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Exchange 2003 mailbox store at critical levels (69-74GB) - what actions can I take?

Posted on 2010-11-24
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-10
I want to know how close I am to critical levels with Exchange for a client. Well I probably am already at critical levels but how long to I have before things could keep over.
The combined Edb and STB files comes in at 74GB.

Looking in systems manager and then exporting mailbox sizes to excel (tab delimited) and adding up, the total is 69GB.

In the registry it has been set to allow the Exchange DB size set to grow up to 74GB max (I left the last 1GB in case it fell over, at least I would have another 1GB to play around with)

Now I am sending out a message that all staff need to reduce mailbox sizes urgently. But happy to hear from others what other actions should I be taking (for example, just changed the keep deleted items down from 7 days to 1 day)

Also this is full version of Exchange 2003. How easy is it to just start another mailbox store and make new emails go into that but they can still access their old store?

(Note, exchange 2003 on Windows Server 2003)

Thanks in advance
Question by:afflik1923
LVL 76

Accepted Solution

Alan Hardisty earned 1000 total points
ID: 34210079
Are you using Exchange 2003 Standard or Exchange 2003 Enterprise?

If you are using Enterprise - you can easily create a new mailstore and database and resolve your issues that way.

If you are using Exchange 2003 Standard - you can't.

The size of the store (.edb and .stm) can be larger than the 75Gb limit.  You can have a store size of 120Gb and still be under the 75Gb limit.  The limit it virtual not physical.

There is an amount of free space within the store - that free space (white space) will get overwritten before adding to the size of the database.

Assisted Solution

JohNet6336 earned 332 total points
ID: 34210139
Try to Defragement Exchange Database, go to Exchange System Management > right click Dismount Store for Mailbox Store & Public Store

Remember: Backup all the files at c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata to safe place in case mailbox cannot mount

At the command prompt type the following command:


cd "program file\exchsrvr\bin"

eseutil /d "c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb"

eseutil /d "c:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata\pub1.edb"

After finish Mount the Mailbox store & Public Store

Author Comment

ID: 34210182
OK. Am I right in thinking the defrag can take a good few hours?

Is it also worth me running a NTbakup of exchange first or something so that it clears the log files down or something (seem to remember being told this once)

Then once dismounted, then I would also just make a file copy of the files wihtin the
d:\program files\exchsrvr\mdbdata  (D drive in this case)

Then for good mesure make another copy of these files.
Then run the exmerge process and maybe start this say Saturday evening so hopefully by Sunday morning it is completed. Any problems I can just resotre the backup files.

Sound like a plan?
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LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:Malli Boppe
Malli Boppe earned 336 total points
ID: 34210360
Yeah its going take good few hours and I wouldn't recommend doing it as well.Its only recomended if you have lot of  white space .Also remeber you need to have 110% free space.To check how much white space you have check for the event id 1221.


What version of exchange are you using?As said by Alan if you are using enterprise create a new mail store and move the mailboxes.Safe and simple process.
LVL 76

Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 1000 total points
ID: 34211013
Please have a read of Demazter's article before you contemplate any offline defrag:

LVL 19

Expert Comment

ID: 34211822
Just create a dialtone.
Mount a new database so that users can use the new send/receive mails.
Defrag the existing database.
Swap the database and the merge it.

Author Comment

ID: 34213531
Thanks. Don't yet understand R-R suggestion as not heard of Diatone. Will read however.
Also I think it is exchange standard edition to answer an earlier question.

White space: (event id 1221)
"The database "First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (MAIL)" has 1588 megabytes of free space after online defragmentation has terminated. "
is this a lot (1.5GB)? Seems quite a bit to me.

If i just get lots of staff to reduce their mailboxe sizes. I'm also moving out a few large mailboxes of staff who have left the company.
(this is going to be about 8GB's worth)

After all this is done maybe I will need to do a defrag?
LVL 17

Assisted Solution

by:Viral Rathod
Viral Rathod earned 332 total points
ID: 34213857
If there are very large amount of mails has been deleted then make sure "Keep delted Items" on the server is set to 0 Days and you need to run the Online Maintanance to generate white space before starting Offline Defrage.

Once the Online maintanance is complete check the Event Id 1221 and make sure sufficient white space is avilable on the database
White Space (Recyclable Space) indiactes how much space could be recovered by an offline defragmentation

Exchange offline Defrage Require 110% of Free Space to Defrage Exchange Store ,
If Mailbox Store Database size is 60 GB then you need atleast 70 GB of free disk space on the server
(Check Event Id 1216 for Database Size)
Make sure you have taken sufficient Down time to run offline defrag on exchange database
(4GB of Database Defrage Require 1 Hour to Complete (60 GB of Database Require Approx 15 Hours)

Refer the Article for Offline Defrage

Also refer the Offline Defrags Article wrote By Demazter :


Author Comment

ID: 34327570
Hi and thanks for good input so far

The latest 1221 fr the email store says:
"The database "First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (MAIL)" has 11739 megabytes of free space after online defragmentation has terminated.

That says 11GB to me (we have recently asked users to clear mailboxes and set the store deleted items down to 1 day.

Being this is quite a large amount, is this a case where the offline defrag just has to be run and I just have to plan o have a ull day of downtime?
LVL 76

Assisted Solution

by:Alan Hardisty
Alan Hardisty earned 1000 total points
ID: 34327595
Yes - that is 11gb of space.  If you want to reclaim it - then an offline defrag will recover the space and it will take probably around 10 hours or so to run depending on your hardware.

Author Comment

ID: 34469182
Sorry back from break. Did not get chance to update before. Sorting all out. Thanks and will close properly very soon.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 34508435
All good comments. Many thanks

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