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Exchange 2003 User emails still blocked despite deleting enough to get under limit

Hi all,

Have recently created a new user on a 2003 SBS server. This person is replacing someone who has just left so I exported their emails and imported them into the new users profile. Straight away after importing the emails Outlook complained the user was over the email size limit of 2gb. We've deleted pretty much all the old emails and emptied the deleted items folder but incoming emails are still being blocked. Have I missed something? Is there a time period we have to wait for the limit to be lifted?


Microsoft Server AppsExchangeWindows Server 2003

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8/22/2022 - Mon

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Dont forget to check what the retention policy os in Exchange.  You may find its set to 14 days which means it waits x days AND a full backup before deleting them and freeing up the space
Leon Fester

If the old mailbox still exists then you should rather re-attached the old mailbox to the new user account. http://support.microsoft.com/kb/274343

You should also check the mailbox limits.
They can be set per user and maybe the other users was extended, where as the new users still has the default mailbox size.


@TazDevil1674 - a Retention Policy pertains to the allowed age of an item within a specific folder (Inbox, Sent Items, Deleted Items, etc.) before it is purged from a mailbox. By default this is off. The 14 day period you speak of is the default Deleted Item Retention or rather the "Keep deleted items for (days):" setting within the Database Properties under the Limits tab. Contrary to what you stated - this does not hit against a user's mailbox quota. Once an item is deleted from the Deleted Item's folder in a user's mailbox - the space is then reallocated.

@OP - There are a few things you can check and a few ways to check it. If you want to know the size of a mailbox, from EMS (Exchange Management Shell) type:

Get-MailboxStatistics "<Enter Alias or DisplayName>" | FL TotalItemSize

Open in new window

You can also go into the user's mailbox in Outlook and see the current consumed space by right-clicking the top-level object - usually the users email address or name (just above the Inbox typically) and selecting "Data File Properties". From here click the "Folder Size" button. This will show you the Total size as well as a breakdown of each folder and its sizes. This will help identify where the consumed space is located.

The 2GB limit can be changed within EMC by changing the Quota settings on the Database properties under the Limits Tab(which changes it for all users on that database) or on the individual user's mailbox by changing the Quota settings on the user's mailbox properties under the Mailbox Settings Tab > Storage Quotas. Both of these settings, by default, will take up to 2 hours to take effect. The Information Store service has a default 2 hour interval that updates various changes. While some changes are instant such as Display Name and other GAL related attributes, the Mailbox Quota setting updates occurs on this interval.

As for the deleting of the mailbox items within Outlook, this should recover space rather quickly - however Outlook does take a moment to register that it has recovered space - but no longer than 1-2 minutes. And one final point - this may be a rather silly point to make, but be sure you empty the Deleted Items folder.
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William Peck

You were right! Even though we had deleted everything when I viewed the folder properties of the mailbox it was showing as 2.1Gb still.  I deleted the mail profile and recreated it and it all worked after that. Thanks very much for the advice. (And thanks everyone else for your comments!)

Thanks for the acknowledgement - glad my troubleshooting steps helped.