Exchange Server

Exchange 2010: Retention Tags and Policies

As the part of my research to understand the new features of Exchange 2010, I recently gone through the the study and application of Retention Policies/Tags features. I have applied the features successfully at my test mailboxes and sharing those thoughts here:

I am describing the whole theory of Retention Policies/Tags at first and want to demonstrate the application after that.

Types of Retention Tag Flags:

Retention tags are flags used to set retention settings on messages and folders within Exchange 2010 Mailboxes. I have found three different Tags in Exchange 2010.

  • Retention Policy Tags (RPT) : Applied to default folders within the mailbox (e.g: Inbox, Deleted Items, Sent Items, etc.). You can apply only one RPT per retention policy.
  • Default Policy Tag (DPT):  This tag is applied to all other folders where a RPT is not applied. You can apply only one DPT per retention policy.
  • Personal Tags – Personal Tags are user assigned tags within Outlook 2010 or Outlook Web Application

Retention Tag Settings:

1. Tag Name: For the identification only and give a meaningful name

2. Tag Type: As described above the Tag types are DPT, RPT or Personal tag. If we select the Tag Type to be the default folders like  Inbox, Deleted Items, Sent Items, etc. then this is a RPT. If we choose All other folders in the mailbox then this would be a DPT. If we select Personal Folder that would be a Personal Tag.

3. Age Limit for retention (days): Days set to apply the retention settings.

4. Action to take when the age limit is reached: There are three actions that we can have a retention policy tag to perform:

  1. Delete and Allow Recovery – We will delete the item, and keep it within the Recoverable Items Folder for the deleted items retention period  to allow recovery.
  2. Permanently Delete – This is to hard delete an item and is no longer recoverable unless you have a backup.
  3. Move to Archive – Move the item to the online archive attached to the mailbox.


Managed Folder Assistant (MFA):

Managed Folder Assistant (MFA) applies the message retention settings to a mailbox. MFA is a throttled assistant and thus it ensures that it won’t consume much of the system resources. We can also schedule MFA to scan all mailboxes per day. This is called a work cycle.

We may run work cycle per day to process all the mailboxes by MFA to apply the retention policies. For that run the powershell cmdlet:

Set-MailboxServer <Server Name> -ManagedFolderWorkCycle 1

We can also scan a mailbox using the MFA immediately so that changes can be taken in effect:

Start-ManagedFolderAssistant –Identity

How to create Retention Policies/Tags in EMC

I have found the following Retention Policy Tags by default in Exchange 2010:

Add a new RPT as below:

Retention Policies are created here:

Create a new Retention Policy and add the newly created Tag to be available for to apply to a mailbox:

Now we are able to apply the new Retention policy to a mailbox. Open the mailbox properties and switch to the following tab:

Select and apply the RPT as below:

Now the mailbox will follow the RPT, when Exchange system runs the  MFA.

I have found as it is important to properly plan the retention tags and policies according to the business requirements. Make sure you do not loose important data.

Hope the article will help you out for an RPT planning fro your organization