If you move or delete mailboxes from an Exchange 2010 database they are not fully deleted upon completion of the move. Instead of being deleted, they are marked as „soft-deleted“.

If you want to delete them completely (to mark the space as free in the databse), you have to use the Exchange Management Shell:


To see which mailboxes are Disabled ore Soft Deleted you have to run the following comand, where DB3 is the databse you want to check:


To purge the mailboxes from the database you have to run the following command. You will be asked to confirm every mailbox. This is okay if you purge only a few mailboxes, otherwise you could add  -Confirm to purge without being asked for every mailbox



Now the mailboxes are purged from the databse. If you check the space consumed on the storage by the databases you will see that the databses don’t get smaller. The reason is simple: Deleted objects within a database are only marked as free space and will be reused if more space is needed for new objects.

If you want to shrink the databse itself, you have to do an Offline Defragmantation. How to Offline Defragment an Exchange Database is described in this article.

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