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I need to have a rule to cleanse old email messages, but keep the case & activity records. It seems this is possible to do manually (find the case, click into the task, click into the related email message > Delete) but I'd like to set up a rule to cleanse in an ongoing manner.

Ideally each night, I want to be able to delete related email messages for cases which have been "closed" for over 60 days. Any recent/open cases we would want to keep everything. We have a backup system for our instance so that if we needed to find a very old email we could dive into the archive.

What would be the best way to go about this? Would it be an Apex trigger, a workflow rule etc?

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You can use the Process Builder (plus a Headless Flow) to do this, or you can write a Schedulable class that runs daily.

As a Process Builder, first build a Flow that queries all Email Messages for cases closed more than 60 days, then delete the list. Create a custom object (requires no custom fields, may be auto-number generated), then create a Process Builder that runs 24 hours after record creation that (a) calls the Flow from above, and (b) creates a new custom object record. This creates a chain of Process Builder that will run indefinitely.

As a schedulable class, simply query the Email Message objects for cases closed at least 60 days, and then delete them. This is clearly less complicated, but requires writing code (~6 lines of code, plus ~15 lines of unit test code). You can then schedule this to run daily to purge your old emails.

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