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Change retention limits for Office 365 archiving

You want to change the age of an email when it archived in Office 365.


First, some explanation/background is needed.  Archiving is controlled by the Retention Tag applied to the objects in a mailbox; each tag specifies how long specific types of objects (messages, contacts, calendar events, etc.) are retained and whether old items should be deleted or archived. What’s more, these tags can be assigned to entire folders down to single mailbox items but, for most items, the applicable tag will be the default tag (for that item type) from the Retention Policy assigned to the mailbox. Retention policies are just collections of tags and only tags in the policy assigned to the mailbox are available to the user.

As an example, assume you have some users who need to have all mail older than 60 days automatically moved to their Archive mailbox:

  1. Log on to your Office 365 web console as an admin user
  2. From the “Admin” menu, select Exchange. From the links on the left, select “compliance management”, then select “retention tags” from the links at the top of the main pane.
  3. Click the “+” sign to add a new tag. There are 3 options; since you want this tag to apply by default to all mail, select the first option “applied automatically to entire mailbox”.
  4. Now you can specify what this tag is supposed to do to the messages it is applied to.  First, give it a reasonable name, like “Archive Mail after 60 days”. We specified above the messages need to be moved to the Archive mailbox so the “Retention action” should be “Move to Archive”.   Since we also specified it should be moved after 60 days, select “When the item reaches the following age (in days)” and enter “60” in the field beneath it.  The comment is optional. Click “Save” to return to the list of retention tags, which should now include the tag you just created.
  5. Click the “retention policies” link at the top of the page to view the available policies. If this tag was supposed to apply to all users, you could just edit the “Default MRM Policy” to use the new policy.  But since we specified above that only some users should have this settings, click the “+” sign
  6. There’s not much to manage on a policy, just the name and list of tags. Give the policy a reasonable name, then click the “+” under “Retention tags” to edit the tag list.

  7. A new window will open with a list of all available tags.  Select the ones you want; in this example, only the tag we just created is selected but you could as many as you want. Click OK.
  8. Back on the “new retention policy” page, click “save” to create the policy
  9. To apply the new policy, click the “recipients” link on the left, then “mailboxes” at the top of the page after it reloads. Select the user who should receive the new policy and edit their settings.
  10. In the new window that opens, click “mailbox features” on the left.  The third option down  is labeled “Retention Policy” and the select box lists all the available policies.  Select the new policy and click “save”.


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