Unable to delete items in modern public folders : “Some Items cannot be deleted. They were either moved or already deleted, or access was denied”

Recently we had reports from a subset of users that they received the following error when they tried to deleted items from a specific set of public folders using their Outlook client: “Some Items cannot be deleted. They were either moved or already deleted, or access was denied”

A quick google search revealed that this happens to a mailbox whenever it goes over its RecoverableItemsQuota. Seeing that this was an Exchange 2013 environment, and starting in Exchange 2013 public folders are now stored in mailboxes, I assumed the same symptom was occurring. Sure enough the public folder mailbox these folders resided in was over its deleted item limit.

Get-Mailbox pubfoldermbx01 -PublicFolder | Select Name, *recoverable*
Name            RecoverableItemsQuota         RecoverableItemsWarningQuota
----            ---------------------         ----------------------------
PubFolderMbx02  60 GB (64,424,509,440 bytes)  40 GB (42,949,672,960 bytes)
 
Get-Mailbox pubfoldermbx0q -PublicFolder | Get-MailboxStatistics | Select DisplayName, TotalDeletedItemSize
DisplayName     TotalDeletedItemSize
-----------     --------------------
PubFolderMbx01  60 GB (64,424,509,440 bytes)

Another folder in the same public folder mailbox was taking up most the deleted item space of the mailbox. You can find this out by running the following

$PFStats = Get-PublicFolder -ResidentFolders -Mailbox pubfoldermbx01 -Recurse | Get-PublicFolderStatistics
 
$PFStats | Select Name, FOlderPath, TotalDeletedItemSize | Sort TotalDeletedItemSize -Descending | select -First 3
Name              FolderPath           TotalDeletedItemSize
----              ----------           --------------------
Offending Folder  {Offending Folder}   59.10 GB (63,458,141,798 bytes)
CLEAN             {CLEAN}	       3.517 GB (3,776,367,512 bytes)
Inbox             {Inbox}	       1.715 GB (1,841,476,727 bytes)

At this point we temporarily set the RecoverableItemsQuota on this public folder mailbox to unlimited reached out to the owners of the offending public folder.

Get-Mailbox -PublicFolder pubfoldermbx01 | Set-Mailbox -UseDatabaseRetentionDefaults $FALSE -PublicFolder
 
Get-Mailbox -PublicFolder pubfoldermbx01 | Set-Mailbox -RetainDeletedItemsFor $NULL –PublicFolder

We learned they were using the folder as a dumping group for alert messages from a system in their development environment, which was generating close to 10,000 messages a day. After explaining the situation and its impact on other users, the public folder owners agreed to a shorter item age and deleted item retention period.

Set-PublicFolder "\Offending Folder" -RetainDeletedItemsFor 0 -AgeLimit 5

We could have also moved the public folder to its own mailbox, but we decided that it would be best to try to limit how long the data was being held instead of continuing to accommodate a large volume of non-critical data.  After about 48 hours the new retention policy kicked in. This is due to the Managed folder assistant needing to first stamp the items with the new retention settings during the first past and then to act on the new stamp after the second pass. This process usually happens every 24 hours in Exchange 2013+. You can manually kick it off using Start-ManagedFolderAssistant like so

Start-ManagedFolderAssistant -Identity pubfoldermbx01
Posted in Exchange, Exchange 2013, Public Folders | Leave a comment
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