Email Retention FAQ

Will my email be deleted automatically by the system once it is six months old?

No, an institutional standard to delete email once it was six months old was in place for about five years, ending on December 1, 2020.  At this time, no automatic deletion of email is imposed by the institution.  Individual users are asked to set their own standards to delete emails automatically.

How do I set an email retention tag?

See the Knowledge Base article entitled, "How to Manage Email Retention" for detailed instructions on setting email retention tags.

How do I know which e-mails will be deleted?

Once your tags are set, you can check to see which e-mails will be deleted today, tomorrow, this week, next week, or at other points by using your basic search capability, and searching with Expiration Date as the search criterion.  In the Search Criteria dropdown, these options look like this:  expires:<= the next month.

You may also open an individual email and view the expiration date at the top of the email.  The expiration date is calculated based on the retention tag set for this individual email, and its original sent or received date.

What is the default retention period for e-mail messages?

On and after December 4, 2020, the default retention period for email messages will be "Never Delete."   Since it is desirable not to maintain email forever, tags on folders and individual emails must/should be used to keep email from being retained "forever" in an individual's email account.

If I have tagged a message to be retained for one year, and then I get to the end of that year and realize I want to keep it one more year, can I reset the tag for “one more year”?

In a way, yes.  BUT . . . the retention period is always set with reference to the original date received or date sent for any e-mail.  That date never changes.  So if you have retained a message for one year, then realize you need to retain it for “one more year in addition to that,” you will need to change the retention tag to two years.  Remember, the longest an e-mail can be retained in the system is four years from the original receipt or sent date.

When an e-mail message is deleted, is it completely gone?

E-mail deleted as a result of any retention tag (6-month default, or a tag you set) is available for 14 days after the deletion action.  See instructions in the Email Retention and Archival How-To's article in this knowledge base.  Once it is deleted from ‘Deleted Item Recovery’ after 14 days, a message cannot be recovered.

How much storage space do I get for e-mail?

You will have 100 Gb of space for your primary e-mail in-box and all folders in it, and for your archive.

Can I prevent an e-mail from being deleted by archiving it?

No, an archived e-mail will be deleted on the schedule set by its associated retention tag (folder or e-mail level).    Archiving simply helps clear out from your primary mail folders those e-mails that you may need to look at less often.

What if I need a retention period that is not in the default tags?

If a department has a business or academic need to retain emails for longer than four years, this may be requested.  Vice Presidential approval is required.  Requests may be submitted through the Technology Support Center or entered directly into the service catalog using the Email - Report an Issue service.

What happens to things like tasks, contacts, and calendar appointments?  Will they be deleted automatically once they are six months old, too?

No.  Tasks, contacts, and calendar appointments will also have a default policy of “Never Delete.”  They will stay in your Outlook until you take an action to delete them.


Article ID: 46436
Wed 1/17/18 3:13 PM
Thu 7/6/23 10:35 AM

Related Articles (2)

The article will define retention standards for faculty and staff email sent out of or received by our enterprise system in Office 365.
This article describes how to set retention tags to change the amount of time an email or group of emails is retained for students, faculty, and staff.