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In response to a recent Exchange tip submitted regarding users deleting e-mails -- as an addendum you may want to add that once you've set the 'Deleted Items Retention' values you can educate users to open their 'Deleted Items Folder' and click on Tools >> Recover Deleted Items. This allows the users to select which messages they want to recover without having to seek assistance from their administrators.
This way, the admin or support team will only have to deal with e-mails deleted outside the retention time (a long and painful process which will need to utilize your exchange back ups). This saves an awful lot of time!
An additional comment from user Paul Davies:
Make sure you confirm that your Exchange information store is set up to allow for this.
In Exchange 5.5, you must ensure that a 'retention time' is entered under the 'Item Recovery' for your private information store -- otherwise you will not be able to recover e-mails. Exchange 2000 is similar, only it allows you to unrecover entire mailboxes.
I am positive that the Item Recovery is not turned on as an Exchange 2000 default.