Exchange 2003 -- Online Defrag is not reclaiming logical space

Xetroximyn used Ask the Experts™
I archived 4GB out of my mailbox.  It has been a full week now, and the EventID 9688 it still reporting the same logical size for the database.  

Before when we have archived large amounts of stuff, within a few days the online defrag that runs ever night, had reclaimed the space and event ID 9688 showed a major reduction in logical size.

And if I look at my mailbox in the list of mailbox's I can see that its size did decrease by 4GB.

Watch Question

Do more with

Expert Office
EXPERT OFFICE® is a registered trademark of EXPERTS EXCHANGE®
JamesSenior Cloud Infrastructure Engineer


You need to do an offline degrag.  This will reclaim all space used by the database.  I have done this before and it works.

The logical size of the database will never change until you have run the offline defrag.  However, with that being said, yes you will still receive the events but you have (in a blind way) gained that space back to the DB.  As JBond stated, run the Offline defrag.
Should you be charging more for IT Services?

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden using our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Start calculating Now!


I just realized looking back at some emails, that I might need to reduce the retention period for deleted emails.  

Can anyone confirm this will work?

Your retention settings will come into play only if you have limits set that are in conflict with what you are trying to accomplish.  If you deleted mailboxes today and are trying to reclaim your space today, you will need to change your limits.
untick the "Do not permanently delete mailboxes and items until the store has been backed up" on the "Limits" tab of the Mailbox Store's properties.
While on the topic of backups, make sure you are using the option to "Flush commited logs", these log files can really add up over time.
Here is a good site explaining the limits and recovery of your mailboxes should you decide to change your retention policies. 

You definitely do not need to do an offline defrag to lower LOGICAL size.  The file size will stay the same but LOGICAL size will go down.   I saw the logical size drop 15GB a few months ago, just after the retention period was reduced to 0, after a bunch of archiving.  

(I just remembered this a dug through email just after I posted this Q)

Here is an article about it
  Size      check done against the database now uses logical database size. Empty or      white space in the database does not count against the configured database      size limit; therefore, no offline defragmenting is required for recovery      exceeding the configured or licensed database limits. 

That is true however it will not release the allocated disk space.  In other words you will never see the whitespace as disk free space unless you offline defrag.
correct, you will not see the free space but you don't necessarily have to do an offline to see it. check out the links in my post

Also, look for 1221 events in the Application log that will show how much whitespace is in your DB. This is the amount of space that would be reclaimed if you decided to do an offline defrag.


I could care less about disk free space -- just need logical free space in database to keep it below the limits.  

After reducing the retention period for delete items, the online defrag last night, reclaimed 2GB so far.

Thanks everyone.

Do more with

Expert Office
Submit tech questions to Ask the Experts™ at any time to receive solutions, advice, and new ideas from leading industry professionals.

Start 7-Day Free Trial