In part 2 of this eDiscovery in Exchange series, I covered the topics backups and database deletion settings. Today's post discusses Messaging Records Management (MRM) and the new Mailbox Litigation Hold feature in Exchange 2010.

Where Messaging Records Management (MRM) is applied can be controlled at a couple levels.

MRM at the organization level

Some organizations may have a policy that does not allow employees to keep email for more than a period of time. This would be done when the company wants to establish a standardized practice to protect themselves legally. Others may do so to control storage costs and consumption. Whatever the reason, Messaging Records Management policies that automatically delete email need to be put on hold, modified, or both.

Open EMC, navigate to Server Configuration, and click Mailbox. Right-click the effected server in the top pane and select Properties. Click the Messaging Records Management tab. Modify the schedule to Never Run. Because this affects all mailboxes on the server, you may want to skip this step. There may be some mailboxes that you know will not have information related to the inquiry.

Messaging Records Management -  Database Maintenance Schedule Exchange 2010

Database Maintenance Schedule Exchange 2010

MRM at the individual mailbox level

Rather than disabling or modifying a MRM policy for the entire organization, you also have the option to exclude individual mailboxes. Viewing the mailbox properties, selecting Mailbox Settings, and then viewing Messaging Records Management properties will allow you to disable MRM for that individual mailbox.

In Exchange 2010 SP1, you also have the option of viewing the properties of a Retention Policy to see a list of mailboxes that use that particular policy. Simply remove the mailboxes that should not have the policy applied.

Modify Messaging Records Management policy

Messaging Records Management policies propagate to your entire Exchange organization, so take care when modifying policies. Modify a policy in both Exchange 2007 and 2010 by opening EMC, navigating to Organization Configuration, and clicking Mailbox. Click Managed Default Folders, Managed Custom Folders, and/or Managed Folder Mailbox Policies (2010 RTM) depending on where your policies are located and which folders they affect. Policies can be removed or can be affectively disabled by unchecking Length of retention period (days). You might also extend the number of days to a number of days equivalent to 5 or 10 years which accomplishes the same goal.

If you are using Exchange 2010 SP1 or later, you will instead have tabs labeled Retention Policy Tags and Retention Policies.

Exchange 2010 Mailbox Litigation Hold

Up until this point, I’ve covered a lot of options that can be mixed and matched depending on your circumstances. What’s been missing from Exchange up until version 2010, was a quick and simple way to bypass any of the automation mentioned previously. Exchange 2010 adds a checkbox to a mailboxe’s MRM properties called Enable Litigation Hold.

This small checkbox is one of the most significant improvements from version 2007.

Messaging Records Management - Mailbox Messaging Records Management Exchange 2010

Mailbox Messaging Records Management Exchange 2010

At this point, I feel an Exchange administrator has taken adequate measures to assure that email has been preserved. I know many of you may have other input and have unique experiences of your own. Please comment and let the community know what I’m missing.

In the next part of the eDiscovery in Exchange series, I’ll describe how to navigate through the next phase of actually gathering email for legal inquiry.

  1. Ed Cross 11 years ago

    Under the section titled Messaging Records Management, he never tells how to prevent items from being deleted on Exchange 2007. Please help!

  2. Author
    Aaron 11 years ago


    If I understand your statement, you want to prevent a user from permanently deleting email.

    In the mailbox properties, go the Mailbox Settings and then Storage Quotas. There you can override the database defaults and force items to be backed up before they can be deleted.

    For database-wide settings, see screenshot in this post and enable modify Deletion settings.

    To allow a user to recover hard deleted items check this

    Hope that helps

  3. Ed Cross 11 years ago

    Do I have to select the checkbox and force items to be backed up before they can be deleted? A full backup is ran each night. Therefore, the next day they will be deleted?

  4. Author
    Aaron 11 years ago


    Items and mailboxes cannot be deleted from the database until the number of days specified in the Deletion Settings has been reached.

    The checkbox simply forces the item to be kept longer than that period if it hasn’t been backed up. It cannot force an immediate delete.

    Item deletion settings and the force backup checkbox can also be bypassed by deselecting ‘Use Mailbox Database Defaults’ in the individual mailbox properties ->Mailbox Settings->Storage Quotas.

    Since you are doing a full backup every night, the checkbox is basically not doing anything. But it does help you sleep a little better at night as it assures that nothing can be deleted until a full backup.


  5. Author
    Aaron 11 years ago

    Just some additional clarification on deletions.

    The user may SHIFT delete an item and they are unable to see it. But that item is still held in the database.

    What specifically are you trying to accomplish? Are you trying to get items to delete faster? Or are you concerned about preventing a user from deleting?

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.


© 4sysops 2006 - 2023


Please ask IT administration questions in the forums. Any other messages are welcome.


Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account