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If your mailbox size is growing exponentially and/or you have been warned that you are near or at your quota limit a mailbox clean-up may be needed.

These are some methods that can reduce the size of your mailbox. Consider these suggestions and determine which are appropriate for the items in your mailbox as only you can fully understand the nature of your data.

Empty Deleted Items

Messages in the Deleted Items folder count towards your quota. Empty the Deleted Items folder regularly if these items are not needed.

After the items have been removed from your Deleted Items folder they will go into a special Recoverable Deleted Items area for 60 days. During that 60 day period they will not count against your quota but you can self-recover them through Outlook or Outlook Web App if required.

Delete Attachments from Sent Items

Emails with attachments use the most space. Review your Sent Items folder for emails with attachments that you no longer need in email that you can delete. For example:

  • A file you have sent someone where you have since sent them an updated version
  • A file you have sent someone but you have a copy of it, or can save a copy, for yourself elsewhere, e.g. on a file server
  • A file you have sent someone as a way to transfer it to them but you don’t need to keep the file in your email

Note: If you need to keep the body of the email with the date and time but not the attachment itself, Microsoft Outlook software will allow you to keep the email but delete the attachment. To do this open the email from your Sent Items folder, right click the attachment and click “Remove Attachment”.

Export then Delete Received Attachments

Documents that need to be kept for you or your group should be saved to a file server. Email servers are designed for communication, file servers are designed for file storage, access and search. After saving the file consider deleting the attachment from the email.

Documents that are being kept because they are official university records should be transferred to Trim. Then consider deleting the attachment from the email.

Consider Deleting Discussion List Emails

If you are a member of a discussion list it may not be necessary to keep all emails sent to the list as not all conversations might be interesting or relevant to you.

If the discussion list always puts a particular keyword in the message Subject or is sent from the same address each time it is possible to sort by this information to find the list’s messages and then delete those emails that aren’t required.

Delete Log Files

Some people regularly receive automatically generated system log files. Please purge emails containing logs that are no longer required. If these log files need to be kept consider saving them on a file server instead or in a PST.

Delete or Archive Old Emails

As the age of an email increases it is typically accessed less frequently to not at all. Most emails that are accessed are those sent or received in the last few months. If your mailbox size is growing exponentially or you have been warned about your mailbox size, older emails should also be subject to clean-up.

Some of your old emails may simply be ready to be deleted. Other emails that haven’t been accessed in some time, that you no longer expect to need but that you’re not comfortable deleting in case can be moved to a PST file for archive purposes. In Outlook, emails in PST file folders will look like those in your mailbox however they are stored in a separate file and not in your mailbox so they don’t count against your quota.

For recovery in the event of data loss a PST file should be closed and backed up to a file server or, preferably, CD/DVD. PST files can only be backed up while they are closed. Therefore if the PST is on a file server it should be kept closed and only opened and read from for the duration necessary. PST archives usually contain rarely accessed content so this is not normally a problem. If the PST has been backed up to CD/DVD, not changing the contents of the PST file after backup would prevent the need for updated copies to be burnt to disc.

If you require assistance in archiving your mail to PST please contact your local IT support.