Where is my email?

“But all of my email is important!! “  I’ve heard this many times when explaining to clients the need to reduce the size of their mailbox.

Email has become one of the most important forms of data a company possesses.   Much of a company’s communication consists of emails.  Email attachments contain data that is sometimes not saved anywhere else.  In certain situations it is important that these attachments stay with the original email because it provides a time stamp for the changes made to the attached file.

Because attachments are growing in size and email is being used with ever-increasing frequency, mailboxes are growing larger and larger.  Microsoft Exchange 2003 email server has limits in place for the size of the entire email database.  It does not take very long for unrestricted growth of a few mailboxes to cause the email database to reach its limit.  With Exchange 2007 and 2010 this size restriction has been larger removed.  Even without the database size limit, it’s recommended that a database is restricted in its growth in order for it to be easily backed up and maintained.

When using Microsoft Exchange, mailbox size restrictions can be implemented.  This forces users to keep the size of their mailbox below a predefined limit or be blocked from sending and receiving email.  Users have the option of archiving email out of their mailbox and into a PST file kept on their local computer or on a network share.  Archiving can be performed based on the date of the email.  For example a user may choose to archive all email older than 6 months.  One of the downsides to keeping email in a PST file is that they can become corrupted especially if the PST file becomes large.  In addition PST files are extremely hard to manage because they are controlled by the user and can reside on the local computer or wherever the user specifies.   Another option for reducing the size of a mailbox is to run the Mailbox Cleanup Wizard found in the Microsoft Outlook client.  This allows the user to search their mailbox for large emails and either delete the email or remove the attachments from the email.  Because most email consists only of text, removing attachments and then saving the email is an effective way of reducing the overall size of the mailbox. 

With Exchange 2010, Microsoft has introduced some exciting new options for email management.   Exchange 2010 offers an online archive mailbox.  This archive mailbox takes the place of local PST files.  The archive mailbox is a separate mailbox and with Service Pack 1 (due out later this year) for Exchange 2010 it is stored in an entirely separate email database.    This means the archives can be centrally managed on the server and tracking down archive PST files, on individual computers or scattered over the network, will no longer be necessary.  Users will be able to look through their archived email using Outlook 2007/2010 and Outlook Web App.  The result is access to archived email from anywhere.  Thinsolutions has the experience to help you with mailbox management as well as email migration if you are interested in moving to Exchange 2010.

– Luke C. Neuman


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