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Exchange RetentionPolicyTags for deleted items not usable

2011/02/17

The retention policy tags of Exchange 2010 SP which have the type “deleted items” have a functionality that make them act unexpected. When you ask a user what is his expectation of a retention policy of 14 days for deleted items the common understanding is that when a mail goes to the “deleted items folder” it stays there for 14 days and then the retention action (normally move to recoverable items) happens.

That is not what MS made it functional. The retention time is not calculated on the date when the mail was moved to the “deleted items” folder. It is still calculated on the receive date. Microsoft said that was a change for performance reasons in SP1.

From my personal point of view this is not the best decision. Imagine following situation:

retention for the inbox 60 day then move to deleted items

deleted items 30 days then permanently delete

A user receives a mail and keeps it in the inbox. After 60 days the “inbox tag” triggers and moves the mail to the deleted items folder. normally everyone would think there are 30 days left to get the mail back from the trash  bin before it will be purged. But that is not what happens. What will happen is :

Next time the ManagedFolderAssistan (MFA) run on the mailbox the retentionpolicytag deleted items is applied to the mail because the folder changed. The MFA recalculates the retention “end date” by using the receive date + 30 days from the policy.Because the mail is 60 days old the MFA sees that the mail is expired and performs the retention action.This means the mail is purged and cannot be restored.

Got the point ?

Imagine that a user deletes a mail that was received 32 days before, other  then expected he has not 30 days to recover his mail, he only has a chance to get his mail the was accidentally deleted till the MFA runs the next time.

Even if you use another retention action for the “deleted items” type tag, for example “move to recoverable items”, the user expectation will not be met. Your support hotline for your mail user should be aware of a lot of extra calls from puzzled users.

Happy retention !

 

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From → Exchange, Retention

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