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Problems with Exchange and Mailbox Management

Posted on 2008-06-19
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Last Modified: 2010-05-18
I recently had a problem where my exchange DB had grown pretty large. I had removed a significant amount of old mailboxes so I decided to perform an offline defrag. Once completed I found the db had literally been cut in half. I did a few diagnostics and found it worked 100% and had not caused data loss. So I wanted to make sure the DB was set to automatically defrag while online and the mailbox management would run to delete the users deleted items. I confirmed the online defrag wasn't running because it wasn't reporting my backups were complete even though they were. So I reinstalled Backup Exec, and now my backups are reported correctly and the online defrags are running.

So I have a few problems with mailbox management which just boggle my mind. So if I delete a mailbox it will automatically be purged after 24 hours, which I assume is waiting for a full backup to complete? So my settings below (set by an admin prior to my time) are set to keep mailboxes indefinitely so how are they automatically being purged?

Lastly I want to turn on automatically delete user's deleted items after 30 days so I want to confirm this is the same place I need to setup and adjust the value for doing this.

I posted the settings I currently have in place.

Exchange System Manager>Servers>Server Name>First Storage Group>Mailbox Store right click, properties>Limits tab.

Deletion settings

Keep deleted items for (days) 0
Keep deleted mailboxes for (days) 0

(Is checked) Do not permanently delete mailboxes and items until the store has been backed up.

The server is running SBS 2003. So if I need to adjust or set any of these values through the SBS console please advise, as I would normally do this through Exchange system manager. I looked through the SBS console and it didn't have anything to offer me regarding this. Thanks in advance.
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Question by:MSJoe
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by:coolsport00
ID: 21825271
The deleted items setting is for the "recover deleted items" area. Removing emails from the Deleted Items folder is a managed folder task.

This may assist you:
http://www.msexchange.org/tutorials/Managing-mailboxes-Exchange-Server-2007-Part2.html

Regards.
~coolsport00
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raptorjb007 earned 500 total points
ID: 21825336
Well, the retention settings for deleted items are referring to items permanently deleted, ie emptied from the dleteed items bin or deleted using shift+delete. However all hope is not lost, you simple need to create a mailbox management policy that deletes items in the deleted items folder after the time frame you specify.

To do this, open ESM and goto recipients->recipient policies.
-Right click on recipient policies and choose "new recipient policy", you want to make this policy a mailbox managment policy. Give the policy a name and then choose the modify button to select filter.

-A general filter to apply the policy to all mailboxes would be to choose "Exchange recipients" in the find menu and select only "Users with exchange mailbox". You can use the find now button to verify that the filter is correct.

-Next click on the "Mailbox manager settings" tab, in the drop down select the action you wish to apply, in this case "delete immediately". I recommend running the policy in report only mode at first though.

-Select the deleted items folder and deselect all other folders. Now select the "deleted items" folder and choose "edit. Uncheck the box to process message sizes and set the age limit.

-Finally browse to esm->Administrative group->Servers, right click on the server and choose properties. Goto the "Mailbox management tab and set you interval you want to run this policy at.


===========================================
-To configure the mailbox retention limit to not purge mailboxes. Brosw to esm->administrative groups->servers. Right click on the server and choose properties

-Goto the "Limits" tab and look at the "keep deleted mailboxes for" setting. If this is blank or set to 0, the mailbox is deleted immediately(or after a backup if the option to wait for a backup is set).

-This value can be set anywhere from 0-24855 days, 24855 essentially being never.(Unless this server will be active for over 68 years).
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Author Comment

by:MSJoe
ID: 21830976
"Well, the retention settings for deleted items are referring to items permanently deleted, ie emptied from the dleteed items bin or deleted using shift+delete. However all hope is not lost, you simple need to create a mailbox management policy that deletes items in the deleted items folder after the time frame you specify."

Raptorjb007 I don't fully understand. If I set a value of 30 in the "Keep deleted items for (days) 0" field that means anything in a users Delete Items will be removed after it has been in there for 30 days yes? I think that is what you said, but I wasn't sure. I appologize, I don't mean to sound ignorant.

The reason that I was confused was you also said "However all hope is not lost, you simple need to create a mailbox management policy that deletes items in the deleted items folder after the time frame you specify." which made me wonder what the "Keep deleted items for (days)" field actually does, if I need a policy to make it happen. See what I mean?

"To do this, open ESM and goto recipients->recipient policies.
-Right click on recipient policies and choose "new recipient policy", you want to make this policy a mailbox managment policy. Give the policy a name and then choose the modify button to select filter."

I should NOT alter the original policy right?

"-Next click on the "Mailbox manager settings" tab, in the drop down select the action you wish to apply, in this case "delete immediately". I recommend running the policy in report only mode at first though."

Stupid question, fairly obvious, but report only only reports right?

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by:coolsport00
ID: 21831289
As I mentioned above, the "Keep deleted items for (days)" option is for the Recover Deleted Items feature. In other words, while you're in the Deleted Items folder area, click on Tools (or maybe it's 'Actions') menu, then select Recover Deleted Items. This is what we call an "ooops, I didn't mean to delete that email" recovery tool. :)

What "Raptorjb007" is saying about a folder management policy is because there isn't a setting per se you can configure to have emails be deleted from the Deleted Items FOLDER. You have to set a folder management policy in the EM Console. These links should help explain for you:

http://www.msexchange.org/articles_tutorials/exchange-server-2007/compliance-policies-archiving/exchange-2007-messaging-records-management-part1.html
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb125163(EXCHG.80).aspx
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb123548(EXCHG.80).aspx

Regards. :)
~coolsport00
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by:raptorjb007
ID: 21831371
OK, I'll elaborate it a little bit.

