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The Mailbox Cleanup Agent for Exchange

The Mailbox Cleanup Agent is an excellent example of how the ERK can add value to your system. The utility runs as a background process (Windows NT service) to help keep user mailboxes under control. You must install the agent, and the ERK provides a separate SETUP utility to move the necessary files onto your server. At the same time, the utility makes all the necessary adjustments to Exchange and NT. For example, the utility adds a configurable object to a recipients container. The object (the agent) is later configured with details of the work you want it to do.

After you complete installation, configure the agent. Locate the Mailbox Cleanup Agent object in the recipients container you specified, and double-click it. Screen A shows the major configuration items for the agent. In this example, the parameters instruct the agent to move any messages older than 30 days into a special folder called System Cleanup. If this folder doesn't exist, the agent will create it. Or you can move the selected items directly into the Deleted Items folder. Most users don't respond well to automated cleanups, so you'll be wise to use the intermediate step the System Cleanup folder offers. Users can retrieve messages from the folder any time before the next run of the agent. Note that you can exclude some mailboxes from the agent's attentions. Perhaps you don't want to process mailboxes belonging to senior management. If so, use the Exclude mailboxes option to selectively exclude these users. Screen B shows how the agent excludes mailboxes.

Now you must tell the agent when to run. Use a simple schedule, as Screen C shows. Remember that users need the opportunity to recover messages that the agent deletes. Running the agent every 30 days or so is a reasonable compromise between the desire to keep the growth of the information store under control and to avoid restoring a backup to recover a message that was deleted too soon.

After the agent finishes processing a user's mailbox, it sends the user a message describing what it has done. The last set of configuration options let you determine that text, as Screen D shows.

When you're happy with the configuration options, click OK to return to the Exchange administration program. Now you must start the NT service that does the processing. Screen E shows the Mailbox Cleanup Agent service selected and ready to be started.

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