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Because of some connectivity problems I was having, I had to re-image my work PC a few weeks ago. I had PSTs on the disk that archived all my mail going back to around the days I started working for my company. You already know where this is going. :-(

Fortunately, because our company's backup solution is way better than mine, I can still recover everything I lost. The only problem is that they make daily backups, and I don't remember the days I emptied my mailbox on. I do know that I always emptied my mailbox whenever Outlook told me that my quota was reached.

With that said, is there an attribute or flag in Active Directory or Exchange 2003 that marks when a user's quota has been exceeded, and if so, is there any way to use that to find all dates when this quota has been reached? This is a pretty tall order (i.e. hard to research on Google), so I understand if this isn't possible.


Carlos Nunez

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This is why miniscule mailbox limits and forcing users to archive mail on local disks is such a false economy, storage on the Exchange server (or on one of the many Exchange archiving servers sold by 3rd parties) is so much cheaper than users regularly irretrievably losing all their mail when their machine dies. – GAThrawn Sep 1 '10 at 8:58
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The one place this would be recorded would be the Event Log on the mailbox server in question. Near as I can figure, there aren't any event types for Exchange that refer to users running out of quota. The Exchange Administrator can kind of fake this by using Message Tracking to figure out when the emails associated with hitting quota-limits got sent out, but that depends on how long they're keeping logs. It'll take some detective work.

It's for this reason that I've built a powershell script that gathers quota information and populates a database with what it sees. Its useful for tracking per-user quota growth patterns, as well as just these kinds of high-water-mark searches.

Depending on what version of Exchange is in use, and if the system is configured for it, you might be able to recover mails from 'Recover Deleted Items'. That can be reached:

  • Go to the Trash
  • Go to Tools
  • Go to 'Recover Deleted Items'

That list can be sorted by delete-date, which will be useful in recovering Oops deletions. This can also be done per folder, but direct-deletes from folders are somewhat rare.

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