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How Retention Age is Calculated

 

Applies to: Exchange Server 2013, Exchange Online

Topic Last Modified: 2014-03-26

When the Managed Folder Assistant processes items in a mailbox, if the items have a retention tag with a retention limit, the assistant tests the age of those items and takes the specified action for items that have exceeded their retention limit.

The retention age of mailbox items is calculated from the date of delivery. When the Managed Folder Assistant processes items in a mailbox, it stamps a start date and an expiration date for all items that have retention tags with the Delete and Allow Recovery or Permanently Delete retention action. Items that have an archive tag are also stamped with a move date.

The retention age for items in the Deleted Items default folder is calculated based on the date of delivery unless the item was moved or deleted from a folder that doesn't have an inherited or implicit retention tag. Consider the following examples:

  • A user receives a message in the Inbox folder on 01/26/2011. The Inbox folder has a retention tag configured to delete items in 365 days.

    1. The Managed Folder Assistant processes the message. It stamps the message with a start date of 01/26/2011 and an expiration date of 01/26/2012.

    2. The user soft-deletes the item on 02/27/2011.The item is moved to the Deleted Items folder, which has a retention tag configured to delete the item in 30 days.

    3. The Managed Folder Assistant processes the message. It recalculates the expiration date based on the start date (01/26/2011).

    4. Because the item is older than 30 days, it is deleted immediately.

  • A user receives an item in the Inbox folder on 01/26/2011.The Inbox folder doesn't have a retention tag applied, and the retention policy doesn't contain a default policy tag.

    1. The user soft-deletes the item on 02/27/2011.The item is moved to the Deleted Items folder, which has a retention tag configured to delete items in 30 days.

    2. The Managed Folder Assistant processes the mailbox on 02/27/2011 and determines the item doesn't have a start date. It stamps the current date as the start date, and 03/27/2011 as the expiration date.

      NoteNote:
      In Exchange Online, mailboxes may be processed once in seven days. In the above example, the MFA may process the mailbox on 2/27/2011 or up to seven days after that, resulting in an expiration date between 3/27/2011 to 4/3/2011).
    3. The item is deleted on 03/27/2011, which is 30 days after it was deleted or moved to the Deleted Items folder.

The same is true for both move tags (tags with the Move to Archive retention action) and delete tags (tags with the Delete and Allow Recovery and Permanently Delete retention actions).

Depending on whether a calendar item is in the Deleted Items folder, the Managed Folder Assistant uses the following rules to calculate the age of calendar items and enforce retention limits. The steps for each rule are listed in the order in which they are performed.

 

Location of calendar items Rules

Calendar items in the Deleted Items folder

  1. A calendar item expires according to its message-received date, if one exists.

  2. If a calendar item doesn't have a message-received date, it expires according to its message-creation date.

  3. If a calendar item has neither a message-received date nor a message-creation date, it doesn't expire.

Calendar items not in the Deleted Items folder

  • Non-recurring calendar items expire according to their end date.

  • Recurring calendar items expire according to the end date of their last occurrence. Recurring calendar items with no end date don't expire.

Depending on whether a task is in the Deleted Items folder, the Managed Folder Assistant uses the rules listed in the following table to calculate the age of tasks and enforce retention limits. The steps for each rule are listed in the order in which they are performed.

 

Location of tasks Rules

Tasks in the Deleted Items folder

  1. A task expires according to its message-received date, if one exists.

  2. If a task doesn't have a message-received date, it expires according to its message-creation date.

  3. If a task has neither a message-received date nor a message-creation date, it doesn't expire.

Tasks not in the Deleted Items folder

  • Non-recurring tasks:

    1. A non-recurring task expires according to its message-received date, if one exists.

    2. If a non-recurring task doesn't have a message-received date, it expires according to its message-creation date.

    3. If a non-recurring task has neither a message-received date nor a message-creation date, it doesn't expire.

  • A recurring task expires according to the end date of its last occurrence. If a recurring task doesn't have an end date, it doesn't expire.

  • A regenerating task (which is a recurring task that regenerates a specified time after the preceding instance of the task is completed) doesn't expire.

For all other types of items, the Managed Folder Assistant uses the following rules to calculate the age and enforce retention limits. These items include:

  • Email messages

  • Contacts

  • Documents

  • Faxes

  • Journal items

  • Meeting requests, responses, and cancellations

  • Missed calls

The steps for each rule are listed in the order in which they are performed.

 

Period at which retention starts Rules

When an item is delivered to a user's mailbox

  1. If the item has a message-received date, the message-received date is used.

  2. If the item doesn't have a message-received date, the message-creation date is used.

  3. If the item doesn't have a message-creation date, the message doesn't expire.

When a user moves the item to the managed folder

  1. If the item has a move date, the move date is used.

  2. If the item doesn't have a move date, the item doesn't expire.

Any corrupted items in a mailbox are skipped by the Managed Folder Assistant and don't expire.

 
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