Recently, I was asked exactly how the Site Confirmation and Deletion feature works in SharePoint? Does the timer restart when a user visits the site? Does the feature look at the some field and then reset the value in a service? It was a simple question that made me think about how the process worked from an Administrator point-of-view.
The simple answer is that once a user adds content to a site, a field in a content database is updated and then when a timer job is run, it will review that field and notify site owners appropriately to ensure that they are notified that their site is on “the chopping block”. Based on your configuration, it will notify you after 90 days (by default) of site collection creation or confirmed use. You can change the amount of notifications sent or you can automatically delete the site collection if use is not confirmed after 28 notices.
To access this feature, go to Central Administration > Site Collections > Site Use Confirm and Deletion option.
Some administrators or business users do not like to use this feature, but you can see that you have to make a very big effort to not confirm your site’s usage before it magically vanish. Also, this can provide a great deal of efficiency for the removal of sites that are just not used anymore.
That’s the Executive Summary of how it works, let look at the details.
There are three database fields that play a part in the process and they are:
DeadWebNotifyCount and CertificationDate are used to keep track of the date that a site owner verifies the use of the site. These fields are reset when the user verifies usage through the email sent. Do not modify the values in the SharePoint database, as this is not supported by Microsoft. The LastContentChange field keeps record of the last time a document or list item (or any content) changes on the site. This feature does not use the last time a user visited the site, only when content changes.
This feature is misunderstood, but a very valuable tool to manage storage space and helps provide governance within your environment, use it or not, but keeping sites that are timely and relevant is always important and having a tool to help administrator’s is a plus.