KC Lemson

By KC Lemson [MS]


Items deleted via IMAP are available in the dumpster

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A discussion I had with some coworkers over lunch reminded me of another "dumpster trick" for Exchange: items deleted via IMAP can be recovered via the dumpster. I previously described the per-folder dumpster concept in September 26th's blog entry.

IMAP has a different deletion model than Outlook or most other POP clients. If you're familiar with Pine, then you'll recognize the model: When an item is deleted, it remains in the same folder, with a "deleted" property on it. In order to completely remove it, the items "marked for deletion" must be expunged from the folder. In Outlook and Outlook Express, this is done via Edit | Purge Deleted Messages.

When you're using IMAP against an Exchange server and you mark an item for deletion and then expunge deleted items in that folder, it's moved into the per-folder dumpster. The item can be retrieved in Outlook by setting a registry key, or in OWA with a specially formatted URL. See my previous blog entry for details.

Interesting trivia: In a way, the dumpster is Exchange's version of the IMAP deletion model. Items remain in a "folder" with a "softdeleted" property set on them. If you sniff the HTTP traffic when viewing the dumpster with OWA, you'll see that it performs an HTTP request and does a search in the same folder with a different scope: FROM Scope('SOFTDELETED Traversal of ""') instead of the usual FROM Scope('SHALLOW TRAVERSAL OF ""'). The server removes items from the dumpster when the PR_DELETED_ON property is greater than the number of days for which deleted items retention is configured.

  • Thanks,

    With this article you helped me and some of my users a lot. this was a solution that saved them weeks of work.


    Guillaume Groen

  • Thanks for letting me know, Guillaume! It's really rewarding to hear that my posts help solve problems.

  • Thanks for note on deleted items. Most helpful.