O365 license requirements for litigation hold and retention policy

Steel Contributor

A customer of ours has been advised that to configure litigation hold for a mailbox in Exchange Online, the mailbox must have a valid license for a minimum of three months. I've not seen this licensing requirement documented anywhere, so is this in fact the case, and if so, is this also the case for O365 retention policies also?

8 Replies

As long as the user account assigned with an Exchange Online (Plan 2), Litigation Hold and Retention Policy should work. https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn743673(v=exchg.150).aspx


You may also visit this link for added reference: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Overview-of-retention-policies-5e377752-700d-4870-9b6d-12bf...

I think this is about the leavers/importing archived content scenario, where you onboard content to O365 just to put it on hold and provision it as Inactive mailbox. Microsoft recently toyed with the idea to start charging for those: https://www.petri.com/no-licenses-office-365-inactive-mailboxes

That's right @VasilMichev, the conversation was around importing mailboxes of users who have left the organisation. I understand that Microsoft haven't moved forward with requiring a license for inactive mailboxes, but is there any requirement to have a mailbox licensed for a minimum amount of time before the mailbox can be configured as inactive?

Nothing official, but that's not the first time I've heard about this. Hopefully we're not in for another surprise...



Could you say who the Microsoft authority was for the statement about the need to have a license for three months before a litigation hold (or I assume, an in-place hold) can be placed on a mailbox? This is the first that I have ever heard about such a requirement.


It might be the case that the Microsoft person read the licensing document that circulated inside Microsoft and partners pre-Ignire which included the idea of a license for inactive mailboxes. That document and the proposal was withdrawn following some robust debate on the issue, but it is entirely possible that whoever made the statement hadn't heard the news.



I have moved over inactive mailboxes from on-prem to Office 365 and have enabled litigation hold on all of them.  I also have never assigned an office 365 license to them and litigation hold enabled just fine.. no warning or anything. 

I would not expect any warning because Microsoft has not yet confirmed or made any firm indication that they are changing the licensing requirement for litigation hold.