Step 3: Set email storage quota limits on Exchange 2007 folders

Create, apply and associate an email-retention policy on Exchange 2007 managed folders to limit how long messages are stored in Microsoft Outlook mailboxes

One requirement for the Contoso project was to prevent users from storing messages in their Inboxes for more than one year. We created a managed folder for this project, but can't create a special "Inbox" folder because it already exists by default.

Exchange Server's Managed Default Folders tab gives you a list of all built-in folders that can be controlled the same as a custom managed folder. To set storage limits on the Exchange 2007 Inbox:

  1. Go to the Managed Default Folders tab to view a list of all built-in Exchange 2007 folders (Figure 4).
  2. Manage default Exchange 2007 folders
    Figure 4: You can manage default folders.

  3. Right click on the Inbox folder and select New Managed Content Settings. The Exchange Management Console will launch the New Managed Content Settings wizard. The wizard will ask you to name the new managed content settings.
  4. Name the setting One Year Limit.
  5. Verify that the Message Type dropdown list is set to All Mailbox Content.
  6. Select the Length of Retention Period checkbox and enter 365 -- the number of days in the retention period.
  7. Ensure that the retention period is set to begin once items are delivered, and that items will move to the Deleted Items folder at the end of the retention period.
  8. Click Next to advance to the wizard's Journaling screen.
  9. Click Next to view a summary screen showing your chosen managed content settings options.
  10. If the information is correct, click New to create the new managed content settings.
  11. When the creation process completes, click Finish.

To regulate the amount of time that users store items in their mailbox folders in a real-world scenario, you should now repeat the above process for both the Sent Items and Deleted Items folders.

Create message storage warning for users

Some users might get upset if they think that they can store messages in their Inboxes indefinitely, only to have the messages delete automatically after a year. Therefore, you should create a warning message that users will see when accessing their Inbox folders.

  1. With the Managed Default Folders tab selected, right click on the Inbox folder and select Properties. You will see the Inbox Properties sheet. This sheet lets you display a comment when the folder is viewed in Outlook 2007. For the sake of demonstration, enter:
  2. Messages in this folder will be deleted after 365 days. Messages related to the Contoso project should be moved to the Contoso folder.

  3. Click OK to save your changes. The warning message will appear after the managed folder settings are refreshed.

To build a policy that incorporates the one-year email retention limit to a user's mailbox:

  1. Navigate through the console tree to:

    Organization Configuration -> Mailbox. The details pane will display a series of tabs.

  2. Select the Managed Folder Mailbox Policies tab and click the New Managed Folder Mailbox Policy link.
  3. The management console will display the New Managed Folder Mailbox Policy wizard, as shown in Figure 5.

    Exchange 2007 Manged Folder Mailbox Policy Figure 5: The New Managed Folder Mailbox Policy wizard lets you create managed folder mailbox policies.

  4. The wizard will ask you to name the new policy. Call it Mailbox Retention Policy.
  5. Enter Mailbox Retention Policy in the space and click Add. You then will be asked to select the managed folders, as shown in Figure 6.

    Select Exchange 2007 managed folders Figure 6: Select the folders to which the new policy applies.

  6. You can apply this policy to any built-in folders. To apply this policy to Inbox, Sent Items, and Deleted Items folders hold down the Control key and select these folders.

  7. Click OK to go to the previous screen. The folders that you have chosen should now be displayed on the screen, as shown in Figure 7.

    Exchange 2007 managed folders
    Figure 7: Selected folders that will adhere to the new policy.

  8. Click New and the policy will be created.
  9. When the process completes, click Finish.

Associate a Mailbox Retention policy with specific users

After building a one-year retention policy, you should associate that policy to users in your Exchange 2007 environment:

  1. Navigate through the Exchange Management Console to Recipient Configuration -> Mailbox. You should see a list of all users who have Exchange mailboxes.
  2. Double click on the mailbox for which you want to set a retention period. You then will see the properties sheet for that mailbox.
  3. Select the Mailbox Settings tab and you will see options for Messaging Records Management and Storage Quotas.
  4. Double click on Messaging Records Management and the management console will display the dialog box shown in Figure 8.
  5. Exchange 2007 Messaging Records Management Figure 8: The Messaging Records Management dialog box lets you associate a managed folder mailbox policy with a user's mailbox.

  6. Select the Managed Folder Mailbox Policy box.
  7. Click Browse.
  8. Select the Mailbox Retention Policy that you created earlier from the browse list, and click OK. You have the option to enable a retention hold on items in this mailbox. You can also use this option to override the retention policy. For example, if the mailbox owner was involved in a lawsuit, and the courts subpoenaed the user's email, you would enable this option to prevent old messages from being deleted.
  9. Click OK twice. A warning message will appear indicating that clients using a version of Microsoft Outlook older than 2007 don't have all of the available client features needed to support the policy. This message will then ask if you want to assign a managed folder mailbox policy.
  10. Click Yes to apply the policy.

The new policies are active. Any users to whom these policies apply will be prohibited from storing items in their Inboxes for more than a year. The Contoso folder is also configured to retain messages for five years.

Email archiving and retention with Exchange 2007 managed folders

 Home: Introduction
 Step 1: Create Exchange 2007 managed folders for email retention
 Step 2: Define email-retention limits for Exchange 2007 managed folders
 Step 3: Set email storage quota limits on Exchange 2007 folders
 Step 4: Configure transport rules to auto-archive Exchange 2007 email
 Step 5: Use Exchange 2007 public folders for extended email archiving

Brien M. Posey, MCSE
Brien M. Posey, MCSE, is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for his work with Exchange Server, and has previously received Microsoft's MVP award for Windows Server and Internet Information Server (IIS). Brien has served as CIO for a nationwide chain of hospitals and was once responsible for the Department of Information Management at Fort Knox. As a freelance technical writer, Brien has written for Microsoft, TechTarget, CNET, ZDNet, MSD2D, Relevant Technologies and other technology companies. You can visit Brien's personal Web site at

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