SBS 2011 - need to recover space used by Exchange. Remove Exchange or remove EDB?

Hello -

I have a client running Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard.  Email has been moved to use Office 365 so there are no further dependencies on the SBS 2011 for email purposes.  

Disk space is at a critical level on the server.  The only way to free it up is by removing the space consumed by the Exchange EDB file.  

I am seeking recommendations as to the recommended practices to achieve this.

1.Should I uninstall the Exchange components from the server, and then remove the EDB file?  If so, can you furnish the steps to remove Exchange from SBS?

2.Should I delete the EDB file and let a new small file be created.  This way I don't remove Exchange which is tied closely with SBS.  If so, could you please furnish recommended steps for this process.  (I have already saved the EDB file elsewhere).

Thanks in advance,

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Run the following command in EMS:

Open in new window

It should show active mailboxes on the server, if case there are any left.
If nothing is returned, the most appropriate way of removing this big EDB file is:
1. Create a new mailbox database, also set logging to circular.
2. Move all the arbitration mailboxes to the new database.
3. Remove the original database.

If you don't maintain Hybrid between on-prem and Office365, you can safely uninstall the Exchange from the server.

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Adam BrownSr Solutions ArchitectCommented:
If no mailboxes for users remain on the database, it can be safely removed without issues. If it no longer shows up in Exchange, you can delete the file without causing problems. If the database shows up in exchange, check for arbitration mailboxes with this cmdlet in Exchange Management Shell:
get-mailbox -arbitration

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If you are truly, completely migrated to O365 (no mailboxes on the mailbox database other than arbitration mailboxes) you can deleted the arbitration mailboxes safely, then delete the mailbox database and its accompanied files. You do not need to create a new mailbox database, and Exchange can remain functioning without an database if you wish, but you can also create a new mailbox database if you wish.
Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
Don't remove Exchange from an SBS server if it's going to remain in production.

As all of the users are moved, then you can make a backup of the .EDB file and then remove it.  However, you will need to have a valid .EDB in place as the Exchange services should remain running so you aren't flooded with errors if Exchange is removed or the services are stopped.

You really should consider getting rid of SBS altogether.
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Marshal HubsEmail ConsultantCommented:
Agree with Scott C, you should make a backup of the .EDB file and then remove it.
realtimerAuthor Commented:
Thanks everyone.  All very helpful recommendations.  Have been letting customer to plan to migrate away from SBS at this point.
Client has done a "non-migration" move to Office 365.

I've removed remaining mailboxes from SBS along with arbitration mailboxes and deleted the mailbox database recovering adequate space for their functionality.

Thanks again!!
So, your customer administers both directories on-prem AD and Office365?
Or he's planning on decommissioning SBS completely?
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