Archiving and Reducing Exchange Mailboxes and Stores (Part 1)

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With todays reliance on email, many people use outlook as there filing system. Its not to uncommon to find 10GB+ mailboxes. This is becoming a common problem for many exchange administrators because they have no way to deal with the shear size of these mailboxes. Outlook archive system isn’t sufficiant, because most time the PSTs it creates do not properly archive and isn’t centralally located which causes a nightmare when looking for archived emails.

  • Find the total size of your mdb file (ex.100 GB) and compare to your Exchange server folder size. This should be the same or close to it. I have seen instances where the Exchange log files spin out of control and accumulate a ton of space. If this is the case please consolidate your log files by doing a proper exchange backup (Backup Exec, Ntbackup **server2003**, Acronis for Exchange, etc…). DO NOT USE A IMAGE BACKUP, as this does not consolidate exchange logs.
  • Run the following command from Exchange Management Shell (exports mailbox list with size to c:mailboxsize.txt)
    • Get-MailboxStatistics -Server EXCHANGESERVER | Sort-Object TotalItemSize -Descending | ft DisplayName,@{label=”TotalItemSize(MB)”;expression={$_.TotalItemSize.Value.ToMB()}},ItemCount >c:mailboxsize.txt
  • After finding the large mailboxes you can find what folders are taking up the most space in that mailbox. Run this from EMS (Exports folder list of specific mailbox to c:mailboxfoldersize.csv)
    • Get-MailboxFolderStatistics -Identity USERNAME -FolderScope “All” | select @{n=”DisplayName”;e={$mbx.displayName}},FolderPath,ItemsInFolder,@{n=”FolderSize(MB)”;e={$_.folderSize.toMB()}} | export-csv c:mailboxfoldersize.csv
  • From here you will be very informed of who or what is taking up all that exchange space. Sometimes it’s a simple export to PST from the server to clean inbox and sent items. Other times users still need direct access to those archived files and I’d recommend using a 3rd party software like GFI Mailarchiver for this. If you can’t spend any money, you could attach the PST to the mailbox via mapped drive, but this is NOT recommended, because the user has a tendancy to change or add email to the PST which isn’t good.