User's OST file keeps growing

We have a user who has an OST file that is 35 GB in size on a system that uses Outlook 2010. They only have 3 GB of free space left on their hard drive and we have cleared the system up as much as possible.

They are now having other problems associated with a Windows 7 system on a network that is running out of hard drive space.

We have run repairs on the OST, deleted the OST, tried new Mail profiles but we are having the same issue. We have created new OST files and changed the default but the other one still keeps growing.  Any assistance offered helping to solve this will be appreciated.
regsampAsked:
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Eric_PriceCommented:
OSTs, unlike PSTs are a (usually synced) copy of what is in their actual mailbox on the server

On the left side where their email address is (the very top of their collection of folders) if you right click there and go to properties (on 2013 its called Data File Properties)  you should see buttons for Folder Size. If you click that you should be able to see both Local Data and Server Data sizes.

If the server data is 35GB well, then you're going to have to delete some stuff off the server first. Otherwise, deleting the OST will just cause it to rebuild as it re-copies everything off the server.
regsampAuthor Commented:
"If the server data is 35GB well, then you're going to have to delete some stuff off the server first. Otherwise, deleting the OST will just cause it to rebuild as it re-copies everything off the server."  

Right. I am having them go in and try and do that now. Our users hate to delete anything as the Managers are notorious for wanting emails back from years ago.
Eric_PriceCommented:
SO, it sounds like there really is 35GB of stuff in there. Since it IS synced, I usually tell people (not in a legal / regulatory governed environment) to create a PST on an external USB drive and start moving emails out of the OST to the PST. As you do that, the files will be removed from the server as well.

Of course, then theyre no longer being backed up per se, and external drives have notoriously less resilience than server hard drives.

You only mention this for one user (sales by chance?) but if its a larger problem or you ARE in a regulated industry you may want to look at some automatic archiving solution. I've been happy with Mailstore. There are tons of solutions out there.
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regsampAuthor Commented:
I am having them also move their emails for each given year to a file server, in their own folders/pst folders with security set up. We can then backup the PST files. That is helping to reduce the size as well. It is only this one user so far that I have found. I just hope I don't have to compress it or move the OST file itself.
rindiCommented:
Do those users really need to have outlook running in cached mode? This would only make sense if the user isn't always connected to the exchange server via the LAN. So if it is a desktop PC, just turn off cached mode.

The only time it makes sense to use cached mode is when it is a laptop that isn't always connected to exchange, so the mails can still be viewed when offline.

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Eric_PriceCommented:
Sounds like you have it in hand. The problem with these kinds of solutions is they tend to be very reactionary and rarely convenient for the users or the helpdesk / admins. PSTs get unwieldy, and awkward to find that right email once multiple years go by. Thats one of the reasons I love a product like Mailstore.

http://www.mailstore.com/

its relatively inexpensive, and there is a little friction in getting emails out of the archiver once they go in, but on the plus side its a largely set it and forget it solution.

Hopefully, other people will chime in on solutions they have used and like.
regsampAuthor Commented:
I thought of doing that too Rindi. This particular user is on a PC and I tried explaining this setting and they just want to always be ready in-case their Manager ever needs anything and there is a problem with the server. Maybe I will just force them to do it.
Adam LeinssServer SpecialistCommented:
Ah, no, cached mode is a bit more than that.  It reduces processing load on the mail server by being able to sync just the changes in new mail versus downloading the whole mailbox each time.  That said: I have turned off cached mode for users that having problems, especially those accessing shared mailboxes.

Just delete the OST file and it will rebuild itself.
regsampAuthor Commented:
"Just delete the OST file and it will rebuild itself." I did but it still was large after and we did a new email profile.
rindiCommented:
Why should there be a problem with the server? You should be able to rely on your servers running.

Besides, you can of course archive old mail. But that probably won't help much as the archive pst's will be using the space that gets freed up from your mailbox, and stey should be on local disks, not on a shared drive on the server.
Adam LeinssServer SpecialistCommented:
So is the actual size of their mailbox 35GB when you look at it from Exchange?
regsampAuthor Commented:
"Besides, you can of course archive old mail." That is true. The Exchange server reports the mailbox at 2.0 GB.

I turned of cached mode, deleted the OST and now it seems to be better. They are not running out of hard drive space so I might be good.
regsampAuthor Commented:
"Sounds like you have it in hand. The problem with these kinds of solutions is they tend to be very reactionary and rarely convenient for the users or the helpdesk / admins. PSTs get unwieldy, and awkward to find that right email once multiple years go by. Thats one of the reasons I love a product like Mailstore."

Thank you for that Eric. Sorry I missed your contribution for a minute there. I appreciate it along with the rest.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
It does look like you have it handled.

However, if a 35 gig OST file is causing HD space concerns you need to take a look at what else the users are storing on their local hard drives.

With the size/price of HDs these days most computers come with disks that are at least 250 gig if not larger.  I don't even know if you can by a computer anymore with less than 500 gig of drive space.  Most come with 1 TB drives.

It sounds like you have an office full of pack rats.  I'd be willing to bet they have tons of files/documents/pictures, etc. that are the real culprits in the disk space crunch.

It's also important to remember that if they are storing important work-related files on their local drive, it's only a matter of time before the drive fails and they will lose anything local unless they are backing it up.
regsampAuthor Commented:
"It sounds like you have an office full of pack rats.  I'd be willing to bet they have tons of files/documents/pictures, etc. that are the real culprits in the disk space crunch."

You hit the nail on the head with that. They have so much on their systems it is unbelieveable. This system is a 150 GB solid state drive I believe. It is from back in the day when they were super expensive. They know they are not suppose to store work files locally so if they do and the drive goes, well it will be big trouble.
Jon DoeCommented:
Usually such large OSTs are the result of adding other mailboxes to your Outlook in cached mode. Outlook will combine all these mailboxes and add them to your personal OST, adding to their size. In such cases, you can uncheck 'download shared folders' or keep them on 'online mode' instead of cached. In online mode the clients connect to their mailbox directly to Exchange, there is no OST file.
regsampAuthor Commented:
Thank you for those great tips Sunit.
Jon DoeCommented:
You're welcome :)
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