I got a problem with a old exchange server, where a user tried to send a 750mb email with a lot of images in it.

After he did that, the server stops responding. A reboot helps for a short time, but then it begins to lock up again.

He cannot open Outlook to remove the email there, because as soon as he opens Outlook, the server goes down.

What should I do?

It is Exchange 2000 (Maybe 2003), and Outlook 2000 (He also tried with 2007) on a Windows 2000 server.

  • Does your system allow for such large messages? Does Exchange 2000 even support that? 2003 has a built-in limit of 50MB, at least through the GUI. Aug 17, 2012 at 9:37
  • I have no idea, nor do I have an idea how to check it, as the software is from when I left the kindergarten ;-)
    – Frederik
    Aug 17, 2012 at 9:39

2 Answers 2


If you can stop all connections to the server to limit Exchange doing anything else (pull the network cable if you have to) then try use exmerge to delete.

While the deletion is running use something like Process Explorer to see what the system is up to. If there's lots of IO and CPU usage by Exchange it might just be taking a long time to load/move/delete the message and needs to be left working at it for a little while.

If the message is causing an actual fault in the server exmerge would probably hit the same thing. If all else fails I'm guessing there are people in the world who know how to mess with the SQL database directly??

ps. set sensible message size limits!

  • Thanks for your reply. The user just told me that he deleted that email himself, and everything seems to run fine by now. Will try your provided tools if it fails again.
    – Frederik
    Aug 17, 2012 at 9:18
  • @FrederikNielsen You really need to put some size limits in place as recommended. Aug 18, 2012 at 19:15
  • @ShaneMadden But will a size limit prevent the user from creating the email? I know it prevents him from sending it, but wouldn't he be able to actually create it?
    – Frederik
    Aug 19, 2012 at 12:28

Firstly, whether Exchange crashes or not, that's the least of your worry. You need to train the [bleep] who thinks it's okay to send 750MB email.

Setup a new profile on Outlook, should do the trick.

  • It seems to have gone to itself again. At least everything seems to work again. And yes, i spoke with very large words to the [bleep] who thought he could send a 750MB email.
    – Frederik
    Aug 17, 2012 at 9:16

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