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Exchange 2007: Managed Content Settings not deleting messages

Posted on 2013-01-04
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Last Modified: 2013-01-21
I'm trying to delete emails that are in the Junk E-Mail default folder on Exchange 2007.  I've created Managed Content Settings to delete them after 180 days.

I've set the MRM schedule to run, plus I've run the mailbox folder assistant manually using "Start-ManagedFolderAssistant".  

Nothing seems to be deleting.  If I log into OWA, I can still see Junk Email in my folder older than 180 days.

What am I missing?
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Question by:BMFC
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by:Simon Butler (Sembee)
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If you have only just set the policy, then it will come in to effect in 180 days time.
That is because Exchange doesn't know how old those messages are, and it needs to stamp them for the policy to apply.

Simon.
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by:BMFC
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So it's from the day I created the Managed Content Settings?  Now anything coming into the Junk Email folder will be marked?

Is there a way to delete old messages?  I want to apply this same rule to "Deleted Items" to delete old emails.
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by:BMFC
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If what you're telling me is correct, then there would be no way to delete old emails.
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tigermatt earned 500 total points
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BMFC,

It is possible to delete old email, but not immediately after messaging records management (MRM) is first enabled. If you are using the option "Retention period starts: When message is moved to folder" option in your managed content settings, then this is a classic case of the system appearing to misfunction, but actually working as designed.

As Simon has already stated, Exchange does not, by default, internally track the date at which a message was moved to a folder. Thus, the first time MRM is enabled, a process is initiated to stamp all messages in the managed folders with the date and time they were first seen by Exchange - specifically by the "Managed Folder Assistant", a process which enforces MRM content settings.

On each pass of a mailbox to apply tags and enforce Content policies on managed folders, the folder assistant then makes comparisons between the number of days defined on the content setting you created (180 days) and the date it stamped on the item when it first saw it in that folder. Only when the difference between today's date and that initially stamped date is greater than the policy (180 days) will the action be applied - in this case, the message will be deleted.

This is not a problem in normal operation. The folder assistant task runs on a schedule, and should complete a full scan over all mailboxes periodically to keep the timestamps in check and purge messages which are now deemed expired. After 180 days of continuous operation, the messages stamped today will be deleted. On the 181th day, all the messages moved to Junk/Deleted Items tomorrow will be removed. On the 182nd day, the messages moved there on Sunday will be removed, and so on. There will just be a lag period up front of 180 days, as the tags were only just applied with today's date when the content policy was first created.

The technicalities are explained here, along with the instructions you can follow to download MFCMAPI to interrogate the MAPI properties of messages in the managed folders of your mailbox to determine whether the ElcMoveDate stamp has actually been applied.

For reference, I just checked this with an Exchange 2010 instance. The MAPI property is different (it now tracks the date the message expires, rather than the date it was first seen). This is because MRM has moved on slightly and the architecture is different (it is now known as "retention", in line with the legalese which normally accompanies it). But, the principle is pretty much the same with some minor changes.

-Matt
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