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Exchange 2007 Contacts being deleted nightly

Posted on 2011-03-17
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Last Modified: 2012-06-21
Can't find much about this anywhere, and what we have found hasn't worked.  There was a post here about deleting the OST file on the PC, and that had no effect.  Here's the story.

Starting last week (3/9/2011 or so), a number of people have had significant numbers of their contacts deleted nightly from Exchange/Outlook.  We thought it was an Activesync issue, but it also happens to people that do NOT sync to a mobile device (but they do have an A/S device for mail and calendar.  

So that seems to tie it down to the Exchange side. The Exchange mail server is 2007 SP 1 RU 9 (a bit behind, but we've been on that level for months with no issues).

So, nothing has changed on the Exchange side.  On the Windows side (all Win 7 Enterprise), most of them loaded last weeks patches, and we've deleted them on a couple of PCs to test.  We are still exploring that, but it doesn't seem to have fixed the problem.

I would have thought if this was a patch issue, this would be widely known.  I can't find any reference to this sort of issue anywhere, except for years ago, for some random iPhone issues.  (Again, it doesn't look like a mobile issue, since we have non A/S Contacts users with the same exact problem.)

Are there any nightly Exchange processes that would erroneously delete contacts?  Note that it is never deleting all of them, just a good part of them (usually more than half), usually older ones, but not always, usually ones that have duplicated, but not always.  No real pattern.

I've been restoring the contacts daily for people, and then they are gone the next day after the overnight whatever processing.  So, something actively is processing overnight to do this.

Suggestions?

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Question by:itdatatel
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Glen Knight earned 2000 total points
ID: 35155643
Sounds like a mailbox management policy.

In the Exchange Management Console under Organisation Configuration > Mailbox > Managed Folder Mailbox Policies or Managed Default Folders can you expand Contacts? Is there anything configured there?
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by:itdatatel
ID: 35155768
I think you hit it.   We have a two year retention policy on everything, and we just hit about two years on the installation/migration.  Email was migrated so it's been deleted all along, as it should be.  Contacts were 'new', and now are getting to be over two years old.

So, is there a way to have a retention policy not apply to contacts?  This is too coincidental not to be it.  Thanks!
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by:itdatatel
ID: 35155947
To tighten my question, since you can't edit a Managed Folder Mailbox Policy (retention policy) that I can see, can I delete it and replace it with a new one of the same exact name, and not have any problems?
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by:Glen Knight
ID: 35156192
>>can I delete it and replace it with a new one of the same exact name, and not have any problems?

Yes absolutely, but you should be able to edit the policy that's there, what happens when you try to? Is it set to "Entire Mailbox"?  It should really be set to inbox only otherwise all calendar, notes and contacts will be deleted as well.
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by:itdatatel
ID: 35156270
It's set to All Mailbox.  As a general concept, why wouldn't you want to delete old calendar entries?  We have it set to 750 days and 3 years (which is our policy).  If there's no way to do multiple folders in one policy, and you can't do more than one policy, as I'm seeing, looks like 'Inbox' (and subfolder) is the best choice.

And, no, I can't see a way to edit it at all.  It's actually a Managed Content Setting entry on the Entire Mailbox Managed Default Folder,  which may not be the best way to set it up.

I'll redo it as Inbox only.

Thanks!
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Author Comment

by:itdatatel
ID: 35156475
By the way, deleting the Managed Folder Policy also deletes it from the Recipients, so you will need to reapply it using a shell command.  No big problem, just something to note.
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