"Your Mailbox Has Exceeded Size Limits"

This is one of those error messages that is fairly self-explanatory. It's telling you that your mailbox is too big, approaching or exceeding the quota that your mail administrator has set, and you need to trim it down.

One of the first things you may want to do is to try and figure out which folders are taking the most space. To do that, right-click the root of your mailbox (Probably has your e-mail address or user name) and choose "Data File Properties" or "Mailbox Properties". On that dialog box you should see a "Folder Size" button.  Click that and Outlook will prepare a little report that shows you how much space each folder is using.

How can you trim it down?

  • Archive some e-mails.  Move them to an information store (like a PST file) that is outside of your mailbox. This article might help: Using AutoArchive.
  • Delete some e-mails. If there are messages you don't need, delete them.  This article might help: Spring Cleaning for your Inbox.
  • Deleting them is only half the battle - you also should empty your Deleted Items folder.  Right-click the Deleted Items folder and choose Empty....
  • While you're emptying - empty your Junk E-mail folder too.  Same as Deleted Items...right-click it and choose Empty.
  • It's not just e-mail that fills up your mailbox in Microsoft Outlook. If you make extensive use of Calendar, Tasks or RSS items you might consider archiving off older items from those folders too.

When it comes to local PST files you may have to consider more than just your server quota...Older versions of Outlook (2002/XP and before) created binary formatted PST files that would tend to corrupt as they approach 2GB in size. If you're using an old version of Outlook like that, you should follow the steps above to keep your PST files safe. Also, periodically compact your PST files. How?

Right-click the root of your Information Store - that's the top level of your folder list which probably says "Personal Folders".

Outlook Personal Folders On the context menu that appears click "Properties" or "Data File Properties" (depends upon your version of Outlook) and on the dialog box that appears click "Advanced".  You should see a button marked "Compact Now" on there.  Click it and it will try to compact the data file.

Depending upon the size of the file and the speed of your machine, that can take several minutes.

Even if you're using a newer version of Outlook (2003 or newer) you can STILL have the 2GB limit problem if you're using an Outlook data file (.PST file) that was created with an older version of Outlook. It's the format of the file, not the version of Outlook that determines if you have the 2G limit or not.

If you're using a newer version of Outlook with an older version file, consider converting to a new, UNICODE, version PST file. There are instructions on how to do that here:  Troubleshooting Outlook - http://www.officeforlawyers.com/outlook/tsol.htm