Small issue with retention policies

Iron Contributor
So using the default retention policy on office 365. The default retention tag is the one that says archive after 2yrs. But that doesn't seem to have applied or at least doesn't seem to be working.

The policy looks like it is applied the default of deleting spam after 30 days is active and working.

I have checked a couple tenants and they are the same. So I think I have something wrong, but it should be default.

Second it doesn't seem like I can edit the default tags. My guess is I would need to creat new tags and a custom policy if I wanted to chance the junk mail tag to 60 days. And reapply the deleted items rage that was removed.

Does this sound right?
14 Replies

There can be a number of reasons why the retention policy/tags are not taking efect, in general you can start troubleshooting by making sure the correct tags are applied. If this is a new mailbox or recently migrated one, it might take a while for the MFA to start processing it, you can give it a push via the Start-ManagedFolderAssistant cmdlet. If it's still not working, check the *ELC* properties via:


Export-MailboxDiagnosticLogs -ExtendedProperties


You should have no problems editing default/folder tags, but after those are changed the policy needs to be reapplied/the mailbox reprocessed. For the Deleted items tag, best create a new, non-default policy and assign it to the mailboxes in question. Renaming the default policy should also work, but I seem to recall some instances where the changes there were overwritten...

best response confirmed by Jeff Williams (Iron Contributor)

Hi Jeff,


I agree with Vasil, is your mailbox an E3 with Archive activated ?

Yep, agree with Vasil. As Nuno asked, is Archive enabled for the user? If Archive isn't enabled, then the retention tag will not work. User mailbox has to have an Exchange Online Plan 2 license (included with E3 and E5) or Exchange Online Plan 1 with Online Archiving add-on license added in order to enable online archiving.
Thanks everyone. The problem does seem to be the inline archive option. I was assuming this retention tag would apply to the archive folder now present in everyone mailbox. Much like delete item is a folder.

I was thinking the inline archive was managed by something else. Anyway, again that appears to be the issue.

Now if I can create a retention tag to send items to the archive folder.

That's what Inbox rules are for :)

@VasilMichev.  Yes, it just felt like a retention policy sort of thing to me.  I suppose it is pretty user specific at that point though.  Maybe a user does not really want to use the archive folder.  Anyway, this answer the question about what is going on.



If you have licences and option you should activate Archive. You can change the retention to 5 years for example and it's enough time to have mail available offline.

my question is why would you want to have your 5 years of email available offline? is there a business requirement for that?

Hi Adnan, just a sugestion, a lot of my clients has realised that 2 years in offline is not enought and they have realized that 5 years is the medium requested by the users.

The 2 years default retention will fit almost all organizations, but the 5 years change is a medium of the organizations that I have worked.

Well, for what it's worth, there's an ongoing debate on the Exchange list whether we even need archiving at all now that we have 100GB primary mailboxes.

Vasil, always a good question about the Archive vs Mailbox that now have 100Gb on E3 and E5. The only thought that using Archive Policies, is if the client wants to have the x years on the Mailbox and do not have problems with .OST file regarding the size of the hard drive of the end user machines they will want to activate the Archive Mailbox. It always depends how the end user machines that could have small hard drives will respond to small free space once the Mailbox will have may Gb of data. 

It's a thought. I wonder if it would help with speeding outlook up. My outlook has been incredibly slow. Even after deleting everything and recreating the offline files. My machine is surface book 16gb with 512 ssd. Should be plenty fast enough. Everything seems to run fine except outlook.

Are the Outlook still indexing ? Can you view the status of Index ?

100 GB mailboxes, if this the case and people are demanding and leaning towards it then why use Outlook client on the dsktop. it iwll be a nightmare not only for the user but also for the network to support (imagine a comapny with thusands of user). OR this is something I'm thinking wrong?

1 best response

Accepted Solutions
best response confirmed by Jeff Williams (Iron Contributor)

Hi Jeff,


I agree with Vasil, is your mailbox an E3 with Archive activated ?

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