Exchange 2003 Max Database size error

Axis52401
Axis52401 used Ask the Experts™
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We've been having a problem with out mail server and get the following error

Exchange store 'First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (servername)': The logical size of this database (the logical size equals the physical size of the .edb file and the .stm file minus the logical free space in each) is 75 GB. This database size has exceeded the size limit of 75 GB.

This database will be dismounted immediately.

It seems simple enough so we deleted some old accounts and set some size limits and last week did an offline defrag of the database. This morning we got the error again and I had restarted the Information Store service which seems to make it work for a day or so but the problem is I went into the Mailboxes in the Exchange system manager and added up all the mailboxes and it comes out to about 44G of data between all the users. So we're not even close to the 75G limit.

Has anyone else seen this happen before and know how to fix it?
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Alan HardistyCo-Owner
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Change your mailstore retention from the default of 30 days to a much lower number, such as 7, then wait for 24 hours and the online maintenance will clear up the empty space in the database and should recover some space.

You can look for Event ID 1221 in the Application Event Log and see how much free space is available after the online maintenance has taken place.

To change the retention:
http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/mf022.html
Axis52401Security Analyst

Author

Commented:
Change made, I'll let it run and see if it works,  thanks
Alan HardistyCo-Owner
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
If you set it to 7 (and restart the information store service), this will allow mail deleted in the last 23 days to be removed from the database, but if not much was deleted and loads was deleted within the last 7 days, then you may be better setting the retention to 0 and reclaim as much as you can.

You will lose the ability to recover deleted items though.
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Commented:
Another thing to do: if you have capacity to do so, move some mailboxes off of that database and into a new one, then offline defrag again.
Alan HardistyCo-Owner
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
@ckratsch - The very fact that a 75Gb limit is in place should tell you that the system is Exchange 2003 Standard and consequently, adding another database and moving mailboxes between databases is not a physical possibility.

Commented:
Oops.

I suppose a second Exchange server might exist, but you're right, I didn't put all the pieces together on that one.
Alan HardistyCo-Owner
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Don't worry - been there before myself!
Axis52401Security Analyst

Author

Commented:
It didn't dismount last night but it only cleared out 67M so I don't know if it was successful or not yet.


The database "First Storage Group\Public Folder Store (servername)" has 67 megabytes of free space after online defragmentation has terminated.
Alan HardistyCo-Owner
Top Expert 2011

Commented:
Lower the retention period closer to 0, or even set 0 and wait again.

67mb is handy, but not going to save your bacon!
Axis52401Security Analyst

Author

Commented:
I had set it to 2, I'll try 0 and see what I get tonight.
Co-Owner
Top Expert 2011
Commented:
Arguably, you could leave it at 2 and wait for a further 24 hours, then more space should become available, which will buy you more time.

After 72 hours, the max will have been recoverable - unless you get someone to purge loads of mail now.

Your call - but with 2 I would probably leave it there and wait.

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