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I am using BackupExec 2010 R3 and Exchange 2010. Full backups are taken weekly with a daily incremental.

When looking at the output of Get-MailboxStatistics, I have noticed that the value for TotalDeletedItemSize is only growing. I believe this value is not the Deleted Items folder in the mailbox, but items that have been permanently deleted (i.e., shift-del or items deleted/expired from the Deleted items folder).

I thought that when a Full backup was run that these deleted items would be purged. Am I wrong? Or is something broken?

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When the full backup is taken using the Exchange agent it will backup the Deleted Items by default but it won't override the retention period settings in Exchange itself. It will delete the transaction logs up to the start of the full backup itself, but permanently deleted items still remain in the mailbox store until the retention period expires.

Symantec recommends (see here, despite it being old it still applies: that you even set a retention period long enough for your needs and what your disk space can handle. This is because even they admit it is much easier to recover a deleted item within the retention period than to deal with restoring from an actual backup.

EDIT: For our "discussion" here's a screenshot EXAMPLE of the database tab showing the backup status:

enter image description here

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That document you linked to also says "If possible, configure the Exchange server so that items are not deleted until a full backup is performed," which is precisely the option I have turned on, and my dumpster items are not being deleted. – longneck Jan 29 '13 at 18:41
That means that the dumpster items will NEVER be deleted regardless of the retention period set in "Keep Deleted Items for (days)" until a full backup has ran. So if the setting is "14 days" and you don't do a full backup for 30 days, then once the full backup does run (and grabs the dumpster items too) it will then purge anything in the Dumpster older than 14 days at that point. See here (#5): – TheCleaner Jan 29 '13 at 19:18
Right. I get that. What I'm saying is the dumpster items are never removed. It's like BackupExec isn't telling Exchange that it completed a full backup so it's time to delete those items. – longneck Jan 29 '13 at 19:23
In BUE does it purge the transaction logs themselves fine after the Full? Are you set to "Full-Database & Logs (flush committed logs)"? Is "Advanced Open File" checked? If so, I don't think it should be, and if it is you should uncheck the "process logical volumes for backup one at a time". But again, the AOFO shouldn't be checked on an Exchange backup. Finally, when does Exchange show the last full to be for the databases? Does it coincide with the BUE backup? (SEE my screenshot edit in my post) – TheCleaner Jan 29 '13 at 19:38

The "Dumpster Items" as they are sometimes referred to, are controlled by the deletion settings on the mailbox database on which the mailbox resides.

Go to the properties of on of your mailbox DBs in the EMC and go to the "Limits" tab. There you will find the "Keep deleted items for (days):" setting. by default I believe this is set to 14 days. So regardless of your backups, those deleted, deleted items will not be purged from the mailbox until after the specified number of days in the above setting. You can also set this to "0" to disable retaining these messages, but I'd recommend against that unless you have low storage and VERY reliable backups.

You can also set this setting per mailbox in the user properties.

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