Recently, I was asked if it is possible to remove stub items. The reason was they were going to transition to a newer version of Exchange and they won’t be using the archiving solution in the new environment. When required, vendor tooling would be used to search through the (old) archives.
In such cases it makes sense to remove the stubs from the mailbox, which are shortcut messages that points to a copy of the original message in the archive solution. The new environment won’t contain the required Outlook plugins or extensions to retrieve the original message from the archive using the stub, so the stub will mostly lead to a partial or empty message.
To identify stubs, one can filter on an attribute of each item, MessageClass. This attribute defines which kind of item it is (and in fact, determines what form Outlook should use in order to present or process the information). Examples of MessageClass definitions are IPM.Note (regular e-mail messages), IPM.Note.EnterpriseVault.Shortcut (message archived by Enterprise Vault) or IPM.ixos-archive (message archived by Opentext/IXOS LiveLink E-Mail Archive).
To identify stubs from Outlook, add the Message Class field to your Outlook view, e.g.:
When you want to remove the stubs using Outlook, you can utilize the Advanced Find function of Outlook, but that is a very labor intensive, tedious and non-centralized per-mailbox procedure:
Now I wouldn’t have started this article if the same thing wasn’t possible with a little bit of scripting against Exchange Web Services and so the script Remove-MessagesClassItems.ps1 was born. Using this script requires Exchange 2007 or later and Exchange Web Services Managed API 1.2 (or later) which you can download here or you can copy the Microsoft.Exchange.WebServices.DLL locally and adjust the DLL path mentioned in the script when necessary. The script has been developed and tested against Exchange 2007, meaning it’s a PowerShell 1.0 script which should be compatible with later versions of PowerShell or Exchange.
Also take notice that since you’ll be processing user mailboxes, you’ll need to have full mailbox access or impersonation permissions; the latter is preferred. For details on how to configure impersonation for Exchange 2010 using RBAC, see this article or check here for details on how to configure impersonation for Exchange 2007.
The script Remove-MessagesClassItems.ps1 uses the following syntax:
Remove-MessageClassItems.ps1 [-Mailbox] <String> [-MessageClass] <String> [-Server <String>] [-Impersonation] [-DeleteMode <String>] [-WhatIf] [-Confirm] [<CommonParameters>]
A quick walk-through on the parameters and switches:
- Mailbox is the name of the mailbox of which to fix the folder structure;
- MessageClass specifies the Message Class to remove, for example IPM.Note.EnterpriseVault.Shortcut (EnterpriseVault);
- Server is the name of the Client Access Server to access for Exchange Web Services. When omitted, the script will attempt to use Autodiscover;
- When the Impersonation switch is specified, impersonation will be used for mailbox access, otherwise the current user context will be used;
- DeleteMode specifies how to remove messages. Possible values are HardDelete (permanently deleted), SoftDelete (use dumpster, default) or MoveToDeletedItems (move to Deleted Items folder).
So for example, suppose you want to remove IPM.Note.EnterpriseVault.Shortcut items from the mailbox of user1, moving the items to the DeletedItems by Impersonation. In such case, you could use the following cmdlet:
Remove-MessageClassItems.ps1 -Mailbox user1 -MessageClass IPM.Note.EnterpriseVault.Shortcut -DeleteMode MoveToDeletedItems -Impersonation –Verbose
Note: Remove-MessageClassItems.ps1 will only process IPF.Note class folders (i.e. containing mail items), so you’ll only see those being processed.
In case you want to process multiple mailboxes, you can use a CSV file which needs to contain the Mailbox field. An example of how the CSV could look:
Mailbox francis philip
The cmdlet could then be something like:
Import-CSV users.csv1 | Remove-MessageClassItems.ps1 -MessageClass IPM.Note.EnterpriseVault.Shortcut -DeleteMode HardDelete -Impersonation
You’re feedback is welcomed through the comments; if you got scripting suggestions, please use the contact form.
You can download the script from the Technet Gallery here.
1.01: Fixed example (IPM.ixos-archive instead of IBM.ixos-archive) and removed EMS requirement