Exchange Server 2010 – Purge the Deleted Items (RecoverableItems) Folder

Being the devoted Email Administrator that you are, you notice that the space for storing mailboxes on your Exchange Server is getting dangerously low, so you decide to take action. Logically, your first thought would be to have all your end users go through all the folders in their mailbox and get rid of any junk they don’t need and then empty their “Deleted Items” folder to regain the space back. After all, in most cases there really is no reason for users to keep every single email they’ve ever sent and received since the beginning of time (which a lot of them tend to do and I’ll never understand why).

Unfortunately, as you’ve probably already noticed, that is not the case. Simply having a user empty their “Deleted Items” folder has no effect on the database size whatsoever. This is partially due to the nifty feature that allows users to be able to recover deleted messages after they’ve already emptied their trash. By default, Exchange keeps deleted items for 14 days until they are purged, so now it is necessary to manually force the deletion of these items.
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Bash Script – Pcapsipdump Spool Directory File Rotation – OR – Rotate Directories Based on YYYYMMDD Format

In the config file for the pcapsipdump program, there is a retention option where you are supposed to be able to enter the number of days to keep the directories in your spool folder and it should auto purge out the old directories/files, however, this option either doesn’t appear to be implemented yet or doesn’t work if you run the app as a different user (could be a permissions issue maybe?).

Anyhow, this script is my solution to the problem. It could also very easily be modified and used where someone needs to search and delete directories that are based on YYYYMMDD format with the ability to whitelist or ignore certain directories, hence the alternate title. Yet another alternate title could even be “Bash Script Functions – Convert YYYYMMDD to Unix Time and Vice Versa” but obviously the script would need modified a little because it has been tailored to fit my needs.

When run as a cron job, the script will grab both the spool directory and the retention period from the pcapsipdump config file and will purge out any old folders based on YYYYMMDD format so they aren’t eating up all your valuable disk space.

I also added a couple of noteworthy user-configurable options. The first being a directory whitelist feature (IGNORE_DIRS array), this option can be used in situations where there are directories that you don’t want purged or would like to keep the data indefinitely and that can also be used in conjunction with the PURGE_ALL feature to delete out any subdirectories that aren’t specifically listed in the whitelist if you are a clean freak.

Download it now –

# pcapsipdump file rotation
# By Nathan Thomas
# 12/05/2014

### VARS ###
# Location of the pcapsipdump config file

# Keep the spool folder clean - Delete all folders (except those in the ignored directories array)
# yes - Keep the spool folder free from any directories not in the ignore list
# no - Don't worry about any other random folders in the spool directory
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