Build Your Skills: Managing Exchange 2000 transaction logs and database files

Manually move store files and transaction logs to a different volume with the Exchange System Manager.

If you have experience administering Exchange Server 5.x, you’re no doubt familiar with the Exchange Optimizer, which analyzes the server and helps you restructure it. For example, you can use the Exchange Optimizer to move transaction logs, store files, and so on, to different folders. The Optimizer is no longer included with Exchange 2000 Server. Instead, you need to manually perform the tasks previously performed by the Optimizer. For example, if you need to move the store files and transaction logs to a different volume, you do so manually through the Exchange System Manager. In this Daily Feature, I’ll show you how you can manage and delete Exchange 2000 transaction logs and database files.

Working with transaction logs
Microsoft recommends that transaction logs be stored on different physical drives from one another for performance and recoverability. Because the transaction logs apply to all stores in a storage group, you can’t move one store separately from the others—you must move all of the stores to the same location. Before you start moving stores, however, understand that moving either your stores or transaction logs invalidates previous backups of those stores and logs. This is because the transaction logs store the path to the database files as an absolute path. If you move the store files, the transaction logs on the backup will still point to the old location, preventing you from recovering the store. You should make a backup immediately after moving the store files or transaction logs to ensure you can recover the store from tape, if necessary.

To move transaction logs or store files, open the Exchange System Manager, right-click the storage group, and choose Properties. On the General page, click Browse to choose the new location for the transaction logs and/or database files (system path location). The System Manager displays a warning regarding the potential problems associated with restoring a relocated store. Click Yes to move the store and/or logs. The System Manager dismounts the stores, moves the files as directed, and remounts the stores. At this point—or shortly thereafter—you should perform a backup on the storage group so you’ll have a recoverable copy on tape.

Deleting stores and storage groups
Occasionally, you might find that you need to delete a store or a storage group. For example, you might decide that a particular storage group you’ve been using for public folders is no longer needed. To free up space and improve performance, you decide to remove the storage group. You can only remove an empty store or storage group. So, the first order of business is to clean it out.

Deleting mailbox stores
Before you can delete a mailbox store, the store must be empty. How you handle the deletion depends on what the store contains. The following sequence will help you perform the deletion:
  1. Make a backup of the storage group so you can restore anything you might inadvertently delete.
  2. Move to another store any mailboxes that you need to keep that currently reside in the store you want to delete. Move the mailboxes to a different storage group if you’re going to delete the entire storage group. Otherwise, you can move the mailboxes to another mailbox store in the same group.
  3. After you’ve moved or deleted the mailboxes from the store, right-click the store in the System Manager and click Delete.
  4. If there are outbound messages waiting in the SMTP queue, the System Manager displays a warning and gives you the option of either canceling or deleting the messages. If you choose the latter, the System Manager lets you pick a store to use as the inbound queue for the messages, enabling you to essentially redirect the messages through another store.
  5. If the store contains messages encrypted by the Key Management Service (KMS), you need to reconfigure the KMS to use a different mailbox store. System Manager will then be able to delete the messages.
  6. After the store is empty, right-click the store and choose Delete.
  7. After System Manager deletes the store, manually remove the associated database files from the server.

Deleting public folder stores
You delete public folder stores in much the same way you delete a mailbox store. There are three primary considerations for deleting a public folder store:
  • Last/only store for public folder tree: You can’t delete the public folder store if it is the last or only public folder store for the selected public folder tree.
  • Default public folder store for mailbox stores or users: If the public folder store is the default store for any mailbox stores or users, you can’t delete the public folder store.
  • Contains the only replica of one or more folders: If the public folder store contains the only replica of a folder, you can delete the store, but the folder will be lost unless you replicate the data to another store. The System Manager displays a warning message if the store contains unreplicated folders.

After you address these three issues, open the System Manager, right-click the store, and choose Delete to delete it. As with the mailbox store, you’ll need to manually remove the database files associated with the deleted store.

Deleting storage groups
After you’ve removed all mailbox and public folder stores from a storage group, you can delete the group. In the Exchange System Manager, locate and right-click the storage group you want to delete, then choose Delete. System Manager deletes the group if it’s empty or displays an error if it is not.

Not everything improves when new software versions appear. In Exchange 5.5, Microsoft provided the Exchange Optimizer to help keep your Exchange transaction logs and database files neat and tidy. Now you have to do it yourself. In this Daily Feature, I’ve shown you how.
The authors and editors have taken care in preparation of the content contained herein but make no expressed or implied warranty of any kind and assume no responsibility for errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for any damages. Always have a verified backup before making any changes.

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