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Exchange 2003 SErver out of disk space

Posted on 2013-11-11
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Last Modified: 2013-11-14
Have an emergency.  We have an old Exchange 2003 server running on Windows Server 2003.  It has mirrored 32GB hard drives.  Currently the MDBDATA folder is roughly 26GB
The priv1.edb file is 13.1GB  the priv1.stm is 11gb and the pub1.stm is 2.2GB

Something has eaten space. Have had users cleanup their Outlook  but we haven't run a "compress" or essutil on the database.   So size still huge.  have only 50MB of disk space showing on drive.  Barely boots.   The compress will take hours (maybe 24 hours).  Is there anything anyone can think of to fix this fast ?  Like in a few hours.  We have ordered new servers and Exchange 2010  but that is not coming for a while.

we have moved the log files to external drive and tried to clean up other stuff on internal drive.  I assume moving the mailbox store to external USB drive even temporarily is not a good idea ???
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Question by:to2007
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20 Comments
 
LVL 19

Expert Comment

by:Kash
ID: 39639232
http://foldersize.sourceforge.net/  <<< install this on the server and it will tell you which folders are the biggest on the drive and report back here to see if we can help
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:FutureTechSysDOTcom
ID: 39639262
See if the "Archive" flag is set on those files or not.  Sometimes, particular with things like Backup Exec, it doesn't clear the archive bit, and the log files are never committed and then erased.
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Author Comment

by:to2007
ID: 39639274
The log files are being saved on the external USB drive so I don't think that is an issue but will check.
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LVL 4

Assisted Solution

by:FutureTechSysDOTcom
FutureTechSysDOTcom earned 600 total points
ID: 39639300
Hmmm... The only thing I can think of aside from eseutil or running a compress would be this, assuming your hardware will support it:

Take one 32 GB drive out, replace with a larger drive.  Let RAID rebuild.
Take second 32 GB drive out, replace with a larger drive.  Let RAID rebuild.

Then expand the partition.  You should be able to get server hard drives that are compatible next day from something like Amazon.

-Chris M.
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 39639310
if your mirrored drives are C and everything is installed there then with exchange databases using about 26gb, that leaves about 6gb left.  with the operating system, swap file, etc. that is probably what is using the remaining space

having users clean out outlook won't help since it will not shrink your database file.  you will need to allow online defrag to mark the white space before attempting to do offline defrag - though that isn't even an option here since you don't have the disk space for that operation

definitely not a good idea moving databases to higher-latency external disks

does this server have any option for additional internal disks?  just wondered if you have something lying around that could be used as a short-term solution

replacing existing disks may not be an option as you would have to expand the raid 1 array (some controllers may not support this) before any partition operation in the operating system
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LVL 5

Assisted Solution

by:warddhooghe
warddhooghe earned 600 total points
ID: 39639316
external USB drives is a very very bad idea.

If you have 2 spare disks that are bigger and compatible and a capable raid controller you can do the following:
Pull out on of your mirrored disks, so you run on 1x 32Gb.
Then insert a spare bigger disk which is compatible, lets say a 64Gb one.
Let the mirror replicate, check the raid status before continuing! must be 100% surely back to 'normal' or whatever your controller normally says.
Then remove the other 32Gb disk, and replace it with another bigger disk (say 64Gb),
Let that mirror replicate again, make sure its fully mirrored again.
Last step is to extend your mirrored volume on your raid controller to a bigger size. (should be 64Gb in this example)

if it's win 2003, open a cmd and start diskpart, select the correct disk and volume you need to increase (the one with your mailstore on) and extend.
Et voila, windows/exchange has more space. Although you might need to restart the exchange store service.

Should take u only a few hours but depends on your array controller, and ofcourse having 2 spare (bigger) disks that are compatible.

