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How to purge manually deleted email from Exchange 2010 mailbox

Posted on 2010-11-29
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-10


I need to manually purge the deleted emails from Exchange 2010 server or mailbox (need to make sure that this deleted email can't be restored by anyone), please share your ideas on how to do this.

Question by:czarbapora
LVL 13

Assisted Solution

CrashDummy_MS earned 200 total points
ID: 34233340
Delete the email, go to deleted items folder, delete from there. Click tools, recover deleted items, find the email, delete again and it shouldn't be recoverable from the client side.

It may still be recoverable by an admin, depending on the Exchange settings. There are settings, I think on the Limits tab in the properties of the mailbox store, for how long to keep deleted items before purging, and also an option to not permanently delete items until a backup has been done.

Assisted Solution

OrcaKnight earned 200 total points
ID: 34234084
In the Exchange Server, there is a setting for the mailstore that controls how deleted items are handled. items that are deleted from the trash, including shift-deleted items, are stored usually until the next proper backup has completed AND a set duration (30 days is the default, I think). By reducing the the day count and doing a full backup, the next scheduled maintenance should finish the deleted items off. Realize though, that they will be stored on the backup you are required to do, beforehand.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 34238842
Yeah, if it requires a backup to purge, you could always create a backup to disk backup of the mail store, then erase  and delete the B2D files it creates.
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LVL 17

Accepted Solution

lucid8 earned 1600 total points
ID: 34241303
Ok so normally I would agree with the other members but Exchange 2010 is a different beast from previous incarnations of Exchange.  This is an in-depth read but worthwhile.

Dumpster 1.0 (Exchange 5.0 - 2007) worked by marking items that are permanently deleted with a ptagDeletedOnFlag flag attribute. Items permanently deleted remain in the place they were deleted. If you were to delete an email from outlook or OWA it would normally go to your deleted items. If you were to then delete it from your deleted items it would be marked with the ptagDeletedOnFlag flag attribute.

One thing to note here, you can delete an item from your Inbox or another folder in outlook by using Shift + Delete. This will send it straight to the dumpster bypassing the deleted items folder. When you do this it gets marked with the ptagDeletedOnFlag attribute however by default you cannot use the recovered deleted items option in outlook. Recover Deleted Items only work if the item was permanently deleted when residing in the users deleted items out of the box.

Dumpster 2.0

In Exchange 2010 the Dumpster has been redesigned to perform the following actions:
- Ensure Exchange Dumpster Data moves with the mailbox during a mailbox move/migration action
-      Dumpster data is indexed and discoverable by search
-      Dumpster data must have a quota
-      Ability to prevent purging data from a users dumpster
-      Track editing of certain content (visioning in the dumpster)
-      Dumpster should be per mailbox not per folder.

In Dumpster 2.0 it no longer flags emails users permanently delete with the ptagDeletedOnFlag attribute. Instead Dumpster 2.0 moves the emails to a new folder under the Non-IPM subtree in the users mailbox called Recoverable Items (note this section of the mailbox cannot be viewed by any client side mail clients, only using MAPI editing software such as MFCMAPI).

Inside the Recoverable Items folder there are three sub-folders, each with a different purpose which will be explained below and you should give this a read as well http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee364755.aspx

- Deletions
- Purges
- Versions

The Deletions folder replaces the ptagDeletedOnFlag attribute, now emails are moved from their original location to the Deletions folder. If a user empties their Deleted Items folder or Shift Deletes an email, this is where it goes.

In Dumpster 1.0 users were able to delete items from the Recover Deleted Items folder in result permanently removing them. This allowed users to hide incriminating emails which presented a problem with legality issues and court cases. Now in Dumpster 2.0 if a user deletes an email from the Deletions folder using the recover deleted items tool, it simply moves it to the Purges folder. Once in this folder it cannot be recovered with client side exchange software, however in the case its needed an administrator can use MAPI editing software to pull the email out.

NOTE: If you want to remove the items from the PURGES folder you need to use the Managed Folder / Mailbox Assistant http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb123958.aspx
NOTE 2: You should also check out this link on understanding litigation hold http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee861123.aspx

The Versions folder is used for whenever an item has changed, a copy-on-write is performed to preserve the original version of the item into this folder. This folder is not exposed to the end user. Copy on write will capture changes in the subject body, attachments, senders/recipients, and sent/received dates. Drafts are exempt from the copy-on-write.

Lastly there is a process you can run through to Clean Up the Recoverable Items Folder http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff678798.aspx

Author Comment

ID: 34244368
Thank you all for your ideas, Iucid8 comment is directly related to my issue because I'm using Exchange 2010, I will try these instructions and will provide update very soon.
LVL 17

Expert Comment

ID: 34244372
Happy to assist

Troy Werelius


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