Tip: Set Deleted Item Retention Time on Individual Mailboxes

When a user deletes a message in Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, the message is placed in the Deleted Items folder. The message remains in the Deleted Items folder until the user deletes it manually or allows Outlook to clear out the Deleted Items folder. With personal folders, the message is then permanently deleted and you can’t restore it. With server-based mailboxes, the message isn’t actually deleted from the Exchange information store. Instead, the message is marked as hidden and kept for a specified period of time called the deleted item retention period. Default retention settings are configured for each mailbox database in the organization.

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You can change these settings or override the settings on a per-user basis by completing these steps:
1. Open the Properties dialog box for the mailbox-enabled user account by doubleclicking the user name in Exchange Management Console.
2. On the Mailbox Settings tab, double-click Storage Quotas. This displays the Storage Quotas dialog box.
3. In the Deleted Item Retention panel, clear the Use Mailbox Database Defaults check box.
4. In the Keep Deleted Items For (Days) text box, enter the number of days to retain deleted items. An average retention period is 14 days. If you set the retention period to 0, messages aren’t retained and can’t be recovered.
5. You can also specify that deleted messages should not be permanently removed until the mailbox database has been backed up. This option ensures that the deleted items are archived into at least one backup set. Click OK twice.
Note that deleted item retention allows the administrator the chance to salvage accidentally deleted e-mail without restoring a user’s mailbox from backup. I strongly recommend that you enable this setting, either in the mailbox database or for individual mailboxes, and configure the retention period accordingly.

From the Microsoft Press book Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Administrator’s Pocket Consultant, Second Edition by William R. Stanek.

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