Retention Policies in Exchange 2013

Posted: September 2, 2015 in Exchange

Retention policies are applied to mailboxes to apply message retention settings. A mailbox can’t have more than one retention policy.It’s a collection of retention tags that can be applied to a mailbox.

Personal tags can apply to folders users create themselves or to individual items.It’s premium Exchange feature and requires an Exchange Enterprise client access license (CAL).

A retention policy tag (RPT) applies retention settings to the default folders (Inbox, Deleted Items, and Sent Items) in a mailbox, and all items that are in these default folders inherit the folders’ policy tag.

More about tags:

To create policy,retention policy tag must be created first (action we want po pertorm)

In this example i’ll create 2 retention policy tags,one will archive messages after 30 days and another will permanently delete messages after 5 days:

[PS] C:\Windows\system32>New-RetentionPolicyTag "delete after 5 days" -Type deleteditems -RetentionEnabled $true -AgeLimitForRetention 5 -RetentionAction permanentlydelete
[PS] C:\Windows\system32>New-RetentionPolicyTag "archive" -RetentionEnabled $true -AgeLimitForRetention 30 -RetentionAction movetoarchive -Type personal

-Type deleteditems applies tag to deleted itelms folder

-Type personal applies tag to custom user folder (user can apply this tag to any custom created folder)

-retentionenabled $true activates/enables tag

-agelimitforretention retention period (in days)

Tags can be created from GUI too,using Exhange control panel:

compliance management-retention tags-“+” sign:


We can add these policy tags to default retention policy (Default MRM Policy) or create a new one.

I created new (delete & archive) and addedd two policy tags:

[PS] C:\Windows\system32>New-RetentionPolicy "delete & archive" -RetentionPolicyTagLinks "delete after 5 days","archive"

Using ECP

compliance management-retention policies-“+” sign,add previouslu created tags:


Check if we did it right:

[PS] C:\Windows\system32>(Get-RetentionPolicy "delete & archive").RetentionPolicyTagLinks | Format-Table name


We can assign policy to individual mailbox(es)

[PS] C:\Windows\system32>Set-Mailbox "don hall" -RetentionPolicy "delete & archive"

or to all mailboxes:

[PS] C:\Windows\system32>Get-mailbox | Set-Mailbox -RetentionPolicy "deleted items"

To apply policy immediately,we need to start ManagedFolderAssistant (It processes retention policies for managed folders and applies retention policy tags to items in mailboxes)

Start assistant for specific mailbox:

[PS] C:\Windows\system32>Start-ManagedFolderAssistant -Identity "don hall"

or to all mailboxes

[PS] C:\Windows\system32>get-mailbox | Start-ManagedFolderAssistant


From Outlook Web Access,select folder and assign policy tag (for deleted items it’s set by default)


Or in outlook,right click folder-properties,policy to see which policy tags are applied


  1. tom says:

    Hi there, looking to implement the following. Would it be doable?

    Inbox (Just the Inbox folder, NOT subfolders) & Sent Items older than 3 months to go to the deleted items folder
    Deleted Items to delete after 1 month
    “Recover deleted items” to delete another 30 days after that



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