Apply Retention Policy to Default (Sent and Deleted) Folders

Frequent Contributor

In Exchange Online we have a shared mailbox where I want to have a policy to delete everything more than a year old from the Sent Items and Deleted Items folders.


I created a Retention Label (Delete Content after One Year) and Published it to all Exchange mailboxes. In any mailbox I can select a folder and apply the policy to any folder except the default ones. 


If I select Sent Items or Deleted items my only choice is still "Use parent folder policy". If I manually select an item in those folders I can choose the new "Delete Content after One Year" policy. 


How do I apply the policy to the default folders? Or is there another way to automatically delete everything over a year old.

8 Replies
As you want to target specific folders only, you need to use old-style Exchange retention tags/policies. Not the ones in the compliance center.
I have some of both. I can apply either kind to most folders but neither is available to apply to Sent or Deleted items folders.
Those are Default folder, so you'll need a tag of the corresponding "kind". Or a Personal tag.
What do you mean by corresponding kind of tag? It is a shared mailbox so it needs to be set up on the server not something on someone's personal client.

Or am I trying to do something the hard way? There must be others who don't want their Sent and Deleted items to grow forever so there must be some way to control it.
Retention tags come in few varieties, one is for "default folders" such as Inbox, Deleted Items, etc. To automatically apply a tag to such folder, the tag itself needs to be of the corresponding kind/type, which you specify upon creation. You can also apply a personal tag, but that a user-level operation, so harder to automate. Read here:

@Vasil Michev 


I appreciate your help but there is already a Deleted items Retention tag type. When I go to assign it to Deleted items it is not there. My only choice is Apply Parent Folder Policy. 




best response confirmed by John Twohig (Frequent Contributor)
You cannot assign such tags manually, you configure them in a policy and they apply to the corresponding folders. If you want to assign it via Outlook/OWA, you need to create a "Personal" tag.

Moreover, the default "Deleted items" tag will be ignored if used in the default MRM policy, this is a change Microsoft made few years back, as apparently too many users were complaining about items in the Deleted items folder being deleted. Go figure. Anyway, the change sticks, and nowadays it's best to create a different policy, assign a Delete Items tag to it, then assign it to the user(s) in question.

@Vasil Michev 


Thank you very much!


After your explanation it all makes sense to me. I don't think I would have figured it out myself from Microsoft documentation. I find that whenever I spend hours trying to figure something out the issue is that Microsoft always calls different things by the same name. I didn't realize that there are retention policies and retention policies that can sometimes do similar things but are not at all the same. Retention policies are in the Security and Compliance Admin Center and retention policies are in the Exchange Admin Center. Not the Exchange Admin Center. The other Exchange Admin Center.