danmax1979,

You need to create a new database(s) on alternate drive (as your current HDD is full) and move mailboxes. Ideally database should be created to meet the organizational hierarchy. This will help you in future to manage the database.
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Glen KnightCommented:
Exchange 2003 Standard edition will only support a single mailbox database.
Unless you are using Enterprise this will not work.
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danmax1979Author Commented:
Ok it is enterprise edition.
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Glen KnightCommented:
Then simply creating a new mailbox database and moving the mailboxes to this will provide you with a defragmeted mailbox store.
This is all detailed in my article I posted earlier.
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danmax1979Author Commented:
Cool. I will let you know how I go.
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danmax1979Author Commented:
Ok, so after plenty of heartache and some long days, I've finally got exchange back to some sort of stability.

Steps I took were as follows (repeating most of the above, but just for clarity):
1. Created new Mailbox store on a different drive
2. Gradually moved all Mailboxes over to that drive (this took me a couple of days)
(Good tip here is to go into the First Storage Group properties and change the location for the Transaction Logs, moving mailboxes generates lots of log files which can fill up the drive again if it is the same drive as your mailbox store)
3. Dismount original store, move off to an external drive (along with eseutil files) and perform the offline defrag on another workstation
4. Defrag ran overnight, took about 15 hours, but reduced the total file size from 130GB to 16GB.
5. Copy defrag'd files back to original location and mounted them back to the store.

My setup now is 3 different Mailbox Stores (one for each of our departments). I still have the original store but I would prefer to just delete it. When I try to delete it says "One or more Users currently use this mailbox store..." the only mailboxes remaining are SMTP and SystemMailbox, not sure how to move or disable those, any ideas??
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Glen KnightCommented:
Those mailboxes don't need to be removed since they are specific to the store.  You also cannot delete them.There must be another user that has attributes pointing to that store, probably a user that looks like it doesn't have any exchange settings or a deleted mailbox.  How long since moving the mailboxes did you try deleting the store?
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danmax1979Author Commented:
The last mailboxes were moved from that store a couple of days ago.

I don't mind keeping it, although it is sitting at 14GB and there is nothing in it. Will regular maintenance reduce this? or should i do another offline defrag??
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Glen KnightCommented:
OK, using Active Directory Users and Computers under the View menu select add/remove Colima and add the exchange database column.

Then look for a) any users that are reporting they are still on that database or b) any users that don't have a database listed.

Are there any of either?
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danmax1979Author Commented:
Yes there are 6 users still reporting to the original store.
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danmax1979Author Commented:
Cool, I used Active Directory to move the remaining users to the new store and hey presto I was able to remove the old store.

Thanks guys for your help.
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