Dealing With “Mailbox Is Over Its Size Limit” Error In Outlook 2003

If you are familiar with Outlook 2003 then you might know that the program is hosted on a server and that all of the mail that comes into your inbox is stored on this server. Well for storage purposes the server normally is set to limit the amount of email stored for each user on the server. Once a user exceeds this limit they can no longer send or receive email messages. This can cause all sorts of problems for users, but there is a solution so you can stop this from happening and still be an email packrat!

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We are going to create a personal folder file so that you can store all of your old emails (which you will probably never need) onto your local machine. This means that all of those precious emails will no longer be hosted on the server they will be on your hard drive in your PC on your desk. This prevents you from filling up your limited space on the server. I do recommend any IMPORTANT emails stay on the server until they are no longer must have email; this will prevent you from ever losing the important data.

The first step in this process is to go to the top of your Outlook 2003 and chose File, in this drop down menu you will find an option “Data File Management” click this. This will open the Outlook Data Files window, you get a few options to choose from and we want to click the Add button. This will open another window with a couple of choices; we want the first option that is labeled Office Outlook Personal Folders File (PST) and click OK. When you click the OK button then it will open a window where you need to name the file and save it by clicking the OK button. In the next window you can change the name of the personal folder if you want, you can also choose a password to protect the folder, but I leave it at the defaults and click OK and it will take you back to the Outlook Data Files window and you can click Close.

Now if you look at your Outlook email pane window you will see that there is now a Personal Folders file folder in the pane. This may be different if you changed the name of the Personal Folder, if you did change that then look for a folder with the name you specified.

Now you have the folder, which is great, we are getting close to where we need to be. The next step is to move all of your files/emails to this new folder that you created. In essence we are taking the files from the server and putting them onto your hard drive in your machine. You can simply drag and drop all items you want to move over to the personal folder, or if you want duplicate copies you can copy and paste the items. If you do decide to copy and paste you may still run into the error of having to much stuff in your Inbox, I suggest taking any emails that aren’t from the past week and putting them into corresponding folders in the Personal Folder that we created. This will take the load off of your inbox and the exchange server. Be sure to check you sent items folder as well this is where a lot of users get tripped up, they don’t realize Outlook is sending a copy of every message they sent. You can drag and drop these emails into the personal folder as well and they will be saved for you.

You will also want to be sure that as your Inbox receives messages you go in and clean it up from time to time. Make sure you move old stuff to your personal folder so it doesn’t crowd your limited space on the exchange server. If you do a weekly clean up of your Inbox and move all the old stuff to the folder we created you probably won’t ever have a full inbox and can avoid all the issues that come with filling up your free space on the server.

About Emma

Emma Logan is the content coordinator of Beverly Lahaye Institute. She’s been freelancing for many years and now focuses on WordPress development and blog design