Understanding Managed Folders

Exchange 2010

Applies to: Exchange Server 2010 SP3, Exchange Server 2010 SP2

Topic Last Modified: 2014-01-14

Managed folders are a messaging records management (MRM) feature introduced in Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 that's also available in Exchange Server 2010. Using managed folders, you can specify retention settings for default folders such as Inbox, Deleted Items, and Sent Items, and create custom managed folders with their own retention settings. Managed folders rely on users to classify messages for retention, and move the messages to appropriate managed folders based on retention requirements.


Managed Folders

Managed Content Settings

Journaling and Managed Folders

Managed Folder Mailbox Polices

Managed Folder Assistant

Managed folders are an Active Directory representation of folders in a mailbox. You can define two types of managed folders:

  • Managed default folders   Managed default folders are managed folder objects created for default folders such as Inbox, Deleted Items, Sent Items, and others. Exchange 2010 Setup creates a set of managed default folders. You can use these folders or create additional ones for different sets of users.

    In a pure Exchange 2010 Service Pack 1 organization, Setup does not create any managed default folders. See Create a Managed Default Folder for instructions on how to create them.
  • Managed custom folders   Managed custom folders are managed folder objects you can use to create custom folders in a user's mailbox. The folders are created under a top-level folder called Managed Folders.

Managed custom folders are a premium feature of MRM. Each mailbox that has managed custom folders requires an Exchange Server Enterprise client access license (CAL).

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Managed content settings specify the retention and journaling settings for a managed folder. The settings can be for a specific message class (such as e-mail messages, calendar items, and tasks), or they can be for all message classes. You can specify multiple managed content settings for different message classes, allowing you to specify different retention settings for different types of items in the same folder.

These retention settings include a message class (whether retention is enabled for the specified message class), the retention age, and a retention action. The retention age specifies the period for which a message is retained in the mailbox. The retention action specifies the action to take after the item is past its retention age. For example, you can create a managed content setting for a managed default folder that moves all items to the Deleted Items folder after 120 days.

You can select from one of the following retention actions:

  • Move to the Deleted Items Folder   Use this action to move items to the Deleted Items folder upon expiration.

  • Move to a Managed Custom Folder   Use this action to move items to a managed custom folder. To use this action, you must first create the managed custom folder.

  • Delete and Allow Recovery   Use this action to move items to the Recoverable Items folder. Deleted items are available for recovery from the Recoverable Items folder until the deleted item retention time specified for the mailbox database or the user mailbox elapses.

  • Permanently Delete   Use this action to permanently delete items. Users can't recover items that have been permanently.

  • Mark as Past Retention Limit   Use this action to mark items as expired after they reach their retention age. Items marked as expired are displayed by using strikethrough text in Microsoft Outlook 2010 and Office Outlook 2007.

You can also specify whether the retention age is calculated from when a message is delivered to a mailbox or when it's moved to the folder it currently resides in. For calendar items and recurring tasks, the retention age is calculated from the end date of the item. For details about how the retention age is calculated, see How Retention Age is Calculated. For details about creating managed content settings for a managed folder, see Create Managed Content Settings.

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You can use managed folders to journal (automatically forward) copies of specific items to another location. Content can be journaled to any location that has an SMTP e-mail address, including another Exchange mailbox or a mail contact. You can assign a text label to messages to help preserve classification information and to enable automated sorting of journaled messages by the recipient. When an item is journaled, it's attached as an unaltered copy to a new e-mail message. Some properties of the item being journaled are assigned as properties of the new e-mail message, which facilitates review and automated sorting.

Journal reports generated by the Managed Folder Assistant on mailbox servers are different from journal reports generated by the Journaling agent on Hub Transport servers when you use standard (per-mailbox database) or premium journaling. To learn more about journaling, see Understanding Journaling.

A managed folder mailbox policy is a logical grouping of managed folders that can be applied to mailboxes, allowing you to apply managed content settings for multiple managed folders to a user. A policy can contain a mix of managed default folders and managed custom folders. However, you can't add two managed default folders of the same type (such as the Inbox) to the same policy. Managed folders can be added or removed from a managed folder mailbox policy at any time. A mailbox user can have only one managed folder mailbox policy applied.

For details about how to create or apply a managed folder mailbox policy, see Create a Managed Folder Mailbox Policy and Apply a Managed Folder Mailbox Policy to Users.

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The Managed Folder Assistant is a process that runs on Mailbox servers and applies managed folder mailbox policies to mailboxes located on that server. The assistant retrieves the list of managed folders associated with a policy, provisions managed folders in mailboxes, and processes items in those folders. Items for which retention is enabled are stamped with the retention age. The retention action specified in applicable managed content settings is taken on items that have reached their retention age.

In Exchange 2010 SP1, the Managed Folder Assistant is a throttle-based assistant. Throttle-based assistants don't run on a schedule. Instead, they're configured to process all mailboxes on a Mailbox server within a certain period of time (known as a work cycle). Additionally, at a specified interval known as the work cycle checkpoint, the Managed Folder Assistant refreshes the list of mailboxes to be processed. During the refresh, the assistant adds newly created or moved mailboxes to the queue. It also reprioritizes existing mailboxes that haven't been processed successfully for awhile due to failures and moves them higher in the queue so they can be processed during the same work cycle.

In Exchange 2010, the Managed Folder Assistant is a schedule-based assistant that's scheduled to run from 01:00 through 09:00 (1:00 A.M. through 9:00 A.M.) every day. You can modify the assistant's schedule to make sure there's minimal user impact. You can also start and stop the assistant manually by using the Exchange Management Shell. To learn more about scheduling the assistant, see Configure the Managed Folder Assistant.

In Exchange 2010, the Managed Folder Assistant also applies retention policies for MRM. You can apply either a retention policy or a managed folder mailbox policy to a mailbox. If you modify the Managed Folder Assistant schedule, it impacts both MRM features.

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