Edit the SharePoint ‘site use and deletion’ email

The SharePoint 2010 ‘Site Use Confirmation and Deletion’ feature provides a simple way of implementing some governance around the data retention of your Site Collections.

When configured within Central Administration (Application Management > Confirm site use and deletion) you have the option of not only sending automated emails requesting confirmation that a site is ‘still in use’, but also forcing the automatic deletion of a site collection if a confirmation request in continually ignored.

The automated email, which incidentally is sent to all Site Collection Admins when this feature is instantiated, can be edited and branded to reflect your company needs. It is also horribly direct, although perhaps this is the best approach to avoid any ‘SharePoint sprawl’ scenarios.

The file you need to edit can be found in the following folder and should be edited consistently across your Farm.

C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\14\TEMPLATE\1033\XML\DEADWEB.xml

It’s all good and well turning on the feature and editing the DeadWeb.xml file, but how do you go about testing your new automated mail? Simple, you can trigger the ‘Dead Site Delete’ Timer Job:


So, you’ve edited the site confirmation email to meet your requirements and have performed a test. Now it’s time to put the frighteners on your Site Collection Admins (ideally by setting-up a WebCam to capture the moment the email with the heading ‘ACTION REQUIRED: Your SharePoint site collection is about to expire’ arrives in their Inbox!!)

If you want to discover which Site Collections have had their expiration date updated, the quickest way to do this is the open SQL Server.

Locate the ‘AllSites‘ table within your content database and look at the values associated to the ‘DeadWebNotifyCount‘ column.

If you see a zero (0), you know the expiration date has been extended. In this example, the other ‘DeadWebNotifyCount‘ column total of 17 indicates that the automated email was sent 17 times with no response.


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