Teams chat - where is it saved and how can I access it?

Brass Contributor

Good Morning,


We are in the process of transitioning to MS Teams and will be looking to sunset the Skype app within our environment.


At present our Incident Management (IM) team who is provisioned to us via IBM use skype to conduct any group chats relating to major incidents that are affecting 100+ users. I am trying to move the IM team across to MS Teams and away from skype but one of the sticking points is the conversation history in Teams. The exact question I have been asked is -


"...currently our chats auto save to the conversation history folders in outlook meaning we can easily go back and find conversations we have had should we need to check what was said on an incident etc, as far as I know Teams does not do this...…"


After further conversation with one of the incident managers I ran a webex and showed them how Teams works in relation to setting up groups and setting up chat groups with specific people for specific incidents that occur. The manager was pretty much sold on the benefit of Teams but there is just that snagging point of where conversation history is stored.

Its great that we can have chat groups but considering that our IM team deal with 200+ incidents a year the amount of chat groups being created in Teams will get quite heavy. Its not a simple matter of going back to a particular chat group setup for a particular incident only to discuss another incident - we need to keep chat for each incident separate in which case we need to be able to have the chat and then it saves automatically to a location and should be easily accessible. Once an Incident has been resolved we can then close off the chat so that Teams does not become bogged down with many chat groups whilst still having access to the conversation history of each and every chat.

Is anyone else facing this dilemma? Is there anyone from MS that can advise on this?


11 Replies
Hi @Jeetus

Chats in Teams conversations are stored in the mailbox of the Office 365 Group. Personal chats including group chats are stored in the mailboxes of the users. However, these are not accessible immediately and are in hidden folders.

You can however, get to the chats via eDiscovery - see articles here

Hope that answers your question!

Best, Chris

Hi @Christopher Hoard many thanks for your reply. I should have mentioned that I  have already read about eDiscovery as well as using PowerShell to get the data required - unfortunately they are not a feasible resolution.


As mentioned the conversation history needs to be available to our users easily without having to go through additional steps. If I take the eDiscovery or PowerShell proposition to our Incident Management team it will be thrown out and the team will be put off transitioning to Teams fully.


I am puzzled as to why the conversation history for Teams is hidden and why we have to jump through hoops to get to the data when for Skype it was available through a folder click.

best response confirmed by ThereseSolimeno (Microsoft)
Hi @Jeetus,

Sure, there are many uservoices for it here including

So you can always vote on these as well as raise these at AMA's. Unfortunately, none look like being picked up for the foreseeable future. The typical reason for this is security and compliance, and from what I understand it is also intrinsic to the persistent chat functionality within Teams itself. Maybe there is a case to develop a copy the chat history into the mailbox but keep the compliant copy hidden.

AFAIK, there is no way around this at the current time. Features such as DLP, Supervision could be employed to probably curb some of those incidents. However, I have also heard many argue that during their Skype usage users were purging conversation history from their mailbox which typically led to having to buy third party journaling solutions for compliant copies.

I can understand the frustration with this and absolutely what you are trying to achieve with as little pain for the users. It will be interesting to see if Microsoft change their position on this in the future given the demand.

Best, Chris

Thanks @Christopher Hoard. Just trying to see if this is a deal breaker with our incident management team.


What is the alternative to the conversation history folder? If there is no easy way to gain access to it then there has to be an alternative which does not involve a 3rd party.

@Jeetus would it work to have the Incident Management Team use a Team, instead of chat?  Start a new thread for each incident or group by channel - then the content and conversation history is more readily viewable. 

@hughd Why is it, when people express a specific desire to perform a specific task that was never an issue in the past - they have to keep re-asking, or clarifying and rejecting "alternative" suggestions!

It is a very basic expectation to DELETE ALL CHAT!! It is a BASIC FUNCTION EVERYWHERE!! It is really as simple as INCLUDING A SYMBOLIC BUTTON to activate a function behind the scenes to CLEAR UNWANTED TEXT!!! I don't WANT a workaround, and I DON"T WANT EXCUSE! Where the heck is this text that I INTEND TO DELETE and WHY is the solution so pathetically unavailable.

THIS EXPERIENCE is like a childish game of keep away, on the grade school playground. Once the tallest kid gets the ball your screwed, unless you kick him in the nuts! 

Even looking at the team channel chat, there is no easy way to save it in a text file. This is stupidity and cannot be excused by any regulatory compliance nonsense. If I can look at the chat, I can photograph it but I cannot say "save as text" or even press Ctrl-A to select and copy as a text or rich text or anything and paste to my text editor -- it cannot possibly be any regulatory issue, just a dire desire from Microsoft to never give users to get easy access to their data.


Well, I wasted a couple of hours of my company's time by copying-and-pasting messages one-by-one (surprised this is still allowed; next time it will be the whole day of photographing and OCR-ing, I guess). Hope Microsoft is happy with the productivity effect of their "productivity suite".


I am truly surprised an IT-smart organization can walk away from any chat solution like IRC chat or similar to the piece of marketing and tie-in this product is.

@things_are_not_getting, the original ask was how to organise incidents better within Teams, so I responded based on my experience.  We've used Jabber, a couple of different incident management tools and are working on using Teams better.  Our own ServiceDesk Team has used Jabber, then switched to group chats within Jabber, until the day there was a problem with Jabber and they lost their history.  After that they switched to Teams and while they use Chat with smaller groups they also have a Team with a Channel and within that Channel they start a different conversation for each ask/incident.  With Chat we have a retention policy removing all chats older than XX days.  Posts to a Team are not subject to the same rule, so by choosing a chat versus a post to the Team people can pick if the post will be retained or expire.  Exporting Chat History is a different topic and yes, Microsoft could make that better.

@Jeetus  Teams chat - where is it saved and how can I access it?


I don't know where chat is saved but you can search for past chat messages in the search box at the top of the Teams window (with the transient text, "Look for messages, files, and more. Or type / for a list of commands."). You just type in a username or person's name or any word and it seems all matching messages appear, though they appear individually and not as conversation sessions which would be more convenient.


The questions should be: Why doesn't Teams itself show a list of past messages by conversation, user or day (i.e., no portal through Outlook is needed)?  Why must past messages be searched for and not neatly displayed for future viewing?  Why is there only a search field and not history field/tab/icon? 


These minor nuisances are frustrating. Until Teams gives a history function like Skype for Business did in the conversations folder in Outlook, capitalism has simply failed us in this regard.


Did people benefit from and find useful the conversation history in Outlook?  Yes we absolutely did (here's me every few days - "What did so-and-so mention in our quick chat last week/month/year about XYZ? Hmmm I forget, but let me check my convo folder in Outlook..."). Conversation history functionality in a new messaging platform like Teams is a must not an option. I can only guess the problem is a shortage of people with CS degrees, a lack of money and computing resources, and no user desire for this feature.


But why try to do a little as possible for Teams instead of doing too much? At least match Skype for Business functionality 100% and then provide more. Is doing too much ever a user complaint and does having a bit too many features ever hold back on profit margins? Imagine one day someone saying, "I can't stand Teams because it has too much functionality. It's just too good." 


(No caps lock or shift key was harmed in the making of this post)

It's frustrating. I'm afraid if anyone in Microsoft listen to it's customers. One of the best functionalities in the Skype for Business was taken away without any user friendly alternative solution!

@Tan - I've just tried to find a way to view Teams chat for a potentially malicious staff member, but this requires us to have Microsoft 365 E3 or E5, which we can't justify as a charity. So yeah - no useful options that I've found. Users are completely incognito in this sense unless you spring for Enterprise level licensing.