Exchange server stopping mail transport

3 times in the last week I've arrived in the office to find our email not working.
When I log on to the Exchange 2003 server, there is a yellow warning icon in the system tray notifying me of low virtual memory.
I restart the server and everything is OK.
In trying to find out why this is happening, I've discovered that the Mail store is 82GB (well above the 75GB limit of Exchange Standard).
Apart from asking users to manage their mailboxes, what else can I do to reduce the size of the mail store?

I need this server to continue functioning for a few more months while we discuss Hosted vs On-premise Exchange 2013.

It is a Windows Server 2003 Standard running Exchange 2003 Standard.
We have all latest updates installed, 4GB RAM.
I have 3-6GB virtual memory set. And I'm using the /3GB and /userva switches in the boot.ini.
There is a few more than 60 users in total.
I have deleted items retention for 1 week.  Logging on for track & trace, and a 2GB mailbox size limit.

Thanks in advance
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Reece DoddsAsked:
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JurajUQUConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Can you allocate more memory than 6GB? Usually a good practice is to have double the amount of your actual RAM or to let the system manage it by itself.

Exchange 2003 doesn't have the same requirements but 2013 has 30MB of RAM for each user which in your case would make almost 2GB. If some takes the system which grows after each user access, you're just running out of memory.

If you don't want to invest into RAM, reboot the server or at least the Exchange services regularly which should resolve the issue.
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Reece DoddsAuthor Commented:
So you think adding more physical RAM and allocate more HDD to Virtual Memory will stop this problem?  
What about the Exchange store limit and the frequent dismounting?

Store size limit warning
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JurajUQUCommented:
That won't resolve it but expanding the size in registry will.
http://www.petri.co.il/change_store_size_limits_ex2003_sp2.htm


You could also create another store and migrate some of the users there although if you're planning to move to a different solution soon, you might not want to bother.
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Reece DoddsAuthor Commented:
The store size limit was increased a year or so ago.  In my question, I say that the DB is 82GB (above the 75GB limit).  
I also said that it's Exchange 2k3 standard.  Standard is limited to one mail store.
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JurajUQUConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Aah, right. Then the only thing to do is to restrict users even further down from 2GB to 1GB and only allow certain users (bosses and managers) to have 2GB. You've reached the license restrictions so there isn't anything else you can do unfortunately.
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Reece DoddsAuthor Commented:
What about reducing the deleted mail retention, or reducing historical logging...?
Will either of these reduce the .edb and .stm file sizes?

I've already cracked the whip about mailbox maintenance and have dropped 3.5Gb by showing users how to Archive...  I'll do what you suggested and reduce the size limits for the "peons" and leave the others at 2GB.
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JurajUQUConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If you have backups running daily, they do remove the logs automatically so everytime you run it, they'll get deleted. I run backups every hour on a mail server but they get deleted only once a day. With Windows backup it might be different.

If you've ben around for a while, your users might have emails in deleted folders going far back so changing the policy might help for sure but make sure you have your backups handy as some users (at least from my experience) go through it at occasions trying to locate some old email they 'filed'.

Btw do you have any deleted users/mailboxes? Archive their copies and remove their mailbox completely.
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Reece DoddsAuthor Commented:
The domain has been active since 98 and this server was built in 2009.  I've always had the deleted items retention at 3 days until about 12 months ago when I increased it to 7 days.
I might have to reduce it again.
We've gained about 20 users in the last year, so things have grown a lot...
With the deleted users, I forward their account for 3 months and export everything to a local PST for backup then empty their account.  After 3 months I delete the account from the server, and then after 6 months, remove their mailbox.

I think the issue here is that we've hit the limits for both the software and the hardware we have.   Hence the discussion of hosted vs another on-premise...

Thanks for your help mate
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JurajUQUCommented:
You've got good policies in place and unfortunately not much you can do about it at this stage.

Good luck with the decision making - it's a tough one and usually comes down to money...
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