Mailbox size limit exceeded, what happens when a user sends an email

Posted on 2011-09-09
Last Modified: 2012-05-12
I have mailboxes limited to 500MB. A user exceeded the limit and did not see the system email in their inbox. They left on a road trip and used OWA for email account access. What happens when they try to send an email. They claim that it looks like it sent but there was no sent item, no warning, no failure report so they "didn't know" the mail was not being delivered. What should exchange be doing when sending is attempted with an over the size limit mailbox when using OWA and Outlook 2003?
Question by:Jay_Butter
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Expert Comment

ID: 36513123
Depending on your storage quota settings for the mailbox one of 3 following things can happen:

Issue Warning: set size limit
Prohibit Send: set size limit
Prohibit Send and Receive: set size limit

Check your storage quota settings for the target mailbox and see what the settings are.

Also make sure that Quota Message Service for Exchange is installed and setup.
Here is a good article on how to do it:


Expert Comment

ID: 36513158
Also user would get a notification in OWA that the mailbox is over limit and unable to send.

If the email was sent from outlook, the email would bounce back with notification that they need to contact system administrator or free up space.

Also any emails which been sent to them would bounce back with a note that user ran out of space in mailbox if exchange was set to prohibit both send and receive.

Bit hard to believe that user would not notice.

Author Comment

ID: 36513244
Hi LondonCitizen,

To be more clear on my question, if the prohibit send limit is exceeded, and the user received but did not read the system email stating that, and then sent an email via the OWA interface sometime later, they would receive another system notification? This is important because the exchange server configuration is being blamed for a lapse in communication between my company and a customer.

The user has not received any additional notifications upon trying to send emails, only the original one that the mailbox was over the limit.

This user receives alot of email traffic and was distracted by a personal issue. I really need to know if she should have received a warning for every send attempt?

Thanks so much for your input!

Thanks so much.
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Accepted Solution

LondonCitizen earned 500 total points
ID: 36513392
Yes thats correct.

If the prohibit sent limit is exceeded.
OWA would display that mailbox is over the limit (this should be displayed in left top corner.
Also if user send email from OWA it will fail delivery and bounce back notification will be sent back to the mailbox advising user to contact IT Admin or free up the space.

And yes this notification would happen for every single email which was sent.

In this case I would check if bounce back was deleted by user, you should be still able to see deleted emails for about 30days, however this lenght would depend on your exchange settings. If the email was deleted permanently option by user, then only other solution would be to retrieve this from your email archiving solution.

Expert Comment

ID: 36513536
Please see the picture how notification would be displayed in OWA.
Even with the notification user can still click send button and send mail which will fail delivery and would generate bounce back notification.
OWA mailbox full
Please see:

Author Comment

ID: 36522095
This is great information, many thanks! We are stuck using Exchange 2003 and the 2003 OWA interface does not have the mail box display as shown in the screen shots however. I guess this can be additional leverage for pomoting an upgrade. Also, in Exchange 2003 notifications do not become part of the normal email log and can not be searched for using the search tool in System Manager, sort of strange. My server is not sending failure messages per each sending attempt after the first "email sending prohibited" message is sent out. Any ideas why? Again, thinks very much!

Expert Comment

ID: 36525098
Hello, I will have a look, strange behaviour might be default for exchange 2003, I'm with exchange 2007 at the moment, still remember the times with exchange 2003 tho.

I will get back to you with more info.

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