I've done this several times before, and a hint to speed things up in regards to getting it faster up and running is on your raid controller, dont extend the mirrored volume to the new max, instead to 40Gb. Once you're up and running you can repeat this action without downtime.
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Author Comment

by:to2007
ID: 39639317
foldersize.sourceforge.net  is this a scam.  It says on the site that doesn't work with anything but 2000 and XP!
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Author Comment

by:to2007
ID: 39639339
So using larger hard drives may not be a good option since don't have them.  If takes a day or so to get them for this old server (probably real expensive too since old technogolry scsi drives)

 I am wondering if I might as well run the essutil late in the day and let it run all night.  did that a year ago and got us 8GB back.   Also One of the users had a 12GB mailbox until he recently cleaned out about 80,000 emails!  He is the boss and didn't take well to our pushing him on it.  But told him had to do it.  So his mailbox is now 2.5GB  So essutil should get back more space until we upgrade the servers and Exchange over Thanksgiving weekend.

What would moving mail store to USB drives do exactly?  I know they are slow and just wondering for short term?  Not that we would do it.
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:FutureTechSysDOTcom
ID: 39639348
I would also consider moving your email offsite until Thanksgiving.  Maybe keep historical emails on your local server and have new ones come in to a hosted exchange server.
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LVL 5

Expert Comment

by:warddhooghe
ID: 39639357
the USB bus isnt capable of the amount of IOs needed.
I bet that kind of server might have usb 1.1
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Author Comment

by:to2007
ID: 39639361
Seth2740-
We have done the offline defrag using an external USB drive. it worked although slow.
 Is there a reason that should not be an option ?

Also what does the latency of external drive actually do to the workings of the Exchange Database etc?

Thinking of also shrinking the paging file to zero or can the paging file be run on the external USB drive or is that bad idea too?
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LVL 35

Accepted Solution

by:
Seth Simmons earned 800 total points
ID: 39639403
speeds are slower when it comes to usb connections and exchange doesn't like latency like that so you will have a big performance it.  not being a raid device also makes it extremely risky

if you specify an external drive during the offline defrag, yes it will be slower but i would look at event id 1221 in the application log to see what the white space is since it may not be advantageous if there is little white space

again, because of latency with external drives, very bad idea putting the page file there.  you will have severe problems if you disable it entirely - especially with exchange

you could try identifying the largest mailboxes and see if folks can export items to a pst file.  after that, if you schedule maintenance to run later in the day then check for event 1221 again.  if you're able to generate a respectable amount of white space then perhaps after hours dismounting and doing offline defrag using the external drive.  not ideal, but options are few and you'll have some breathing room

replacing the drives with larger ones is possible if your controller supports expanding the array
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Author Comment

by:to2007
ID: 39639449
no event 1221s to be found ?
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 39639451
do you have maintenance scheduled?
after it completes it will log that event in the application log
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Author Comment

by:to2007
ID: 39639459
thought so but guess not.  Where do I check it I am about top melt down confused :(
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LVL 35

Expert Comment

by:Seth Simmons
ID: 39639476
in ESM, expand servers then storage group
right click on the store and select properties
on the database tab it will tell you the maintenance schedule
you can customize it to run - say in the next hour or so then check the application log

just a thought though, with your disk space that low, is exchange even running?
if the databases are not mounted then maintenance won't run
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Author Comment

by:to2007
ID: 39639507
well think it is screwed.  Cant start ESM  get  
:system can't find the file specified:
Facility: Win32
ID No: c00700002

I reduced the page file to 16mb  maybe that caused this?  ESM was ok until just now after rebooted. ( I am also  doing this remotely through a Terminal Server that then does RDP internally to the Exchange Server

Exchange is running though as I can email myself back and forth from the admin email at the terminal server to my outside pop account?
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Author Comment

by:to2007
ID: 39639510
thinks I may change page file back and reboot again and see if ESM runs
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LVL 4

Expert Comment

by:FutureTechSysDOTcom
ID: 39639529
I think it's time to call a professional.
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Author Comment

by:to2007
ID: 39639581
yup   thanks
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