PST import & Retention Policy Exceeded

Posted on 2014-03-24
Last Modified: 2014-03-28
I'm engaged in a hybrid 2010 Exchange migration. The current retention policy on primary and archive databases is 3 years. Many users have PST files that contain messages of unknown age. What is going to happen to those messages once they are imported into the users' archive database if they are already 3 years old or older?  Also, when will that policy be applied to those messages, immediately upon importation or on some scheduled occurrence?

Question by:jcb431
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Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39951661
My understanding of how retention tags work in Exchange 2010 is that the mailbox assistant process, which runs automatically every night, places a retention stamp on each item according to the settings for that folder.  For example, if you set a retention policy of 3 years on the entire mailbox and then import items into the mailbox, the 3-year period will start on the day those items are imported. So, this would mean that the old email you import wouldn't be archived for another 3 years.

My suggestion would be to import the older items directly into the archive mailbox instead of the active mailbox.

Author Comment

ID: 39951696
you said, "So, this would mean that the old email you import wouldn't be archived for another 3 years." Is that what you meant to say?
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Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39953499
@jcb431 - Yes, that's what I meant, because the system would see the imported email as dated (for archiving purposes) on the day that you imported it.

Author Comment

ID: 39953991
Perhaps an example will help me get clarity. I'm still confused by how the above comments are being phrased. I'm sure the problem is between the chair and the keyboard on my end. ;-)

If I import messages into an archive from a PST file and those messages are 5 years-old. Will the mailbox assistant process treat those messages as age 5 or age 0 (brand new)?
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Author Comment

ID: 39954061
If I understand correctly, the mailbox assistant process tags messages on a scheduled basis (default once every 24hrs.). So if I import a message into the archive it has not been tagged yet. Since it has not been tagged, then it is "age 0". Once the process runs in the next 24 hrs it will be tagged. From that point forward, whatever the Retention Policy says, goes. If it says Retain for 3 years, then it will be Retained for 3 years from that point in time.

In other words, the actual creation date or timestamp of an individual message has no bearing; it is the point in time that the message is first tagged by the mailbox assistant process. That is what marks the beginning of the Retention Policy.
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Accepted Solution

Hypercat (Deb) earned 500 total points
ID: 39954211
Yes, that is exactly what I was trying to say, but I guess I didn't explain it clearly enough in my original post.  So, to answer your post #ID: 39953991, the mailbox assistant process would treat those imported messages as age 0, i.e., as though they had been received on the date they were imported.

That's why I suggested importing the old messages directly into the archive mailbox instead of into the active mailbox.  Given that you'd be using an import process, there's really no way to force the retention period to be what you want on those old, imported messages.

Author Comment

ID: 39955258
Found this information from TechNet as well:

For mailboxes that use retention policies, the retention age of mailbox items is calculated from the date of delivery. When the Managed Folder Assistant processes items in a mailbox, it stamps a start date and an expiration date for all items that have retention tags with the Delete and Allow Recovery or Permanently Delete retention action. Items that have an archive tag are also stamped with a move date...
...the Managed Folder Assistant uses the following rules to calculate the age and enforce retention limits. These items include:

E-mail messages
Journal items
Meeting requests, responses, and cancellations
Missed calls

The steps for each rule are listed in the order in which they are performed.
Period at which retention starts:       
When an item is delivered to a user's mailbox
If the item has a message-received date, the message-received date is used.
If the item doesn't have a message-received date, the message-creation date is used.
If the item doesn't have a message-creation date, the message doesn't expire.
Period at which retention starts:
When a user moves the item to the managed folder
If the item has a move date, the move date is used.
If the item doesn't have a move date, the item doesn't expire.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 39955259
Thank you hypercat :-)

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