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Deleted Item Recovery in Exchange 5.5 

Added: 02/22/2002, Hits: 3,035, Rating: 0, Comments: 0, Votes: 0
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By Brian Talbert

The Exchange 5.5 exam has been described by several as being Exchange 5.0 with some questions thrown in about the new features (what else would it be?). One of these new features is the Deleted Item Recovery. Several BETA exam takes suggested there were numerous questions covering this topic.

The Deleted Item Recovery feature is made possible through a couple of hidden folders. When this feature is enabled (note that it is enabled seperately for both the Private and Public ISs) rather than actually deleting the messages, they are moved to these hidden folders.

There are several important settings for Deleted Item Recovery. Deleted Item Retention Time specifies the number of days that deleted mail should be retained. After this period has expired, the message will actually be deleted.

Another option enables you to avoid permanent deletion until a full backup has occured. So, if the Retention period is set to 60 days and this option is set, even if the 60 days passes, the item won't be permanent deleted until a full backup has been performed. Once it has, however, the item will be deleted permanently.

Since these messages are flagged as being "soft deleted" they do not count toward mailbox size limits. This is an important consideration when determining the length of time to retain items. Say you install a 2,500 MB to accomodate 100 users, each with a 20MB mailbox limit. However, you have configured deleted item retention for 30 days, and the average amount of mail your clients receive in a 30 day period amounts to about 10MB. Do you have enough room? No, you need at least 3000 MB (100*20 + 100*10).

Another important point (make a mental note of this for exam purposes as well) is to consider what happens if Item Retention has been configured for Public Folders that also have age limits. Simply put, if an item expires due to age, it CAN NOT be recovered. If, however, it is deleted BEFORE the expiration date, then it CAN be recovered up to the length of time set for Item Retention, REGARDLESS of age.

For example, a public folder is set to age at 60 days. Deleted Item Retention is set to 30 days. A message is deleted after 50 days. How long will you have the capability to retrieve this message? For 30 days.

Another important note is the effect of an IMAP client. IMAP does have the capability to work with "special" non-mail folders. So rather than the delete mail being moved into the hidden directory, they are simply "flagged" as deleted. Because of this difference, if IMAP is used to DELETE a message, IMAP must be used to recover the message. Likewise, if MAPI is used to DELETE a message then MAPI must be used to recover the message.

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