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Managing Your Email Storage: Exchange Mailbox is Full

Managing Your Email Storage: Exchange Mailbox is Full

Microsoft Exchange has been the official email system at Auburn for more than 5 years. The migration from Groupwise to Exchange happened in 2011-2012. At that time, everyone was set up with a 10GB quota for email storage, a huge improvement from the Groupwise days. Some users have recently been getting messages that their storage is full, or approaching capacity.  The purpose of this document is to educate our users how to determine your Exchange usage and how to manage your email more effectively. 

Not all CLA users use the same program for reading and sending email. Microsoft Outlook 2016 for both Mac and PC are probably to most heavily used, followed by Mac Mail and the web-based Outlook Web App. Each system varies slightly, be certain you follow the instructions for your preferred system.

All mail in any Exchange Mailbox for more than 20 days is automatically archived to another system called NetMail Archive (https://mailarchive.auburn.edu/index.html) Once mail is archived in this system users cannot delete or move messages. The NetMail Archive is not as user friendly as Outlook; it is your primary backupfor email messages. One option you have for managing email is to delete any or all messages in your active Exchange account monthly, and rely on the Netmail Archiveto retrieve any messages that have been archived.

Checking Usage

Outlook 2016 for the PC, Click on the File Menu to open the settings area of Outlook 2016 for the PC. Then Cleanup Tools, then Mailbox Size to get a report of storage usage for the various Mailboxes you have created.  In the example below, ff the “aa Office File Mailbox” is deleted 11 MB (1000 KB = 1MB) of  space will be recovered. Scrolling the list will find the mailboxes that are taking the most space. The larger Mailboxes are where you should spend time recovering space. 

Screenshot to check storage quote for PC Outlook

 

Outlook 2016 for the Mac (right click on the Auburn Mailbox to open the menu to view Properties. Using the Storage Tab you can view the Mailboxes that take up the most space. If the Trash Archive Mailbox is deleted 4.1gb of space used by this account can be recovered. 

Screenshot to check storage details using Mac Outlook

Mac Mail Right Click on Inbox and select Get Account Information. Using the Messages on Server Tab you can view the Mailboxes that take up the most space. If the Trash Archive Mailbox is deleted 4.4gb of space used by this account can be recovered.  

Screenshot of Mac Mail to determine storage quota for exchange email

OWA(Outlook Web App) Login to OWA at cas.auburn.eduin the top right of the application next to your name is a gear icon, click it and you can view a bar graph of your mailbox usage. No detailed storage breakdown can be viewed using the web app. 

Screenshot showing email storage usage in the Outlook Web App

 

Recovering Space

It is not unusual for users to have tens of thousands email messages in their mailboxes. Like any file structure database, it is not the number of entries, but the size of the individual records. Mail Attachments are the single largest consumers of space in Exchange. Exchange limits the maximum attachment to about 20MB per message. Our suggestion for recovering space is to first delete any and all email messages you no longer need in your activeExchange folders, relying on the NetMail Archive to recall any messages that you may need in the future. After that, deleting attachments in your Mailboxes (primarily the Sent Mailbox) that are already stored on your system in other places, retaining the email message text and deleting just the attachment will save significant space. Remember, after deleting email messages, empty the Trash in Mail to fully recover the space. 

There are better ways to collaborate on documents of any type with others minimizing the need to email attachments. Changing workflows is a hard thing to do. It is very easy to share a file with co-workers using email. After all you want to convey why you are sending the file in the first place. That is best done in email, so while you are already sending an email you might as well also attach the file so it is all in one package. We do it all the time. A better file management habit is to place the document in the Box Cloud and then email a link to the file so the recipient(s) open the file on their computer, rather than in their email. Changes then are always stored in the Box Collaboration folder in a single document (with versions) rather that in back and forth email attachments with different versions of the document in each message. 

Outlook 2016 for the PC, Sort the Messages in a Mailbox either by Size or Attachment to get similar files together and select the files you want to modify. See image below. Select one of the attached files in the window and a contextual menu for Attachment Tools will open allowing you to save all the selected message attachments to a location outside of Outlook, or, to Remove Attachments.

Screenshot of Outlook PC application deleting attachments

 

Outlook 2016 for the Mac Sort the Messages in a Mailbox either by Size or Attachment to get similar files together and select the files you want to modify. See image below, Right Click on one of the selected messages and Choose Attachments, Remove All to delete the attached file, retaining the email message text for archival purposes inside of Outlook. 

Mac Outlook Delete attachments screenshot

Mac Mail Sort the Messages in a Mailbox either by Size or Attachment to get similar files together and select the files you want to modify. See image below. In the Message menu bar there is an option to Remove Attachments. This will delete the attached file, retaining the email message text for archival purposes inside of Mac Mail. 

Screenshot of Mac Mail delete attachments

 

OWA Other than deleting messages and emptying out the Trash folder, there is little more you can do in the Web App for managing mail. 

Project Clean-up

Reducing unneeded email in the manner described above is consistent with the Project Clean-up initiated by the Office of Information Technology to improve security and minimize risk of exposing sensitive data. More information about Project Clean-up is at http://www.auburn.edu/oit/projectcleanup/

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