What is the largest Outlook .pst file you ever encountered?

DeathmageDeathmage Banned Posts: 2,496
Hey guys,

So today at a client site I had a user complaining about slow email. They said it has been slow for year and I was perplexed since it's a new PC with a 4 TB drive, as the on-site technical guy said. I looked it over and it had 300 GB's of free space. They told me it had a virus....

This person's PC was the Director of Marketing and had been with the company since 1993 as used outlook with Windows 95 (or whatever it was called back then), but wasn't the most tech savvy person....

wait for it....

So I asked him some questions about his PC and he said he leaves his PC on all the time. He setup his email (he knows how to do that) from Rackspace (I called up Rackspace and they said his inbox was the largest in the company, 4 TB's in size) and then went on vacation for a week and came back and his PC was fine. During that time the on-site technical guy said the network was sluggish for about 3 days in that week then Wednesday it got better....

...something was hogging up all the bandwidth....

I look all over the computer, did a ccleaner, defraggler, virus scans, nothing out of ordinary. Then I opened up his Outlook....

Since 1993 he's NEVER DELETED HIS DELETED FOLDER!

He has 248,569 items in the folder, I asked him if he knew he had to confirm the deletion he said he had no idea...

So for the better part of 22 years he's never emptied his Outlook inbox. His .PST file was 3.6 TB's in size.... took 5 hours to delete the folder. Felt bad for that 4 TB hard drive, it was such a trooper...

it's funny too cause the last 4 PC's all died because the hard drive failed....I wonder why???? icon_razz.gif

On a positive note, they can reduce there Rackspace storage costs now. icon_wink.gif

That's a new PR record for me... icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Comments

  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    that is absolutely insane! LOL never even seen over 100GB. Any pictures of this? :)
  • DeathmageDeathmage Banned Posts: 2,496
    REMOVED UNNECESSARY QUOTE FROM PREVIOUS POST


    Yes on my phone, but I can never seen to get the picture to attach on chrome in my Samsung Note III, the popup window when you go to attach it like you do in Windows I guess doesn't open correctly on mobile devices. Will add them when I get home, I'm downtown currently.

    His inbox was equally as larger, he told me he needed to search emails....I joked with him....22 year ago...he said yup! ....I'm like icon_rolleyes.gif
  • TranceSoulBrotherTranceSoulBrother Member Posts: 215
    And I thought that the person we helped the other week who was still running Outlook 2007 with an 80 gb PST file was bad. Wow. Mind you, Army computers have been migrated to Office 2010 and now 2013 in the meantime.
  • jibbajabbajibbajabba Member Posts: 4,317 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Sent Items - another one of those no one ever empties ...
    My own knowledge base made public: http://open902.com :p
  • JasminLandryJasminLandry Member Posts: 601 ■■■□□□□□□□
    Wow that's crazy. The largest I've seen is around 65GB and it was horribly slow, I can't even imagine a 3.6TB file.

  • bpennbpenn Member Posts: 499
    jibbajabba wrote: »
    Sent Items - another one of those no one ever empties ...

    Yeah, definitely. Many people also dont realize there calendar can get crazy after awhile as its part of the .ost, also.

    But 3.6 TB?! I can only imagine the magnitude of facepalm you felt when you discovered that - like 10 on the richter scale-magnitude. DAMN.

    Most I ever saw was 125 GB by one user who has been employed here since '95.
    "If your dreams dont scare you - they ain't big enough" - Life of Dillon
  • markulousmarkulous Member Posts: 2,394 ■■■■■■■■□□
    I think the most I saw was 70GB. And that was someone that was keeping every single email for years and not emptying out their trash.

