Exchange 2007 Messaging Records Management (Part 2)

If you missed the first part in this article series please read Exchange 2007 Messaging Records Management (Part 1).

Introduction

In part one of this article, we looked at an overview of what Messaging Records Management (MRM) is and then went on to cover the first two of the five steps required to implement it. The first step required the creation or identification of the required managed folders, namely managed default folders or managed custom folders. Once these had been created, managed content settings were created that were applied to the managed folders. We’ll now go on to look at the remaining three steps required to complete the process. They are:

  • Create managed folder mailbox policies.
  • Apply the managed folder mailbox policies.
  • Schedule the managed folder assistant.

Step 3: Managed Folder Mailbox Policies

The third step is to create managed folder mailbox policies. In part one of this two-part article, we created three managed custom folders that we can ensure are deployed to users at the same time by linking them to a managed folder mailbox policy. That’s one of the key things to consider regarding a managed folder mailbox policy – all managed folders that are linked to the policy are created at the same time when the policy is linked to a user’s mailbox. To create this policy via the Exchange Management Console (EMC):

  1. Run the EMC.
  2. Expand the Organization Configuration node and then click Mailbox.
  3. Either right-click the Mailbox object and choose the New Managed Folder Mailbox Policy… option, or choose the same option from the Action pane.
  4. The New Managed Folder Mailbox Policy wizard appears which consists of the screen that you see now plus the Completion screen. The first screen is shown below in Figure 10.


Figure 10: New Managed Folder Mailbox Policy Wizard

  1. On this first screen, give the managed folder mailbox policy a suitable name in the first field. Let’s assume that all of our managed custom folders are to appear in each user’s mailbox, so we’ll call this policy Default Managed Custom Folders.
  2. In the Specify the managed folders that you want to link to this policy area, click the Add… button which then presents you with the Select Managed Folder window. Here you will see all available managed folders, including both default and custom managed folders. I’ve added the Inbox, Old Inbox Items, Project X and Project Y custom managed folders. Note that you can shift or control-select multiple folders if required. Obviously we need to add the Inbox folder in order to ensure our Inbox managed content settings are applied. This won’t create the Inbox folder of course, since this is a managed default folder that already exists. This window is shown in Figure 11. Once done, click OK which returns you back to the previous window.


Figure 11: Adding Folders to the Policy

  1. Clicking the New button then presents the Completion screen which also shows us the Exchange Management Shell (EMS) command used to create this policy. Clicking the Finish button completes the wizard.

The EMS cmdlet for creating the managed folder mailbox policy is straightforward. It is:

New-ManagedFolderMailboxPolicy -Name ‘Default Managed Custom Folders’ -ManagedFolderLinks ‘Old Inbox Items’,’Project X’,’Project Y’

Step 4: Apply Managed Folder Mailbox Policies

The penultimate step is to apply the managed folder mailbox policy that we just created to our users. As I stated earlier in step 3, let’s assume for this article that we want to apply our policy to all users. Perhaps the easiest way to do this is via the EMS, since we can easily deploy the policies to many mailboxes in bulk. A suitable cmdlet to deploy to all users the Default Managed Custom Folders policy that we just created is:

Get-Mailbox | Set-Mailbox –ManagedFolderMailboxPolicy ‘Default Managed Custom Folders’

You may remember from your PowerShell reading that in the above line we have piped the result of one cmdlet, Get-Mailbox, into the next cmdlet that sets the policies. Get-Mailbox is going to retrieve all mailboxes of course. You could do clever things like refining your selection to only include certain values set on specific Active Directory attributes. For example, you can retrieve all users who have their Active Directory ‘Title’ attribute set to ‘Manager’ via the following cmdlet:

Get-User | Where-Object {$_.RecipientType -eq “UserMailbox” -and $_.Title -eq “Manager”}

You’ll note the use of the UserMailbox recipient type, which targets all mailbox-enabled users, since we’re using Get-User this time rather than Get-Mailbox. To complete the entire cmdlet, we need to set the managed folder mailbox policy on the results, so the cmdlet becomes:

Get-User | Where-Object {$_.RecipientType -eq “UserMailbox” -and $_.Title -eq “Manager”}| Set-Mailbox -ManagedFolderMailboxPolicy “Default Managed Custom Folders”

After executing your cmdlet, you may find warnings and errors recorded depending on certain circumstances. For example, you may see the warning shown in Figure 12 informing you that clients older than Outlook 2003 SP2 are not supported.