We are actually discussing the configuration of two seperate features.

First is the Deleted item retention period. This is a setting for the mail store and it determines how long exchange will keep items that have been "permanently deleted" from the mailbox available for recovery to the client. "permanently deleted" mean either emptied from the user's "deleted item's" folder or deleted using shift+delete. So, for instance, say you have a retention period for deleted items of 30days. If you emptied your deleted items folder in outlook this items appear deleted but are in fact still recoverable for 30 days directly from the outlook client using the "recovery deleted items" feature locate on the outlook client at "tools->recover deleted items". Essentially, this is like a "deleted items" delete items, kinda odd I know.

With your current retention setting of "0" for both mailbox and deleted items, exchange will purge the deleted items and disconnected mailboxes immediately after each backup. I recommend giving this settings an appropriate value if you wish to enact any retention period.

Second was the recipient policy. You are correct in assuming we are not modifying the original policy, we are creating a new policy, and this new policy does not assign any e-mail addresses, it simply combs through mailboxes and performs the actions you specify, in this case removing items that have been in the user's "deleted items" folder for 30days. The report only option will simply send you or the user (depending on the setting) a text file that details how many e-mails would be affected by the policy. That gives you the ability to review the results to ensure it is doing what you want before actually deleting anything. The report is a little raw, but you can read it after a few minutes of trying to figure it out.
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Author Comment

by:MSJoe
ID: 21831861
"As I mentioned above, the "Keep deleted items for (days)" option is for the Recover Deleted Items feature. In other words, while you're in the Deleted Items folder area, click on Tools (or maybe it's 'Actions') menu, then select Recover Deleted Items. This is what we call an "ooops, I didn't mean to delete that email" recovery tool. :)"

Ohhhh I get what that setting does. Right now we have it set to zero, so deleted items cannot be recovered. So I propose this. I want to set a policy that will delete items in the deleted items folder after 90 days. From there if I could set Keep deleted items for (days) to 30, that would mean that after the items have aged 90 days they will visably be removed from the users deleted items folder, but can be recovered for 30 days there after yes. Thats actually really useful.

"Second was the recipient policy. You are correct in assuming we are not modifying the original policy, we are creating a new policy, and this new policy does not assign any e-mail addresses, it simply combs through mailboxes and performs the actions you specify, in this case removing items that have been in the user's "deleted items" folder for 30days. The report only option will simply send you or the user (depending on the setting) a text file that details how many e-mails would be affected by the policy. That gives you the ability to review the results to ensure it is doing what you want before actually deleting anything. The report is a little raw, but you can read it after a few minutes of trying to figure it out."

Great, I'm going to set this to report only and let you know how it goes. How often would you recommend running the mailbox management? Right now it looks like it is only set to run at midnight sunday for 1 hour.
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by:raptorjb007
ID: 21832327
Once a week is usually sufficient.
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by:raptorjb007
ID: 21834046
BTW:

There is a registry key you have to modify on the client side to enable the use of the "recovery deleted items" feature on all mailbox folders(default is the delete items folder only)

On the client computer, close outlook, goto the follwing registry location:
"HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Exchange\Client\Options"
Create a DWORD value named "DumpsterAlwaysOn" and set its value to "1"

The feature works on the calendar, contacts and pretty much every other mailbox folder.
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Author Comment

by:MSJoe
ID: 21847330
Why does a reg fix have to be applied? I don't understand the purpose. By the looks of the key I'm turning it on, but my understanding is it is a server side process.
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by:raptorjb007
ID: 21857003
The key enables the outlook client to use the "recovery deleted items" feature on all outlook folders(inbox, subfolders, contacts, etc etc). By default, outlook only enables the use of the feature for the "deleted items" folder itself even though exchange keeps recovery information on all folders.
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Author Comment

by:MSJoe
ID: 21866978
I gotcha.

Regarding the setup, I'm doing it today. I appologize for the slow turn around. In your instructions you said:

 "To do this, open ESM and goto recipients->recipient policies.
-Right click on recipient policies and choose "new recipient policy", you want to make this policy a mailbox managment policy. Give the policy a name and then choose the modify button to select filter. "

When I went to do it I choose new policy but my options were "E-Mail Addresses" or "Mailbox Manager Settings". I assumed I wanted "Mailbox Manager Settings", but I wasn't sure. I didn't want to make a mistake.
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Author Comment

by:MSJoe
ID: 21867190
I figured it out. It was Mailbox Manager Settings. I went to Microsoft's site and found it, but initially I couldn't find it so I got worried. In addition I am running the report tonight, but if I could I wanted to run it right now. It should be a fairly quick process. Is there anyway to run this one policy/report now?
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by:raptorjb007
ID: 21870481
Yeah, you can simply right click on the server name(Maybe the mailbox store I don't remember exactly) and choose "Run Mailbox management process" It will run immediately, however it gives no indication of progress so just be patient.
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by:raptorjb007
ID: 21884346
Everything work out ok?
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Author Comment

by:MSJoe
ID: 21916048
Yes. I ran the report, but I set the policy to delete immediately today. Sorry for the delay, I got tied up.
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