SBS2003 Exchange wont offline defrag


I have an SBS2003 server which is having issues with the Exchange store dismounting. I have aready increased the limit to 75GB, which is the max correct?

See screenshot of .EDB file and .STM file in example1.jpg

Does the .STM file count towards the 75GB ?

I want to run an offline defrag to reduce the size, I have dismounted both public and private store and tried running the commands in the second screen shot, example2.jpg but no joy.

Please advise of any suggestions
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Be sure to specify the full path to the .edb file.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Please check event ID 1221 in your application event log for the Private store.  That will show you if a defrag is worthwhile as all it will do is free up the amount of space shown in the event log.

The size of the database is virtual and is made up of the size of the .EDB file, plus the size of the .STM file minus the white space shown in event ID 1221.

If you want to free up space because the store is dismounting daily because you have hit the 75gb max limit, reduce the mailstore / mailbox retention period and that will free up way more space after an online defrag and that should tide you over for a while:

unrealone1Author Commented:
How should I configure this?

See example3.jpg attached.
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Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
No attachment.
unrealone1Author Commented:
see now
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Does the .STM file count towards the 75GB ?

Yes, the stm and edb sizes accumulated count toward the 75 gig limit.

Best method I found to resolve it if the mailstore is mounted is

1. Login into the Exchange console
2. Set the retention period as low as possible
3. Set the Exchange Maintenance period to start 30 minutes after the last backup will end
4. Restart the exchange services so it only sees the new retention settings
5. Have all users empty their deleted folders
6. Run all your backups
7. Check the mailstore size after the maintenance job runs
8. Investigate upgrading to a newer version of Exchange or the enterprise version of Exchange 2003.

I suggest 2007 or 2010. They work very well.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Are those the settings that were there originally?

If they are, then you may have to reduce them further.

What does Event ID 1221 in the application event log show for the Private Information Store?

It should tell you how much space will be freed up by an offline defrag, which will be a waste of time running as that space is already included in the overall size of the database, so all you will do is shrink the database on the disk, not make the store smaller virtually.

Tony GiangrecoCommented:
Sorry, I just noticed you are on an SBS server. My suggestion is to upgrade to a newer version of SBS or to a full server version line 2008 and install a newer version of Exchange.

You can also move your mail to a hosted exchange platform and stop the exchange services on your SBS server but them you are tied to paying monthly hosting charges.
unrealone1Author Commented:

Yes I havent amended yet.

In the event log under 1221 it says:

The database "First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (SERVER1)" has 20 megabytes of free space after online defragmentation has terminated.
Tony GiangrecoCommented:
You can also run an offline defrag of the mailstore after the deleted mail is removed by the maintenance process. I did that on a 2003 server a few years ago and shrank the mailstore to 50% of it's size.  It tool about 12 hours to run but it worked wonders.

We upgraded to 2008 & Exchange 2007 six months later.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
Okay - 20Mb is not huge, so an offline defrag which will take hours will only free up 20Mb of disk space which isn't worth it.

You will need to drop the retention to 0 for both and then wait for the online maintenance to finish and get users to purge emails they no longer need.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
TG-TIS - please read the question fully before offering your answers.  If you read it, you will find that you are offering suggestions that have already been covered in the question and thus your comments are not helping.
unrealone1Author Commented:

You mentioned about the retention/deleted item policy, I thought that if I deleted mailboxes it doesnt reduce the size of the edb?

I could probably archieve and delete a few mailboxes.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
If you delete mailboxes, they have to wait for the retention period to pass before the space they occupy is able to be recovered and that is currently 14 days.  The size of the .edb will only ever grow unless you run an OFFLINE defrag, but it is not the physical size of the .EDB that is the problem, it is the sum of the .EDB file, .STM file less the White space shown in Event ID 1221 that makes up the size of the mailstore.

If you set the retention to 0, purge mail, delete unwanted mailboxes and then wait for the overnight ONLINE maintenance to run, there should be space available to buy you some time.

Either way, it sounds like you are either going to have to bite the bullet and upgrade to SBS 2011, Windows 2012 with Exchange 2013 or go to a hosted solution as Exchange 2003 Standard is limited to 75Gb max and you are finding that limitation.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:

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In lieu of upgrading the server, there is another option.  It sounds like your users like to hang onto their email, which is understandable (I have email going back almost 10 years).

However to keep it on the Exchange server is inefficient.  I rarely need to look at email that is 8 years old when I am away on business.  So to keep your Information store at a manageable level, you can do the following:

- Have each user do a backup of their mailbox to a separate .PST file (In Outlook, this is done with the File Import / Export function, located in different areas depending on the version of Outlook)

- Link this .PST file to their local mail account (File -> Open)

- Delete all items older than (e.g.) 2 years.

Wait a day (depending on the retention policy), and then run the offline defrag.

This should cut your information store down dramatically, while still providing access to old email for your end users.  Since you're using SBS, it's unlikely you have more than 15 - 20 users.  Allowing 3 - 4 GB per user should be more than enough space for 2 - 3 years worth of email.  The older email can be archived / linked by repeating the process above.

FYI, new versions of Office / Outlook will not work with Exchange 2003.
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
I will say it again for the benefit of everyone posting here.

An OFFLINE defrag is a waste of time UNLESS you want to reclaim disk space only.

You will also need 110% of the Database size in free disk space, so if you have hit 75Gb, you will need 82.5Gb in free disk space before you begin or it won't complete.
unrealone1Author Commented:
@Alan, many thanks. Great support and help.

@MrC63 - useful tip for backing up to a .pst
Alan HardistyCo-OwnerCommented:
You would be better off getting users to Archive their mail to .PST file rather than Export their mailbox to .PST file as that won't reduce their mailbox at all whereas Archiving will move mail out from the Exchange store and keep it locally.  Just make sure you untick the Delete mail check box from the Archive settings before you run the Archive or mail will be lost.
Note that I said "export then delete".  

It's the same thing, except it gives users their full mailbox in the archive file which provides a greater comfort level to the end user.
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