E1 - Retention policy, different answers from MS

Brass Contributor

Hi everyone,


Can someone confirm what retention policies are available to users of Office 365 E1 without purchasing other services?

Specifically, I would like to be able to recover deleted emails from mailboxes.


However, person A from MS says that if i set up retention policy in office 365 admin , this is all I need - though reports online say i need E3 for this to work or even E5.

Person B (from MS) says that there are no retention options for plan E1 without purchasing additional services.


Can someone give a clear answer as to whether there are any, any retention options available for E1 that i can take advantage of ? What options are available to me ?


I'm mainly concerned with emails, not files.

13 Replies

@Ferzaer2 Hello, see the following info for details about what's included.


Security & Compliance Center availability for Business and Enterprise plans



You can view this document for detailed information




Thanks for that. I'm still unable to find out what retention options are available under E1 (for exchange online 1) if any.

Either that or a journaling solution.

See Information Governance section. E1 is included in this which includes retention labeling etc.
Yes. But needs to be aware of information governance vs advanced information governance.

They simply asked about retention and deleted e-mails, don't need to know about advanced since it's covered in the basic :).

Fair enough :)
Having to ask users to manually add labels to documents doesn't help us at all.

I thank you to both of you for your profound help and I still seek a solution if there is one for E1.
You don't have to add labels to documents........ that's just part of the whole governance section, retention policies part of that which is automatic. To answer your question you can do retention policies with E1 which is what your asking.

@Chris Webb 

Microsoft 365 F3/Business Premium, Office 365 E1/A1/F3, and standalone Exchange plans provide the rights for a user to benefit from manually applying non-record retention labels to mailbox data.


I think perhaps we are not on the same page or looking at different descriptions ?

However, even if that was automatic, while i applied a tenant wide retention policy, i was unable to recover emails from the Recoverable Items folder.

Recoverable items are only a recycle bin that up to 30 or 90 days or something like that. In order to recover items due to retention policies you have to do ediscover/content searching to export missing / deleted data beyond that.

@Chris Webb 

I meant previously after deleting items from the Recoverable folder, I was unable to find anything to recover using ediscovery - i.e. a user deleting the email permanently from all locations visible to the user.


However, ediscovery  returns an empty result. Retention policy is applied at tenant level.


I'd like to correct myself. Retention wasn't working due to not having a public folder(as it was selected). Exchange was throwing an error i did not notice.


I was able to recover an email deleted a few days ago. However, I am not sure if this had to do with the public folder being added or the fact that i created a retention label.

I'm still confused as to why Microsoft sales says that retention is not included in E1(without additional purchases).

@Chris Webb @ChristianBergstrom  Thanks to both of you


For example, this pdf file says that this feature is not enabled in E1

Apply a basic retention policy to the entire organization, specific locations or users

Apply retention policies automatically based on specific conditions (e.g., keywords or sensitive information)


So I still don't understand how is retention available for E1 ? I don't want to end up where I'm using a feature that is available due to a bug (that will then be fixed) and have to pay later on to keep using it or scramble to find a different solution.


From the links that you guys provided it seems retention is available only through manual labeling by users. I would really appreciate if someone can explain why is this happening.


Information governance is available to E1 (limited function i.e. manual).

Advanced information governance which includes automatic retention policy is not available for E1.

This is found here at MS Security & Compliance Center 




@Ferzaer2 Hello, I'm glad to see that you finally have read what I attached in the very first reply ;) I later tried to highlight the 'information governance disclaimers' as well.


1 Information governance lets users create, publish, and manually apply labels to documents; import data using drive shipping or over the network. These features are available in E3 and E5, with only limited availability in E1. For a full list of the features available in E1, E3, and E5, see the detailed Microsoft 365 Compliance Licensing Comparison. (PDF) | (Excel)


Advanced information governance allows you to retain important information and delete unimportant information by classifying information based on a retention or deletion policy or both. It includes intelligent/automated actions such as recommending policies, automatically applying labels to data, applying labels based on sensitive data types or queries, disposition review, and use of smart import filters. It also includes the Supervision feature for reviewing employee communications for security and compliance purposes.


'Which licenses provide the rights for a user to benefit from the service?' (from @Chris Webb reply)



I believe it's better if you get this sorted out with the official MS support and/or sales and perhaps not here as we have provided all the docs you'd need.


Of course I read it, but it's all new to me, so it took time to realize some things.

Unfortunately, MS support (depending on the person) gives different answers. They even try to throw me off with archiving options, which I did not even mention.


According to documentation, as you pointed out, retention policy (advanced information governance) is available to E3 and up, not E1.

Information governance(which includes E1 with limited ability) only includes manual label (which has to be done by the users).


On the other hand, I am able to set up a retention policy (which is applied to emails/team sites(i can't delete a team site because of the policy).


I am also able to use ediscovery to recover deleted emails(I know that in the Recoverable folder this items are there for 14 days regardless of E3 or E1) unless a retention policy is applied to extend this.

My deleted emails were shorter than 14 days, so perhaps this is why i was able to recover them using ediscovery.


I'm hoping someone from MS is on these forums and they can give a more definite answer .