OT: Tales of woe...

Kevin Miller Kevin_Miller at ci.juneau.ak.us
Mon Apr 27 18:55:19 IST 2009

Forgive me if this is too off topic, but maybe it'll spare someone out there a bit of grief.  Internally we have an Exchange 2003 server.  I'm in the process of migrating our users to Exchange 2007.  Our mail retention policy purges messages older than 90 days in certain folders.  Historically, the Mailbox Manager in Exchange would clean out the specified folder but not subfolders, so we told our users if they needed to keep messages for historical purposes to move them.  

I created a folder called Archive at the same level in the tree as the managed folders.  Some users created subfolders under the managed folders.  We've been using Exchange since 2000.  The subfolders have *never* been touched.  So what do the boys from Redmond do in Exchange 2007?  They learned a new word.  Recursion.  Sigh.  I'm sure you can imagine the rest.  Suddenly the users I migrated to 2007 are calling and asking where they're important historical mail is.  At least the one's that created subfolders under the managed folders anyway.

So of course we have backups.  Everybody has backups, right?  Ours are swell. CA Arcserve Exchange agent w/document level resotres.  Snazzy.  Except they didn't work.  Well, sometimes they did.  One user might get their mail back, but the next user doesn't.  Groan.  After spending hours on the phone with CA over the course of several days, we finally did a database lever restore to a recovery storage group and merged the mail from there.  It got the missing mail back, but also any mail the users had read and deleted.  Acceptable, but not optimal.

So why post this here?  Well, mostly because MailScanner users are generally a great bunch of folks, some of whom also have to support Exchange, and I hope I can save someone the same hassle I had to go through.  Microsoft released a fix for the recursion issue last summer (a year or more after first rolling out Exchange 2007) when "enough of their customers complained".  I think that means some very big customer threatened to jump ship to Lotus Notes.  Anyway, if the Exchange 2007 server is on security rollup 5 or higher, there's a powershell command to turn off the recursion.  See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/939037.  The default is still to have recursion enabled.  I can't imagine how many other shops were bit by this.  It's not a particularly well advertised "feature".  At least I never stumbled across it in my reading and it was never mentioned in either the Exchange migration, nor administration classes I went to.

Again, sorry if this steps on anybodies toes.  I hope it helps someone out there...

Kevin Miller                Registered Linux User No: 307357
CBJ MIS Dept.               Network Systems Admin., Mail Admin.
155 South Seward Street     ph: (907) 586-0242
Juneau, Alaska 99801        fax: (907 586-4500 

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