Microsoft Exchange 2003 – Mailbox Limits

Introduction to Exchange 2003 – Mailbox Limits

Just for a minute, let us take a contrary view – why would you NOT set up Exchange mailbox limits?  Would you say, no time, no need, or cannot be bothered?  Well I am not convinced.  I prefer to have control over the disk space consumed by the Exchange databases.  So I would always advise setting mailbox limits – even high limits, because it encourages good house keeping and makes the point that you are in control.

Topics for Exchange 2003 – Mailbox Limits


Storage Limits:Mailbox Storage Limits Warnings Exchange 2003

As with disk quotas, mailbox limits are charged to the owner of the data.  Amongst Exchange administrators, the main debate is whether to set the warning at 50% of the mailbox limit or whether 80% would be more effective.  (I vote for 80%).  Remember that the units are in KB (not MB!).  Here are the three settings, you probably need to set them all:

Issue Warning

Prohibit send

Prohibit send and receive

Guy Recommends:  SolarWinds’ Free Bulk Mailbox Import ToolFree Download Bulk Mailbox Import Tool

Import users from a spreadsheet, complete with their mailbox.  Just provide a list of the users with the fields in the top row, and save as .csv file.  Then launch this FREE utility, match your Exchange fields with AD’s attributes, click and import the users.  Optionally, you can provide the name of the OU where the new mailboxes will be born.

There are also two bonus tools in the free download, and all 3 have been approved by Microsoft:

  1. Bulk-import new users and mailboxes into Active Directory.
  2. Seek and zap unwanted user accounts.
  3. Find inactive computers.

Download your FREE bulk mailbox import tool.

Places in Exchange 2003 to set mailbox limits

True to form, Microsoft provide 3 ways to configure these settings.  In the case of mailbox limits, my advice is make it your reflex to use Exchange’s System Policies and so control your mailstores centrally.  Incidentally, by planning multiple stores, you could set different limits for different users.  Here are the 3 ways to set mailbox limits.

  1. System Policies folder – New Mailbox policy.
  2. Server (Icon) – Mailbox Store.  If Exchange 2003 System Policies are set then the storage limits on the mailbox will be greyed out.
  3. Individual user properties tab – It is possible to over-ride settings on the Mailbox store by configuring the account properties in Active Directory Users and Computers. right-click the user, properties, then click Exchange General tab. Let me suggest one account where you could give extra large limits – your very own account.


Tip Add / Remove Column - Storage Limits  Storage Limits Mailbox Add / Remove Columns Exchange 2003If you need a quick check on how much space email is taking, launch the Exchange System Manager, navigate to the Mailboxes, click the View Menu (Top), Add Columns to the Mailboxes container.

If you like this tip, look out for other Windows objects where you can adjust the Add / Remove Columns, for example, Active Directory Users and Computers.


Your users will expect their administrator to set Mailbox limits, so do not disappoint them!  The best way would be to create a System Policy which you then attach to the Exchange 2003 mail stores.  However, when you are troubleshooting, remember to check other locations such as the user’s properties settings, Exchange General tab.

If you like this page then please share it with your friends


See Also