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Retention time on deleted Items

Running Exchange 5.5 SP4 on Win NT Server. Outlook 2000 as client.

There is a mailbox size limit on all mailboxes of 80MB.  On Private Info Store in Exchange Administrator, Deleted Items Retention Time set to 30 days. But when I look on 'Deleted Items k' tab, it shows over 500,000 kb for many users and almost everyone is over 150,000 kb.

Why is that? Does that mean items still exist somewhere, if so where?

I noticed that if I purged all deleted items (from recover deleted items option in Outlook) the size of Deleted Items k decreases.

I don't want to ask users to keep going to Recover Deleted Items option and purge all items they have deleted. Is there a way that can be done centrally from the server for everyone?

I want to set it so users can still recover items using the Recover Deleted Items within Outlook for 30 days. Anything older than that I want it to be permanently deleted from client and server.

Any advice suggestions very much appreciated.

Many Tx

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1 Solution

When a user deletes a mail item, the mail is moved to the Deleted items folder (this is part of the mailbox, and counts for the 80 Mb limit you set).

When the mail is deleted from the Deleted Items folder it goes in a special caching zone, where it will stay the number of days you specify with the Retention Time value (here there is no limit, except the disk space for your information store database).

Once the retention period is over, the mail is automatically removed from the Information store.

If you have plenty of disk space, then you can keep this value to 30 days. In my opinion this is to much. Does really someone need to recover mail he deleted a week ago?
That's why for each user you have twice his mailbox size in this cache area (~150 Mb) + 80 Mb for his real mailbox.

Another thing that isn't clear for me, is the information store maintenance running from time to time.
Choose Site Name -> Configuration -> Servers , open the property page of your server, and view in the IS maintenance tab if maintenace is scheduled.

Hope this helped you

shahid_hussAuthor Commented:
TX for you reply.

When the Deleted Items folder is emptied the mail has gone to caching zone and is still recoverable from within Outlook.  If the retention time is set to 30 days then it should be deleted permanently from the IS after that time period, but I think that isn't happenning.  From Outlook we can still retrieve and see emails that have been there lot longer than 30 days.  

That's what the problem is. How do we get to delete them permanantly.

You mentioned IS maintenance, that isn't scheduled to run and my understanding is that it never has been run.  However I have done a offline defrag couple of times over the past year. I don't know much about IS maintenance either. It's not been that long since I got involved with Exchange server so I'm quite new to this.

Hope to hear again soon.

Tx once again.

To check if your IS maintenance is scheduled, you should see the following events in the application eventlog,

Event ID 1206 :Starting cleanup of items past retention date for Item Recovery

Event ID 1207 :Cleanup of items past retention date for Item Recovery is complete.
Start: 40056 items; 2912866 Kbytes
End: 18628 items; 1287978 Kbytes

If you cannot find such events in you eventlog, then probably the maintenance isn't scheduled.

To schedule the maintenance, do the following
Start your Exchange Administrator program, then select the following
Site Name -> Configuration -> Servers , open the property page of your server, on the tab IS Maintenance you should select with your mouse some maintenance zone (for instance during the night). Click Ok, and control in the eventlog if it worked.

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shahid_hussAuthor Commented:
I don't have IS Maintenance set I know that.  I don't know what implications that could have? Can that run in to any problems? What I need to check etc etc...  I need to understand risks / benefits etc before scheduling the IS maintenance.

However, my immediate worry is the Retention time limit not working. Eventhough it's set to 30 days, users from within Outlook can still view and recover items that have been there lot longer than 30 days.

Pls see my previous comments.
If you do not schedule IS maintenance, then your database won't be defragmented (Online defragmentation), and the cached deleted items won't be purged.

You need to schedule IS Maintenance.
The benefits are that automatically your deleted items cache will be purge after the retention time, and after that the database will be defragmented online, so you will have free space inside your database.
This means that the backup of your database will be also faster, as there are less data to backup.
Another benefit is that you will almost never need to do an offline defrag of your database.

The only thing you should keep in mind, is that the backup should not run during IS maintenance, because it will interrupt the maintenance process, until the backup is finished. The other thing is that it may have a slight impact on the performance of your server. Therefore you should schedule it to run during low usage hours.

You could begin by scheduling IS maintenance during 1 hour a day, each day, and monitor the result in the eventlog. If it's ok, then increase the maintenance window. If the maintenance isn't finished, when it need to stop, then it will restart from where it stopped the next time it's scheduled.

In the company I work for, we scheduled maintenance from 22h00 to 03h00, and the backup start afterwards at 05h00.
I never had any problem with it, and I had never to perform an offline defrag.

Are you performing regular online backups of this server?  There is an option to NOT permanently delete the deleted items until the store has been backed up.  Therefore, if you have the server configured to keep deleted items for 30 and the store doesn't get successfully backed up then the deleted item retention will not clear out.
shahid_hussAuthor Commented:
I haven't got a tick in 'Don't permanantely delete items until store has been backed up'.

Even then I do run backups and they are successfull so that shouldn't matter.

I am planning on performing 'Information Store Maintenance' this weekend.  I will empty some users Deleted Items folder and their Deleted Items Cache (by clearing the items when you go to Recover Deleted Items option).

I'll then schedule for IS maintenance to run over a few hrs interval and compare the results.

Should this be enough to defrag the priv.edb and free up the space within the database? And reduce the Deleted Items cache? I know I won't see the free space within the priv.edb until I do an offline defrag.

Any comments /suggestions appreciated.

shahid_hussAuthor Commented:
Sorry took so long.
Your help was Much appreciated...
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