Skip to content Skip to navigation

Office 365 Email Retention Policy

A retention policy defines how long to keep email in certain folders. You can set the retention policy on any folder you create. However, some system-level folders, also known as default folders,  have retention policies that cannot be modified.

Retention policies for default folders

Retention policies for default folders are automatically enforced.

Default Folder Retention
Inbox Until manually deleted
Deleted Items Until manually deleted
Length of time items are available after being deleted from the Deleted Items folder 14 days
Junk Email 30 days
Sent Until manually deleted

Recover deleted items

Office 365 accounts are not backed up. However, you can recover an item up to 14 days from when it is emptied from your Deleted Items folder. Stanford has no additional way to recover deleted items.

If a folder is deleted it cannot be restored. Only messages can be recovered.

If you purge an item from your Deleted Items folder it cannot be recovered.

To recover items that have been emptied from the Deleted Items folder:

  1. In Outlook Web App (OWA), right-click the Deleted Items folder and then click Recover deleted items.
    Note: This option is only available in the full folder list and not to the Deleted Items folder in Favorites.
  2. Right-click the items you want to recover and then click Recover.
  3. Click OK. The items you selected are restored to their original folders.

Retention policies for personal folders

Personal retention policies for folders you create can be assigned from Outlook Web App (OWA). If you don't assign a policy, the folder or subfolder uses the policy of its parent folder.

To see the retention policies that are currently available to you, click the Settings icon and then click Options. In the left pane, navigate to Mail > Automatic processing > Retention policies.

To assign a retention policy to a folder:

  1. In OWA, right-click a folder and then click Assign policy.
  2. Click the retention period for which you would like to keep messages in this folder before they are automatically deleted.
Last modified August 31, 2015