"Recoverable items 14 days move to archive" retention tag not working?

David Trevor 291 Reputation points

Both archive and Ligitation hold (10 years) is on for my mailbox.

I spotted the "Recoverable items 14 days move to archive" tag which at face values appears to be saying that any items that expire from recoverable items are moved into my archive? In the archive, it should be put into the same folder "Recoverable Items". Just today, a large amount of purged mails disappeared from my Recoverable Items of the primary mailbox, because they were sitting in the recoverable items of the primary mailbox for exactly 14 days.

However, when checking the recoverable items in the archive, it tells me it could not find any mails. Where have the mails gone? They are not in the primary mailbox anymore.


Microsoft Exchange Online Management
Microsoft Exchange Online Management
Microsoft Exchange Online: A Microsoft email and calendaring hosted service.Management: The act or process of organizing, handling, directing or controlling something.
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  1. Vasil Michev 97,306 Reputation points MVP

    They will be moved to the Archive\Recoverable Items\Purges folder, which is not accessible via Outlook. What is shown above in the "Recover Deleted Items" dialog is the content of the Deletions folder.

    If you have admin permissions, you can check the number of items in Purges, as well as latest/most recent item timestamp via the Get-MailboxFolderStatistics cmdlet. Alternatively, you can use a low-level tool such as MFCMAPI to browse the content of the Purges folder.

    2 people found this answer helpful.

  2. RM Haley 11 Reputation points

    Check out how email flows using this image from Microsoft. After items in the primary Mailbox's dumpster reach 14 days, they will eventually trickle to the Purges folder, and after that, they will process into the Archive's Purges folder. MFCMAPI is a good tool to use in order to locate and move items from these folders, or you can use the Compliance Center's [Content Search] if you know of some key terms in these emails. In order to use MFCMAPI, you must first build an Outlook profile with that mailbox, which MFCMAPI uses for the connection info and authentication. Content Search is good, but another CMDLET (depreciated) you can use to try to find these emails is Search-Mailbox

    Now the thing to note here is that there is another process that runs every 7 days (roughly, not exact), called the Managed Folder Assistant (MFA). This process is what handles the migration of email from the mailbox to the archive. Due to this, sometimes emails hit the 14 day mark, but are sitting in the purges folder waiting for MFA to move them, so it can take up to 21 days or longer for those emails to eventually make it to the archive.


    2 people found this answer helpful.
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  3. David Trevor 291 Reputation points

    I have found the mails via eDiscovery (exported them to a PST file). They seem to have been moved to the Recoverable Items in the archive correctly, but not to the Purges subfolder, but rather to the DiscoveryHolds subfolder. I am not sure if this is because I have enabled litigation hold for this mailbox or not.


    Also, even though the Get-RecoverableItems cmdlet works against an archive, it seems to only display results from the Purges folder. It does not display the items in the DiscoveryHolds folder.

    Compared to the cmdlet Search-Mailbox, which returns mails from the DiscoveryHolds folder.

    I think I will test the procedure with another mailbox, as I'm sure the items weren't visible at first, but it might also just be me being blind.