    Yeah, after 22 years, that makes sense. Can't believe it took that long for someone to notice it.
  • NetworkNewbNetworkNewb Member Posts: 3,298 ■■■■■■■■■□
    @=markulous

    Amazing he didn't notice and run into a bunch of problems before that
  • dhay13dhay13 Member Posts: 580 ■■■□□□□□□□
    i had a few guys that never deleted their emails either but nothing anywhere near that magnitude

    on another note, one of my co-workers said their email stopped. well it was still set up for the old '97 or whatever it was that had the 2GB limit. so i fix that and in the process notice his deleted folder is loaded but his inbox didn't have much in it. i asked him when the last time was he emptied his deleted folder and he said he can't. i asked why....ready??......thats where he saves all his important emailsicon_rolleyes.gif

    so i show him how to create folders in his inbox and spend the rest of my day moving them for him. wasn't really my job to do that but i liked the guy and he was obviously clueless
  • DeathmageDeathmage Banned Posts: 2,496
    Funny, that what this director said the deleted folder was for....he too had no idea how to make folders...after 22 years....the complete lack of curiousity and thought of not tinkering like us in IT do is just beyond my recognition.
  • TechGromitTechGromit GSEC, GCIH, GREM, Ontario, NY Member Posts: 2,044 ■■■■■■■■□□
    Were I work, the recently they created a rule no email older than 2 years old will be saved, it's automatically deleted after two years. Network Home drives are also capped at 5 GB. Users are free to have as much data on there computers as they want, but if the Hard Drive crashes, they are out of luck for anything not backed up to the network drives.

    When I worked at the FAA, online email was capped at 2GB you could have email for decades, so long as you cleaned up your email box to stay under the limit. Once you exceeded the limit, you could no longer receive new email. Of course you could back up your email locally to your Hard Drive.
    Still searching for the corner in a round room.
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, Microsoft USAMember Posts: 884 ■■■■■■□□□□
    What blows my mind is not the size of the PST. It's the length of time that he kept it intact. We have users that corrupt their PST's every 2 months it seems.

    But then again, we also have users that save their important emails inside of folders inside of their Deleted Items.
  • bpennbpenn Member Posts: 499
    REMOVED UNNECESSARY QUOTE FROM PREVIOUS POST


    My question is, since it is the deleted items, how do we know its not the deleted items of a .pst or the deleted items of the actual .ost?
    "If your dreams dont scare you - they ain't big enough" - Life of Dillon
  • GessGess CISSP, Server+, SCCM 2012, Project+; J.D. Member Posts: 144 ■■□□□□□□□□
    18GB was my record, and you blew through that. It was an HR person that uses her e-mail to store resumes and hiring packages. Congrats.
  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, Microsoft USAMember Posts: 884 ■■■■■■□□□□
    bpenn wrote: »
    My question is, since it is the deleted items, how do we know its not the deleted items of a .pst or the deleted items of the actual .ost?
    Our two guys who save all of their emails in deleted keep it on the Exchange server, because archiving to PST doesn't touch Deleted Items. We found out because we got a complaint that their quota was exceeded, and so the tech emptied the deleted items. Big mistake.
  • fmitawapsfmitawaps Banned Posts: 261
    Biggest .pst I ever saw was right around 30 GB. Emails going back 15+ years, the employee kept them because "they might need them someday".

    Facepalm.
  • ITBotITBot Senior Member Member Posts: 114 ■■■□□□□□□□


    It's always the PR users....
  • VeritiesVerities Member Posts: 1,162
    Deathmage wrote: »
    Hey guys,

    So today at a client site I had a user complaining about slow email. They said it has been slow for year and I was perplexed since it's a new PC with a 4 TB drive, as the on-site technical guy said. I looked it over and it had 300 GB's of free space. They told me it had a virus....

    This person's PC was the Director of Marketing and had been with the company since 1993 as used outlook with Windows 95 (or whatever it was called back then), but wasn't the most tech savvy person....

    wait for it....

    So I asked him some questions about his PC and he said he leaves his PC on all the time. He setup his email (he knows how to do that) from Rackspace (I called up Rackspace and they said his inbox was the largest in the company, 4 TB's in size) and then went on vacation for a week and came back and his PC was fine. During that time the on-site technical guy said the network was sluggish for about 3 days in that week then Wednesday it got better....

    ...something was hogging up all the bandwidth....

    I look all over the computer, did a ccleaner, defraggler, virus scans, nothing out of ordinary. Then I opened up his Outlook....

    Since 1993 he's NEVER DELETED HIS DELETED FOLDER!

    He has 248,569 items in the folder, I asked him if he knew he had to confirm the deletion he said he had no idea...

