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I'm trying to recover space in my Mailbox Store and we have the 'Recover Deleted Items' option active in Outlook. Are these items still in the database and if so how can I permanently delete them?

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Moved comment to answer. Oops. – William Feb 25 '10 at 13:40
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, 'recover deleted items' takes up space in the mailbox store. Reduce your keep deleted items retention period to 0 days if you want to free up the space.

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Yes, they take space in the database. If you hard delete them (Shift + Delete), it should delete them permanently from the database. Note that this will not reduce the size of the physical edb files.

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It's files that have already been deleted - I need a management solution to strip them out of the database. I'm aware that it won't reduce the size of the edb but that's ok as Exchange calculates the size of the DB by adding together the edb and stm files and then subtracting the free space in each. – Marko Carter Feb 25 '10 at 14:32
Actually even items that have been hard deleted (Shift+Delete) remain in the database for how ever long the "keep deleted items" option is set to on the Exchange server. – ITGuy24 Feb 25 '10 at 19:32
@ITGuy24: I'm not sure about that. If you hard delete something and then look in Deleted Items Recovery, that item won't show up. The "Do not permanently delete mailboxes and items until the store has been backed up" option on the mailbox store may have some bearing on that, but we have that option disabled so I can't verify it. – joeqwerty Feb 26 '10 at 4:21
thats true, by default hard deleted items do not show up, but if you use the DumpsterAlwaysOn registry entry then these items do show up. I can't say I "know" these items remain in the store, but I can tell you that they are kept on the server, as you can recover them from any client, and they do get flushed based on the mailstore's "keep deleted items for X days" option. Which adds up to a pretty strong case that they remain in the store. – ITGuy24 Feb 26 '10 at 19:58
@ITGuy24: Thanks for the clarification. – joeqwerty Feb 26 '10 at 20:20

Yes they are kept in the mailbox store for whatever period is specified for deleted item retention, unless users have gone into Outlook's deleted item recovery (if you have that enabled) and manually deleted there. I've never tried permanently deleting from the database end (assuming that's what you want to do) but you may find a command for it in TechNet. You may also need to run one of the database cleanup jobs and ensure all DB logs are committed.

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