Why does the EDB and STM file never get smaller?
I'm going to start out this database discussion with a question a lot of newer Exchange administrators ask. Users have deleted a lot of e-mail, but the EDB and STM files never get any smaller.
Answer: The EDB and STM files do NOT get any smaller. It is a "feature". :-)
The file will grow, but it never gets smaller. As messages are deleted, the space is reorganized in to "white space" and then the space is reused.
However, if users are not emptying their Deleted Items folder, the space is not reused. The user must empty their deleted items. Once items are emptied from their deleted items, the space goes in to the users deleted item recovery cache. With Exchange 2003, the data remains in that cache (by default) for 7 days. After that, the space is reorganized and re-used.
If you want the file size to shrink, use the ESEUTIL.EXE utility, dismount the store, and perform an offline degrag (the /d option).
Check your event viewer in the application log for event id 1221. If it reports less than 20% available white space (based on the size of the EDB file, then it is probably not worth your time to dismount stores and defragment the database.