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Tip of the Day
Language: Microsoft Exchange
Expertise: Beginner
Feb 14, 2000

Preventing Users from Deleting E-mail

Question:
I would like to prevent users from deleting e-mail in Outlook 97 on a Windows 95 or Windows NT workstation in combination with Exchange Server on an NT server. We use Exchange to retrieve and send e-mails and the clients use Outlook 97 on their PCs.

Is there any possibility to prevent users from deleting received and sent e-mails so that this can be done only by the administrator?

Answer:
Now there's an unusual question...how to prevent users from deleting received and sent e-mails in their own mailboxes.

I suppose you could remove their own Owner permissions to the folders and then remove the Delete Items permission to the Inbox and Sent Items folders, but I strongly recommend against that. Without the capability to delete messages (which also means the capability to move messages) your users will have virtually no ability to manage their mailboxes at all!

I can't imagine that your administrator wants to be charged with the mundane tasks of cleaning up mailboxes every day...so may I suggest alternate solutions?

First, you don't really indicate why you want to do this so I'll work from the presumption that your users are deleting things they shouldn't be. In that case, the easiest solution is to enable Deleted Item Retention on the Exchange server.

To do that, go to the server container and find the Private Information Store object. Go into the properties of that object and set the deleted item retention time to longer than the default of zero days. You can even set it to not purge those items at all until after a backup is done.

The default for your users is to use the Information Store default, so you shouldn't have to change anything there.

That said, if you really want to disable the users' ability to delete items, you can try removing their owner permission—but be forewarned that this might introduce some other problems, not the least of which will be overflowing mailboxes and a lot of admin time doing routine cleanup.

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