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Category Archives: Exchange 2003

1  Introduction

 You might have a  policy in your organization to purge all deleted items from the Deleted Items Folder after say 30 days. This can be done automatically using a Recipient Policy and Mailbox Manager. 

But from time to time, this automatic process fails. 

This page will describe how to create a new Recipient Policy to Automatically Purge Deleted Items. This post will also serve to assist with troubleshooting when the process is failing. 

2   How to set up Automatic Purging of the Deleted Items folder

 1. In Exchange System Manager, right-click on Recipient Policies and choose NewRecipient Policy

 2. From the resultant window, select Mailbox Manager Settings and click OK. 

 3. Give the Recipient Policy a meaningful name, like Purge Deleted Items for <Server Names>. But my example below is ‘poorly’ named! 

Purging a Deleted Items Folder

Purging a Deleted Items Folder


 4. Click on the Modify button and select the mailboxes to be modified. You may modify a single mailbox, perhaps your own mailbox as I have done above, to test the process. Or go ahead and specify all Exchange mailboxes on a particular server. 

 5. Click on the Mailbox Manager Settings (Policy) tab. Set Deleted Items and System Cleanup as per the image below. 

Deleted Items Properties

Deleted Items Properties


Do NOT select ‘Send notification mail to user after processing’. It is only selected here as this Recipient Policy only runs the process against one mailbox. The notification mail is then a good confirmation that the process is running. 

3 Controlling when the Automatic Purging process runs.

You have just set up Automatic Purging in the previous section of this post, but purging does not have any effect until the Recipient Policy is run. 

You could just Run the Recipient Policy now. But running the Recipient Policy does not work unless the Mailbox Management Process is running. Start the Mailbox Management Process by right clicking on your target server and choosing to Start Mailbox Management Process 

When you start this, the Mailbox Management runs through the Recipient Policies, looking for any that can be run against the target server you just selected. 

But the Mailbox Management Process also only runs when within the schedule defined for the server. Set the schedule as per the diagram below. 


4  Troubleshooting

If the Automatic Purge is not functioning correctly, run through the set up as above to verify the current settings. If any mailboxes that you are trying to purge are also subjected to any automatic archiving then you will likely run into problems. This is because the archiving process modifies a field on a message – the same field that the Mailbox Manager also uses to determine whether the item qualifies for purging.