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What's the best way to set Exchange mailbox size limits?

Get tips and expert advice on the best way to set Exchange mailbox size limits for users.

How do I go about setting Exchange mailbox size limits for users?

How to set Microsoft Exchange mailbox size limits is an important consideration for administrators. The decision doesn't have to be a political one, and there are a few good rules of thumb to follow.

There are three popular ways to set mailbox size limits: using flat per-user limits, tiered limits or by analyzing users' real-time usage.

More resources on Exchange mailbox limits

Download Microsoft Exchange Server User Monitor

Learn about reporting tools for analyzing Microsoft Exchange usage

Learn about the "Mailbox size limit exceeded" error message

Read about managing mailbox storage limits

Get information about Exchange mailbox quotas

To calculate a flat per-user limit, just take the total size of the available Exchange Server message store space and divide that by the total number of users in your organization. This will give you a number that you can use as a starting point for how large your Exchange Server mailboxes should be.

To determine a tiered limit, what you would want to do is to split some end users into groups and figure out what the total usage for each group should be. For example, one group could consist of department heads (who typically send and receive more email than other users) and another group could be regular employees.

A third way to handle mailbox limits is by analyzing real-time usage. See how much email a user is actually using, consult with them, and set a limit based on that. If you have a large organization, you may not have time to consult with each user, so you would just want to stick with usage statistics.

Whichever one of these three methods you use for determining a user's Exchange mailbox size limit will be better than choosing a random amount that doesn't match usage or needs. Invest a little time into figuring out how much space is actually required, and you will save your company time, database storage and money in the long run.

Note: This tip is a compilation of advice from various experts on our site.

This was last published in February 2012

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