Retention Policies Tab


Applies to: Office 365 for professionals and small businesses, Office 365 for enterprises, Microsoft Exchange, Live@edu

Topic Last Modified: 2010-07-05

Use the Retention Policies tab to view and modify the retention policies and archive policies that are applied to your e-mail items. Retention policies control how long your messages will be saved. Archive policies control how long messages are left in an e-mail folder before they're moved to the Online Archive.

You may be able to add or remove some of the optional retention policies and archive policies that were set up by the person who manages your mailbox. Other policies can't be removed.

The option to customize the list of policies to use for your mailbox may not be available to you. For more information about how to customize the list of policies, contact the person who manages your mailbox.
Retention Policies and Archive Policies

The following table includes the details of the policies that can be applied to your e-mail items. To find optional policies that you may be able to use, click Add. To remove an optional policy from your list, select the policy, and then click Remove.


Column Description


This column shows the name of each policy.

Retention Action

This column shows you the type of action that a policy takes. You'll see one of following:

  • Delete   This policy deletes mailbox items.

  • Archive   This policy moves mailbox items to the Online Archive.

  • Default Archive   This is a default archive policy and can't be removed.

  • Default Retention   This is a default retention policy and can't be removed.

Retention Period

This column shows the number of days messages that the retention policy will be saved. The retention period is based on the age of the message, not on the date you applied the policy.

When the age of the message exceeds the retention period, the message will be deleted automatically.

To see the full details for a retention policy, select the policy in the main window, and then look in the details pane. The information at the top of the details pane will tell you whether the policy is a default policy and whether the policy is required by the person who manages your mailbox.

The details will also include the following information:

  • After message is received   The action that's taken after a message is received.

  • After retention period   The action that's taken after the retention period has expired. Some policies delete messages when the retention period has expired. Other policies move the items to the Online Archive - <E-mail account name> folder.

  • Comments   More information and tips to help you know when you might want to use the policy.

What else do I need to know?

  • You can only apply retention policies to your messages when you're reviewing them in Outlook Web App or Outlook 2010. For information about how to obtain a trial version or full version of Outlook 2010, see the Microsoft Office Online Web site.

What if I want to know more?

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