GroupWise rule for time-based maintenance of select e-mails


As a Novell employee I use GroupWise extensively. Being subscribed to a few dozen lists internally I use the Rules quite a bit as well to prevent excessive clutter in my Inbox. Instead I have a "folder" in my cabinet for each folder and move e-mails to the correct folder for each list so that I can keep working while everybody else in the company attempts to overwhelm me with thousands of e-mails per day.

Today an interesting question came in, though, regarding how to delete (or do something to) select e-mails without affecting all e-mails. The e-mail retention policy stuff that GW can do allows administrators to define a lifetime for e-mails before they are automatically removed (180 days, for example) but it applies to all e-mail and that's not what was desired. An example would be to have all of the e-mails I receive from my manager be deleted after a week (not the best example, admittedly, but it's what I can come up with on my own). Interestingly enough GroupWise rules allow this to be done in a couple different ways. First, the rule.

In the GroupWise client go to the Tools Menu and then the Rules option. Inside there create a new rule, name is something intuitive ("Delete my manager's e-mails after one week"), and then we'll tinker with the options available to us.

The initial tricky part is deciding when this rule should fire. The default time for rules to fire is when something is received as the 'event' is 'New Item'. Change this 'New Item' option to something like 'Startup' or 'Exit' which means the rule will fire when the client is started or closed, respectively. This may or may not apply to a WebAccess login; I'm just not sure and haven't found out yet.

With this done we next go to 'Define Conditions'. In this area change the first drop-down box to the 'Created' option which means to look at when something was created. Next change the condition to Before which is indicated by a less-than '<' symbol. Finally change the integer field to negative seven (-7) and leave the following drop-down on 'Today'.

Click on 'End' and change that to 'And' and add a line to filter based on the sender ('From') and enter your manager's e-mail address. Save everything, add an action of 'Delete/Decline' and enable the rule.

We have just created a rule that will fire when the client is started or closed and which will delete e-mails from the specified e-mail address after one week of use. You could also have this happen when entering or existing a folder though that means the rule will be processing more often.

While at first I did not think this would really be an option with the current GW client I was surprised and pleased to find the possibilities were extensive. Creating multiple rules for different conditions makes the automated maintenance of mailboxes trivial and simple for even beginning users.


How To-Best Practice
Comment List
  • in reply to MigrationDeletedUser
    Seems that with current version (8.0.1+) of the client it is now possible to use categories as a condition to rules. Someone listened to that enhancement request. ;-)
  • mstatman,

    This is also a great idea. Thank-you for the feedback. The addition of the Private setting to the e-mails sounds like a good way to get this working. Regarding your question about an enhancement, that seems like a very valid enhancement. The best way to get the attention of Product Management is via the Request Management Service (or whatever it's called) located at by clicking on the 'Contribute' link (left-hand side) and then 'Request enhancement'. The tool lets you follow the status of your request as well as add a business case (why this is a good feature to have), etc.
  • This is a great way to manage the size of folders receiving various mailing lists, keeps only the last 7 or 30 days or whatever. But what if there's a message or more that has something particularly useful that you want to keep permanently? Ideally, you could change the category of the message to something like 'save', and have the cleanup rule exclude such messages. Unfortunately, GroupWise rules don't use categories for constructing conditions (enhancement request?). But this works: for a message you want to save, mark it as Private. Then add an AND condition to your rule: "Item Status does not include Private". That way messages older than 7 days nor marked Private will get cleaned up, but messages you want to keep get kept.
  • Thanks for the great post!
  • in reply to MigrationDeletedUser
    Ah... the font/fount of experience. Thank-you for your input. Classic case of a failure to test in an environment of any substantial size and variety. Thanks again.
  • Thanks for sharing this Aaron.

    I've used similar types of rules for mailing lists. I usually make the rule "on folder close" so that I can first open the folder for a particular list, do some looking around (especially at older messages that would be deleted when I close the folder), and then when I move to a new folder, all of the older messages are deleted. AND this will then only apply to messages in that particular folder, and not to every message that might meet a certain set of criteria.

    In your example then, you could have a rule move all of the messages from your manager to a folder, and if it's something that you really need to keep past your 7 day delete rule, you can move it out to another folder so it won't be deleted. The "on exit" or "on open" rule applies to every single item in your database, so you would never be able to keep messages from certain senders, or meeting other sets of criteria with those.

    Another note of course, is that if you set an "on folder close" rule to clean up a folder that has 2 years worth of mail in it, and you tell it to delete mail that is over 7 days old, it will take a LONG time to exit that folder and return to whatever folder you are trying to get to. So readers should not think their GroupWise client has locked up if they do so!