Is it safe to delete Exchange 2010 log files?

I have an Exchange 2010 server that contains numerous log files. Is it safe to delete the log files, and if so, should I back them up prior to deletion?

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Well, it's always smart to back up any type of file before you delete it. That said, I don't think it's wise to delete Exchange 2010 log files.

Exchange Server 2010 stores messages in a mailbox database. However, when a new message arrives, it is not immediately written to the mailbox database. Instead, the message is written to a transaction log. When a backup is made, the contents of the transaction log files are committed to the mailbox database.

You must hold on to Exchange 2010 log files because they help with disaster recovery. When you restore a backup of an Exchange mailbox database, you're essentially restoring the server to an earlier point in time.

Transaction logs contain copies of every message that has come in since the time the backup was made. Exchange 2010 uses the contents of these log files to bring the database back to a current state after the backup has been restored. As you can see, it is very important to protect the log files.

You should always store log files on a separate physical disk from the mailbox database whenever possible. That way, if you lose a volume that contains a mailbox database, you will not lose the transaction logs as well.

About the author:
Brien Posey is an eight-time Microsoft MVP with two decades of IT experience. Before becoming a freelance technical writer, Brien was CIO for a national chain of hospitals and health care facilities. He also served as network administrator for some of the nation's largest insurance companies and for the U.S. Department of Defense at Fort Knox.

This was first published in November 2012

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