Forcing Mail Retention in Exchange Online


Guy, I have been looking around at backup solutions for Exchange online. Natively we are told it doesn't offer traditional backup. I wish to be able to restore deleted mail 7 days out (i.e. mail that's been deleted from deleted items). Doing some reading though, it offers unlimited archiving and hold on all mail as per an... 


So my question is, can a hold be used for this purpose i.e. hold for 7 days? Can folders be restored i.e. folder structure if a user was to delete the folder structure?

3 Replies

Hi @shocko 


By default, Exchange Online keeps permanently deleted items (i.e. deleted out of deleted items) for 14 days by default, but this can be changed to a maximum to 30 days - this is for all mailboxes.


In terms of backup - what kind of backup are you looking for? You may want to focus in on Retention Policies if there is certain data you want to ensure is not deleted; alternatively, there are some third party services that act as a more traditional backup.

Look into Retention Policies:

If you have the right licensing E3, Exchange Plan 2 etc. you can easily setup a policy for all mailboxes to retain all e-mail for a set amount of time. 7 Years in my case. It's a few clicks and works great. You can restore e-mail from e-discovery or powershell methods when accounts get deleted any point in that set timeframe and import into other mailboxes etc. No need for Backup solution IMO. is the admin interface for setting it up, you can also set for SharePoint and other services, but they do have a few caviots when it comes to deleting folders that aren't empty once turned on etc. But anyway, look into the article, this should get you going.

@shocko I propose a full backup of Microsoft mail exchange

Mailbox retention policies

Microsoft has formulated data retention, deletion, and destruction policies. Setting retention policies for mailboxes enable you to “retain” emails after a certain period As with Litigation Hold, this prevents users from permanently deleting emails if such policies are in action. And similarly, it cannot be used for bulk mailboxes.


Its safe to use 3rd party backup solutions to secure email data, backup for Office 365 mail, with providers such as


Check out the video:


Learn more about Office 365 Exchange backup creation with CloudAlly.