Exchange Store Database Size Exceeded

I received reports from users with a Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 server running Microsoft Exchange Server (Version: 6.5.7638.1) that Outlook was displaying a "disconnected" message in the bottom right-hand corner of their screen and that they could not access shared calendars or contact lists. Nor were Outlook rules that normally process spam working. Internal mail, which is handled by the Exchange server was not being processed, though external mail, which they retrieve from a POP3 server, was accessible.

The Microsoft Exchange Information Store was listed as "started". I stopped it and restarted it, which resolved the problem. To do so, you can take the following steps:

  1. Click on Start.
  2. Select Administrative Tools.
  3. Select Services.
  4. Scroll through the list of services, until you see Microsoft Exchange Information Store. It will have a descripton of "Manages the Microsoft Exchange Information Store. This includes mailbox stores and public folder stores. If this service is stopped, mailbox stores and public folder stores on this computer are unavailable. If this service is disabled, any services that explicitly depend on it will fail to start." To restart it, right-click on it and choose Restart or double-click on its entry in the services list and then click on the Stop button and, once it has stopped, click on the Start button to restart it.

Restart Microsoft
Exhange Information Store

The problem recurred a few days later. Restarting the Microsoft Exchange Information Store again resolved the problem. When I looked in the system's Application Event Log (accessible by Start, Administrative Tools, then Event Viewer), I saw the following entry:

Event Type:	Error
Event Source:	MSExchangeIS Mailbox Store
Event Category:	General 
Event ID:	9689
Date:		10/23/2006
Time:		5:00:02 AM
User:		N/A
Computer:	S
Exchange store 'First Storage Group\Mailbox Store (S)': The logical size of this
database (the logical size equals the physical size of the .edb file and the 
.stm file minus the logical free space in each) is 18 GB. This database size 
has exceeded the size limit of 18 GB. 

If the logical size of this database is not reduced to less than the maximum 
size limit, this database will be dismounted the next time a database size 
check is performed. 

For more information, click

I then remembered that Exchange has an 18 GB limit on the maximum size of the database that holds mail for Exchange users. This seems a very small size for a server that will handle multiple users and makes me wonder what the Microsoft Exchange developers were thinking when developing a email product to be deployed in an enterprise environment to think 18 GB would be adequate. But then Outlook itself has had a 2 GB limit for personal storage files, i.e. .pst files. I've had two users reach that 2 GB size at which point their PST files became corrupted.

A Microsoft TechNet article titled Database Size Limit Configuration and Management states that "By default, the database size check happens at 05:00 (5:00 A.M.) every day." That matches the time for the application event log entry on October 23, which is included above. Users found that Outlook was indicating it was disconnected when they arrived for work that morning. When I went to View, selected Filter and filtered the application log entries to only those with event id 9689, I found two, one on October 20 ant 5:00 A.M. and the other at the same time on October 23, which matched the two reports from users, though they did not see the problem until they came in a few hours later.

When I checked the priv1.edb file that is the file for the Exchange Information Store, I found it was 17.6 GB (18,903,277,568 bytes) after I restarted it. I emptied the deleted items folders for 3 users, two of whom had thousands of messages in their deleted items folders, but that did not seem to significantly reduce the size of the information store file.

The Database Size Limit Configuration and Management article on Microsoft TechNet has instructions on how to modify the registry to increase the database size as does the article Explaining the Database size limit changes in Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 by Henrik Walther. Microsoft's Help and Support website also has an article titled Online Defragmentation Does Not Reduce Size of .edb Files that explains how to use the eseutil command to defragment the edb file and reduce its size


  1. How to Restart the Microsoft Exchange Information Store Service
    Microsoft TechNet
  2. Explaining the Database size limit changes in Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2 By Henrik Walther
    June 5, 2006
  3. Database Size Limit Configuration and Management
    Microsoft TechNet
  4. Online Defragmentation Does Not Reduce Size of .edb Files
    Microsoft Help and Support
    April 25, 2005


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Created: Tuesday October 24, 2006