Exchange & Outlook UPDATE, Exchange Edition--September 25, 2003

This Issue Sponsored By

Esker Software

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1. Commentary

- Exchange's Daily Scheduled Maintenance

2. Announcements

- Attend Exchange Connections, Win a Free Vacation

- New Web Seminars on Exchange, Active Directory, and More!

3. Resources

- Understanding Deleted Item Retention

- Featured Thread: Problems Mounting a Public Folder Store

- Outlook Tip: Creating an Outlook Form That Will Be Flagged in Certain Circumstances

4. Events

- New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

5. New and Improved

- Minimize Mailbox Size

- Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

6. Contact Us

- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

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==== 1. Commentary: Exchange's Daily Scheduled Maintenance ==== by Paul Robichaux, News Editor, exadmin@winnetmag.com

Most mornings, I get up to work at 5:00 a.m., while my three young sons are still sleeping. That way, I can do some productive work and get a good head start on the most important tasks of the day. Exchange Server has a similar special time: the daily scheduled maintenance period. This period, which by default occurs from 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., gives the Information Store (IS) a chance to perform several vital maintenance tasks--online defragmentation, tombstone maintenance, Deleted Item Retention store cleanup, Deleted Mailbox store cleanup, and index purging--that help keep your Exchange mailbox and public folder databases free of unnecessary clutter. Let's examine these basic tasks.

- Online defragmentation. As users add and remove messages, the amount of used space in Exchange's database files fluctuates. The IS conscientiously recycles free space in the database file, only increasing the size of the file when there isn't enough unallocated space. During an online defragmentation, the IS reallocates and rearranges pages to put all the free space in a contiguous block at the end of the database file. Doing so makes future allocations more efficient. After a defrag, you can check the event log for event ID 1221, which tells you how much free space a particular database file contains. This information in turn helps you estimate how long you have before the IS increases the database file size.

- Tombstone maintenance. This task sounds like something from an old John Ford movie, but in reality it's something altogether different. When a user marks an item for deletion from the IS, Exchange doesn't immediately delete the item. Rather, Exchange replaces the deleted item with a tombstone--basically, Exchange sets an "Is this deleted?" flag on the object and replicates the object (along with the flag) to other servers. After a 30- or 60-day period (depending on the object type), Exchange removes the tombstone and truly deletes the item during tombstone maintenance.

- Deleted Item Retention store cleanup. If you've turned on Deleted Item Retention, Exchange places deleted items in the Deleted Item Retention store (aka the dumpster). Deleted items stay in the dumpster until the end of the specified Deleted Item Retention period, after which Exchange deletes them.

- Deleted Mailbox store cleanup. Exchange Server 2003 and Exchange 2000 Server support a dumpster for deleted mailboxes. This mechanism can be a real lifesaver if you accidentally delete an important mailbox. The process is the same as for deleted items.

- Message table checking. The IS performs some limited consistency checking to examine the message tables in each mailbox and update those tables as needed. Don't confuse this process with the more comprehensive, and much slower, message table tests that Isinteg performs.

- Index purging. For efficiency, the IS dynamically builds database indexes when users change the view criteria in Outlook. However, keeping a limitless store of view information around is impossible, so after a variable period (usually about 7 days) old views expire and Exchange removes them.

The best part about these maintenance tasks is that they're completely automatic. Although you can change the times when the tasks run, you can't (and shouldn't) turn them off entirely. Exchange lets you control the allocated time window for maintenance, so if you set a window that's too brief, Exchange will defer some maintenance tasks until the next window. This delay can lead to IS instability or storage-utilization problems, so check the event log to verify that all your daily maintenance tasks are finishing. If they aren't, use the mailbox database or public folder database Properties dialog box's Database tab to lengthen the schedule window. Next week, I'll discuss other maintenance tasks that Exchange sometimes requires.

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==== 2. Announcements ==== (from Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

Attend Exchange Connections, Win a Free Vacation

Learn the latest tech tips and tricks from gurus like Tony Redmond, Sue Mosher, Paul Robichaux, and the Microsoft Exchange Team. Receive free access to concurrently running Windows & .NET Magazine Connections. Plus, you'll have a chance to win a 5-day Las Vegas vacation with airfare for two. Register now online, or call 800-505-1201 or 203- 268-3204.

http://www.winconnections.com/exc

New Web Seminars on Exchange, Active Directory, and More!

Check out the latest lineup of Web seminars from Windows & .NET Magazine. Prepare your enterprise for Exchange Server 2003, discover the legal ramifications of deterring email abuse, and find out how Active Directory can help you create and maintain a rock-solid infrastructure. There is no charge for these events, but space is limited, so register today!

http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars

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==== 3. Resources ====

Understanding Deleted Item Retention

Do you have questions about Exchange Server's message-deletion process? The Microsoft article "XADM: Understanding Deleted Item Retention and Message Deletion Process" explains the process and how Exchange's Deleted Item Retention option works.

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=249680

Featured Thread: Problems Mounting a Public Folder Store

A forum reader is having trouble mounting a public folder store in several of his domains. To offer your advice or join the discussion, go to the following URL:

http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=40&tid=63598

Outlook Tip: Creating an Outlook Form That Will Be Flagged in Certain Circumstances by Sue Mosher, olupdate@slipstick.com

Q: I'm trying to create an Outlook form that will be flagged in certain circumstances, depending on user input. I've inserted a field called Office, added the Flag Status field to the form, set the Initial Value for Flag Status to

IIf( \[Office\]="Glasgow", "Flagged" ,"Normal" )

and set the Flag Status field to calculate automatically. But the form seems to disregard the Office value. What am I doing wrong?

A: The Flag Status property doesn't actually have values of Flagged and Normal. Outlook displays those values to the user but stores a value of 2 for Flagged and 0 for Normal. Therefore, your formula should be

IIf( \[Office\]="Glasgow", 2,0)

When in doubt about the allowable values for built-in properties, you can consult the object browser either in the form's script window or in Outlook's Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) environment.

See the Exchange & Outlook Administrator Web site for more great tips from Sue Mosher.

http://www.exchangeadmin.com

==== 4. Events ==== (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

New--Mobile & Wireless Road Show!

Learn more about the wireless and mobility solutions that are available today! Register now for this free event!

http://www.winnetmag.com/roadshows/wireless

==== 5. New and Improved ==== by Carolyn Mader, products@winnetmag.com

Minimize Mailbox Size

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Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to whatshot@winnetmag.com.

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==== 6. Contact Us ====

About the newsletter -- letters@winnetmag.com

About technical questions -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums

About product news -- products@winnetmag.com

About your subscription -- exchangeandoutlookupdate@winnetmag.com

About sponsoring UPDATE -- emedia_opps@winnetmag.com

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