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Figure 12: Set-Mailbox Warning

What happens in the situation where Exchange 2007 is coexisting with Exchange 2003? In such a situation, there’s a strong possibility that not all user mailboxes will have been moved to Exchange 2007 by the time the administrator creates MRM policies. If these policies are applied to all users, the error shown in Figure 13 will be displayed by EMS. As you can see, it is not possible to set the policy on an Exchange 2003 mailbox.

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Figure 13: Set-Mailbox Error

To apply managed folder mailbox policies via the EMC, follow these steps:

  1. Run the EMC.
  2. Expand the Recipient Configuration node and then click Mailbox.
  3. In the result pane, locate the relevant user mailbox, right-click it and choose Properties from the context menu.
  4. With the user properties displayed, click the Mailbox Settings tab.
  5. Select Messaging Records Management and then click the Properties button.
  6. In the resulting Messaging Records Management window, select the Managed folder mailbox policy check box and then click the Browse button.
  7. In the resulting Select Managed Folder Mailbox Policy window, select the relevant policy. In our case here, we select the Default Managed Custom Folders policy. Click OK.
  8. Back at the Messaging Records Management window, you should see a screen similar to the one shown below in Figure 14.


Figure 14: Policy Enabled via EMC

  1. Click OK all the way back out to the main EMC window.

Step 5: Schedule Managed Folder Assistant

Just creating the managed folder mailbox policy isn’t enough to get the managed custom folders created in each user’s Outlook or OWA client. To do this you must schedule the managed folder assistant to run on a mailbox server. In addition to creating the managed folders, the managed folder assistant also applies the managed content settings that we created in step 2 in part 1 of this article.

Here’s how to set the managed folder assistant using the EMC:

  1. Run the EMC.
  2. Expand the Server Configuration node and then click Mailbox.
  3. In the result pane, locate the relevant mailbox server and right-click it. From the context menu, choose Properties.
  4. From the resulting server properties window, click the Messaging Records Management tab. This tab is very simple as you can see from Figure 15 below.


Figure 15: Mailbox Server Messaging Records Management Tab

  1. From here it’s just a case of clicking the Customize… button and configuring when you want the managed folder assistant to run via the familiar schedule screen that you see so often when configuring Exchange.

If you don’t want to wait for the scheduled time to occur or if in the future you need to run the managed folder assistant on demand, you can perform a manual run via the following cmdlet:

Start-ManagedFolderAssistant

Without any additional parameters specified, the above cmdlet will process all mailboxes on the local server. Optional parameters that you can include with the above cmdlet are:

  • -DomainController. Use this parameter to specify which domain controller you’d like to use for the operation.
  • -Identity. With this parameter, you can specify which server you would like to process the mailboxes on.
  • -Mailbox. If you want to process an individual mailbox, use this parameter. You can specify this parameter using either the user’s email address, the user name in the domain\user format, or the mailbox GUID.

For example, to process the mailbox for User1 who’s a member of the NGH domain, you could use the following cmdlet:

Start-ManagedFolderAssistant –Mailbox NGH\User1

When deciding on a suitable schedule for the managed folder assistant, be aware that Microsoft recommends that it does not occur at the same time as your backup or online database maintenance.

Finally, I’d like to finish this article by quickly covering what happens when you delete all the managed custom folders and managed folder mailbox policies. You’d think that this would remove the folders from the user mailboxes. What actually happens is that the Managed Folders root folder, plus all subfolders, are converted to normal folders that can then be removed by the user. Note from Figure 16 the change in the folder icons from those shown in Figure 1 from part 1 of this article.


Figure 16: Managed Folders Now Removable

Summary

This completes our look at MRM in Exchange 2007. As you’ve seen, MRM allows the administrators and users to retain the information needed for business or compliance reasons and is a welcome addition to Exchange functionality. It’s not difficult to set up and configure but perhaps arguably the most difficult part of the implementation is going to be the planning involved in determining the required policies.

If you missed the first part in this article series please read Exchange 2007 Messaging Records Management (Part 1).

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