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Is it possible to extract all Attachements from Exchange 2003 and save them somewhere else?

Posted on 2011-02-25
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Good day,

My exchange database is becoming huge, and i do not have unlimited  space on my server.  I have less than 10% disk space free. I can clear up some space easily, but for Exchange,  I'd like to be able to reduce the  database size  considerably.

I thought of doing an offline defrag,  (never done it)  but im not confident on defrag technologies with corporate emails on an old  SBS 2003 server.  I know its possible to extract all the attachements from LOTUS Notes,  but  I dont know if its possible with Exchange 2003.

What would be the best thing for me to do?  Is it really safe to make an offline defrag on my Exchange 2003 database? (about 30GB in sice) Priv1.edb is 23GB in size and priv1.stm is 8.8 GB in size.

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Question by:maxalarie
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7 Comments
 
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Expert Comment

by:davorin
ID: 34982703
I'm not aware of that option.
Except buying more disks and move exchange database there, I would suggest that you change the value of "retain deleted items" to 0 days and instruct users to archive old mails to local PST files. Then set the mailbox limits to lower value. Next day you can again change the value of "retain deleted items" to 7 or 14 days.
On exchange online defragmentation is done every night. Offline defrag will not save you additional space.
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by:Acosta Technology Services
ID: 34982880
Offline defrag is safe as long as you have a good backup and 110% free space (110% of edb+stm).  Check event #1211 in the Exchange Server's application log to find out how much space you'll free up.  Event should occur before 7am each day.
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Author Comment

by:maxalarie
ID: 34982938
Ok, Thanks you. I do not have that much space left on the server at the moment.
Thanks for the help.
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by:davorin
davorin earned 250 total points
ID: 34984496
Sorry. I don't know what I was thinking about, while I was writing my last sentence...
Offline defrag does reduce size of DB on disk by removing whitespace from DB.
Two interesting links:
http://msexchangeteam.com/archive/2004/07/08/177574.aspx
http://exchangeshell.wordpress.com/2009/11/03/exchange-2007-physical-edb-database-size-too-large-reduce-size-move-mailbox-offline-defrag/
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lucid8 earned 250 total points
ID: 34988197
1. If you want to pull out attachments to make the DB smaller you would be looking at an Archive system  that would archive the attachments and larger bodies etc into an archive server.

2. Even if you deploy an archive server the only way to get the DB to be physically smaller is to run and offline defrag and then run an Isinteg until you have zero (0) errors repaired (i.e. you usually have to repeat the isinteg command multiple times)

3. One of the other members mentioned to look for a event 1211, and that is incorrect, you want o look for event 1221 and here is a good article for you http://technet.microsoft.com/en-ca/library/aa996139(EXCHG.65).aspx and if you don't see that you are going to gain a bunch of space back you may not want to do a defrag.  That said it could be that your users have not emptied their deleted items folders and if that the case you can appeal to them to do so, as well as to get rid of items they truly don't want and then continue to monitor the 1221 events until you feel its worthwhile to run a defrag.

4. it is possible to run an Eseutil /D against a database if you don't have the 110% space available on your server, i.e. you can tell it to use the space on an alternate machine that has enough space (Still 110% ).  The downside of course is that the defrag will take longer to do since you are involving a drive on an alternate machine.  Here is another great article for you to read http://support.microsoft.com/kb/192185 and this is a good read as well http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa997972(EXCHG.80).aspx  in short you would do the following

A. Map a drive to a machine that has the 110% of disk space free (For this example lets assume you use drive F: when you do the mapping

B. Take the database offline

C. Backup the database while its offline to tape or disk, i.e. never run  any command against the only copy of the database you have

D:  Open a command prompt and change to your Exchsrvr\bin

NOTE: I am making certain assumptions with the below syntax, i.e. that your DB is in the path used below, but if not then change accordingly
 
E: Run Eseutil /d “c:\program files\Exchsrvr\mdbdata\priv1.edb” /tF:\defrag\tempdfrg.edb

5. Once your defrag is complete you need to run ISINTEG command  of " c:\program files\exchsrvr\bin>isinteg -s ServerName -fix -test alltests"  see more about it here http://support.microsoft.com/kb/301460  There are a few very important things you needs to be aware of;

A: Isinteg doe NOT need the 110% free space, i.e. it works in place
B: When you run the command you need to be very patient since it can take a very long time to run and sometimes you will swear nothing is happening but it is working away
C: you will more than likely need to run this command multiple times, i.e. rule of thumb is to run this command until it reports Zero (0) errors repaired and this usually takes a minimum of two passes.

6. Bring the store back online and do a quick check to ensure everything is accessible

7. Immediately take a new FULL Online Exchange backup to protect the new database.

NOTE: if for some reason you don't want to do all of this manually check y profile for a product that can do all of the above for you and more.
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Author Closing Comment

by:maxalarie
ID: 35070668
Thanks.
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Expert Comment

by:lucid8
ID: 35070726
Happy to assist, and if you ever need to contact me check my profile
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