    So for the better part of 22 years he's never emptied his Outlook inbox. His .PST file was 3.6 TB's in size.... took 5 hours to delete the folder. Felt bad for that 4 TB hard drive, it was such a trooper...

    it's funny too cause the last 4 PC's all died because the hard drive failed....I wonder why???? icon_razz.gif

    On a positive note, they can reduce there Rackspace storage costs now. icon_wink.gif

    That's a new PR record for me... icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

    Did you at least leave his 1st email sent and/or received from 22 years ago.
  • motheomotheo Member Posts: 15 ■□□□□□□□□□
    Geez
    That is a big OST file..

    I am sure after the cleanup of the mailbox, the pc speed increased enormously.
  • JockVSJockJockVSJock Member Posts: 1,118
    What kills me is that Microsoft doesn't even stand behind their .pst files.

    Back in the day 2007/2008 time frame, their website said that they don't support .pst files. Around that time, I worked help desk support and we had users who had 4GB to 20-something GB size .pst files. I remember we have a VP called and I told him that we didn't support .pst files, the official policy, however that has never pushed out...That policy later got changed...

    I just glanced and their site and now they are saying they don't support .pst files across the network...
    ***Freedom of Speech, Just Watch What You Say*** Example, Beware of CompTIA Certs (Deleted From Google Cached)

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  • PJ_SneakersPJ_Sneakers CompTIA, EC-Council, ISACA, Microsoft USAMember Posts: 884 ■■■■■■□□□□
    PST's should not go across the network. They will corrupt quite often.
  • poolmanjimpoolmanjim MCSE, MCSA: 2016, MCSA: 2012 KC, KS, USAMember Posts: 285 ■■■□□□□□□□
    I worked at a place that the users' PSTs saved on their network shares. As the company grew we began to notice massive network traffic. We learned that Office actively communicates with the PST. It isn't a passive link that is only refreshed when someone accesses the PST's contents. Office actively updates and checks the PST file if it is hooked into Outlook and cause massive network issues if left on the network share. Furthermore, as PJ_Sneakers said it can corrupt the PST.

    Not sure if you're trying to run it across the network but there is a lot that can happen if it is hosted there. Keep it local and use scripts/policies/applications to do your backups of PSTs for those executives who must have their email from 22 years ago.
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  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAMember Posts: 4,174 ■■■■■■■■■□
    I'm shocked that his PST didn't go corrupt long ago and lose all of that data.

    When I was supporting Exchange, I had one department where someone had people use the Deleted Items folder like a filing cabinet. They would create a hierarchy of folders in there, and just save them forever.
    IT guy since 12/00

    Recent: 11/2019 - RHCSA (RHEL 7); 2/2019 - Updated VCP to 6.5 (just a few days before VMware discontinued the re-cert policy...)
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  • FastEthernetFastEthernet Member Posts: 26 ■□□□□□□□□□
    2GB. Back in the days when 2GB was the limit (Outlook 2000 or 2003). Outlook became completely unusable and it took me all day to sort out. Was sorted with some pst tools that chopped some of the size off, then a bit more when I realised I didn't chop enough off, then repaired it.

    Virtually all users never do any housekeeping when it comes to email. And I've encountered those silly people who delete emails, then leave it in the Deleted items folder in case they ever need to retrieve it again! When usually the first thing I would do is empty their Deleted items folder to speed things up.

    And one user at a very small business made me chuckle - every single email he received he would print out with utmost urgency, leap out of his seat like his chair was on fire, and file it in a filing cabinet. Even if the email was just a quick response saying "ok, thanks". icon_lol.gif
  • bpennbpenn Member Posts: 499
    And one user at a very small business made me chuckle - every single email he received he would print out with utmost urgency, leap out of his seat like his chair was on fire, and file it in a filing cabinet. Even if the email was just a quick response saying "ok, thanks". icon_lol.gif

    Wow... I literally can't even


    icon_eek.gif
    "If your dreams dont scare you - they ain't big enough" - Life of Dillon
  • crplhoodcrplhood Member Posts: 42 ■■□□□□□□□□
    Our little lenovo tinys start to fart out when that sucker hit about 30GB
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  • rsuttonrsutton Member Posts: 1,029 ■■■■■□□□□□
    Sounds like the company this guy works for needs a competent email admin.
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