Large exchange mailbox best practices / working with Exchange with MacMail

we're using SBS 2011 with the in-house exchange.  1 user complains that things are slow with mail (MacMail on a mac).  He has thousands of emails from the last 4 years in his inbox.

Would moving the emails into other folders in Exchange help improve performance?
Would moving the emails into folders in MacMail help improve performance?

He wants them around for searching every once in a while (so he wants them online / near online).

Does macmail let you make seperate folders in the exchange server?  All he has is the exchange inbox, sent folder and deleted folder.

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How much mail does the user have?

He could create a mail folder under his inbox and move older mail to it.  The search function will still search all mail in the inbox.  It will speed up general display of mail in the inbox.  You should be able to create mail folders.

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Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
macmail or office for mac and exchange is bad enough as it is without mailbox size issues.
mailboxes imo for optimal performance should be 3GB or less in windows computers. I would start there if I were you.

Moving mails into an archive file on macmail would help with the issue, you can check the users mailbox size on your exchange server by selecting properties on it work it out from KB to MB or GB as it is listed in KB.
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
Mark - 'moving mails into an archive on macmail...'   To be sure i understand - from what you are saying, the mail will come out of exchange and be stored on the mac at that point, right?  Then there's the stronger need to backup the mac along with the servier, right?

and you are saying macmail and exchange aren't a good combo?   'macmail or office for mac and exchange is bad enough as it is without mailbox size issues. '

Serial - not sure how much mail beyond the noting of thousands of items at the top of the view of the inbox.

And making a folder UNDER inbox.  Is that better than another folder at the same 'level' as inbox, deleted, etc?  Macmail can do that?  And then the mail stays in exchange.

2 opposite answers : (
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I've seen Mac Mail work with 10000 email in one folder.  It does slow down a little since it tries to display all headers for scrolling.  I currently have access to over that amount in just over a dozen folders.  I separated them, only because it got unwieldy for my own management.  It depends on how much RAM your system has.

It really depends on exchange.  I still have never used exchange, but I can create mail folders under aol, google and old sendmail.  Although, the old sendmail, was confused with subfolders when I tried deleting them afterwards.  There was some trick with moving them around before they could be deleted.  I've also created subfolders in Zimbra.
Mark BillExchange, AD, SQL, VMware, HPE, 3PAR, FUD, Anti MS Tekhnet, Pro EE, #1Commented:
If you have never used exchange then you wont understand the mailbox limits within it, once macmail is looking at the server and not a cache this is a mailbox issue. I doubt very much macmail has the ability to go into cached exchange mode.
Mac Mail is like any other standard stand-alone email client that downloads IMAP or POP mail to the local disk.  Even outlook downloads a copy of the mail to the local disk for searching and viewing.  It does not remain permanently connected to the server to view the mail directly on the server.  Like all mail clients, it connects periodically to update your mail on your local system.

I've also just created one of their "smart mailboxes" with over 12,000 mail, and it doesn't slow down at all.  The slowdowns I saw in the past were on much older systems.  I just never kept a single mail folder too large, because it unwieldy to scroll through.  Your user could create smart mailboxes and keep everything else untouched on the exchange server.  Smart mailboxes are just basically a permanent search window of mail.  You can make overlapping smart mailboxes.
BeGentleWithMe-INeedHelpAuthor Commented:
Mark, I've used exchange and think I understand it. What  are you thinking regarding the limits?

Serial - the smart mailbox doesn't move the emails out of the inbox so inbox still has lots of items, right?  I think he wants a regular mailbox to reduce number of items in inbox?  Either by making another folder n exchange and keep the mail on server but not in inbox.  Or archiving / move them off server onto his machine
Tim LapinComputer Consultant (Desktop analyst)Commented:
Many thousands of items in the Inbox is not a good thing, in general.  I did some research a while ago and found that some folders, such as the Inbox, should be kept "lean and mean".  The ideal number of items is around 1000, although I have had no trouble with Inboxes around 1300 to 2500 or so.

Please note that I said items and not a size.  Apparently, it is the number of emails that matter more than their size.  Of course, having huge attachments swallowing up one's account allocation isn't great either.

The solution for your user would be to create new folders that are peers of the Inbox.  Do not make child folders of the Inbox as that really doesn't change anything with regards to the Inbox itself.  Apple Mail seems to want to call folders "mailboxes", which is a bit misleading.  Regardless, the technique is to highlight the parent folder or box for the account and select "New Mailbox..." from the Mailbox menu.  Verify that the location is correct by using the drop down list from within that option.

Then, move the email messages in question to the new mailboxes as required.

See my article on Outlook 2011 for Mac for more info.  Although geared toward Outlook users, there is a good deal of useful stuff for all Exchange users.
The smart mailbox is not a real mailbox.  My intention there was to move everything out that's old and create smart mailboxes that has all the links to it.  I generally sort my mailboxes by year.

Apple mail does not use a true mbox format.  All mail is separated into individual files in individual subfolders, so whether you create a separate peer level folder would not affect the performance.  What you see when you view the mail folder is basically a search result produced of the folder you're viewing.  The point of folders is to limit the number of emails displayed in each "folder".  Apple Mail doesn't care whether you have real folders or not, since it's all just a search.  While you can sort to actual mail folders, the emails are still individual files.  The Smart Folders just do away with reorganizing the mail into actual folders and just gives you the results of the search across existing folders.

Thunderbird uses an mbox, and, if you've deleted mail, it just toggles the mail entry as deleted in the sqlite database.  You have to periodically compact the mail folders, to actually remove the mail entry, just to get improved mailbox folder performance.  You really do have to split off the mail or you have these large, monolithic mbox files.
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