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Exchange 2003: Reduce database size

November 13th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Deleted some accounts or cleared a load of emails from your Exchange server and wondering why the database size hasn’t reduced?

Well, after you’ve deleted Exchange accounts, you need to run the Cleanup Agent for them to actually be removed (and then only after the waiting period, typically 30 days, has passed).

To change the deleted mailboxes waiting period: In Exchange System Manager go to the First Storage Group, right click on your Mailbox Store and click Properties. On the Limits tab, at the bottom, change the number of ‘Keep deleted mailboxes for (days)’.

To run the Cleanup Agent: In Exchange System Manager, go to your Mailbox Store, right click on the Mailboxes folder and click Run Cleanup Agent.

The space you’ve cleared will only be available after the next online defrag has completed (typically overnight). However, the Exchange database files won’t actually be any smaller. Exchange keeps the space in it’s databases ready to use for new emails. You can see how much free space your Exchange server is holding by viewing your Exchange servers Application Event Log (in Event Viewer). Look for the Event ID 1221 that has your Mailbox Store name in it (not the Public Store). The Event description will tell you the megabytes of free space.

To actually make the Exchange database files smaller you need to run an offline defrag. This can only be done during downtime and really isn’t recommened unless you have a lot of free space in your database to release. To run you need to detach your Mailbox Store and run the Eseutil utitlity. More info can be found here.

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