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031: Why do I get “quota” or “UID copy failed” warning messages when trying to send email?


This solution applies only to faculty and staff using the Exchange Mail system; students using MyMail will not encounter this error.

When sending, receiving, or managing your email you may receive an error message containing words like “copy failed,” or “quota.” Generally, this means your files and emails are taking up more room on the email server than allowed, so you have automatically been blocked from using any more hard-disk storage space. (You will generally receive an email warning about impending quota problems long before this happens.) In any case, you may be able to solve this problem yourself.

  • Try emptying the contents of your trash, deleted items or other folders.
  • “Compact,” “compress,” “rebuild,” or “purge” your Inbox and other folders if you are using a standalone email client on your computer. (Various email programs have different terms for this process.) This suggestion does not apply to web-based email systems like Microsoft Outlook Web Access or MyMail.
  • Delete unimportant emails and archive important ones to your local computer hard drive. One way to do this is to configure an email client such as Thunderbird or Outlook to connect to your email via IMAP connection. This allows you to drag and drop email to local storage on your own computer. (Please remember to back up any email removed from our servers and placed on your own computer hard drive.) Search the FAQfinder for the term “IMAP” for more details on this email protocol.

If these suggestions do not work or you would like help, please submit a support request to the Mines Help Center (



Here are some tips for managing your mail to prevent this problem:

  • If you use Microsoft Outlook Web App ( to manage your Mines mail directly from the email server, you likely have the program set to automatically save a copy of every message you send. Turn this feature off, or at least go through your sent emails every so often and delete messages that are not important.
  • Some people simply keep all incoming email in their Inbox, which is not a good practice, because it slows access to your email and will quickly fill your quota. Use your Inbox to store only your most recent messages. Move other messages to other folders, or to local storage on your own system, as noted above.
  • Create a special Archive folder where you can store those emails that are important and then delete the rest and then purge your deleted emails.
  • Delete old data files and attachments or move them to your personal computer. One large email attachment may take up more hard-drive space than hundreds of plain-text emails.