Setup Office 365 Mailboxes Archive and Deletion Policies – Manual Guide

Updated On - October 25, 2023 by Nasir Khan | Reading Time: 4 minutes

Users of Office 365 can adjust the service’s settings to meet their requirements. For the sake of both storage upkeep and historical data protection, archiving is a crucial process. However, it is important to remember that when we archive Office 365 mailboxes, preset time restrictions are set for those archived emails in a different folder, after which the mailbox gets wiped from there permanently.

An illustration will help us grasp the meaning – Let’s say you have 20 inactive mailboxes in your Office 365 account that you wish to archive. For example, deleted mailboxes in Office 365 are kept for three years. After this time has elapse, all 20 of your inboxes permanently remove from your preserved emails. This article will teach you how to set up and administer retention policies for deleting and archiving Office 365 mailboxes.

In Office 365, you may manage the archiving and deleting of old objects from Office 365 mailboxes by creating retention policies and utilizing retention tags.

The Online Archive inbox and its features

  • You can store unlimited messages in your inbox’s archive without worrying about exceeding your allotted space.
  • Either manually or mechanically, messages can be sent to the archive.
  • You can quickly access your Online Archive mailbox using the web-based version of Outlook or Microsoft Outlook 2013 or later.
  • Emails saved in the archive mailbox can be accessed and searched from anywhere.

Initiating the Process of Configuring Office 365 Archive and Deleting Settings

This can only be done by those who are global administrators in Office 365 or have been granted administrative rights.

Keep in mind: When an Office 365 user is given access to Exchange Online, a mailbox will be set up immediately with the default settings of the Default Retention Policy, also known as the Default MRM policy. Users, however, can make and implement new Retention Policies as necessary.


Utilize the credentials of the global administrator to access your Office 365 account. The first order of business is to allow users of Office 365 to set up archive mailboxes. Just follow these simple instructions:

  • One can access the Security and Compliance Center by clicking the Admin button and then the corresponding choice on the right-hand panel.
  • Select Data Governance > Archive in the menu bar. Every user’s inbox will be registered. To enable this feature, click the Enable button in the Bulk Edit section of the left panel after selecting all user mailboxes using the Shift button.
  • A caution dialog box will pop up for confirmation. To proceed, select the Yes button.
  • Those particular inboxes are the ones that will now have archiving capabilities enabled.

Creating Retention Tag

For archiving: Archiving Default Policy Tag

  1. Firstly, open Office 365’s Admin menu. Select the Exchange option under Admin Centers.
  2. You’ll then be brought to the Exchange Admin Center. Navigate to the Compliance Center and then the Retention Tags tab from this page. Click the Add
    + option and select Applied automatically to entire mailboxes option.
  3. Fill out the opened form with the information for the new retention tag.
    1. Name: Name the retention label, whatever you like.
    2. Methods of Retention: Choose “Move to Archive from the available choices.” Permanently delete and move to archive, or delete and allow recovery
    3. Retention Period: Enter the number of days you wish to keep this information (as you require)
    4. Comment: You don’t have to do it. Feel free to remark on whatever you like.

Setup Office 365 Mailboxes Archive and Deletion Policies

Once you’ve entered all the information, select the Save button.

For Deleted Items Folder-Custom Retention Policy Tag

  • Follow the same steps as before to access the Exchange Admin Center in Office 365. Follow that by selecting Retention Tags inside Compliance Management.
  • Select “applied automatically to whole mailbox” by clicking the “+” icon (default).
  • Enter the information requested, such as name, and this time select Permanently Delete as the retention action, followed by the Retention term in days. Of course, you’re free to offer whatever feedback you’d like.
  • After making your changes, select the Save option and click the Save button.

Custom Retention Policy

Also, under the Retention Action menu, you can delete with the possibility of recovering. Deleted items can be recovered after the default 14-day timeframe has passed.


  • Start by opening the Exchange Admin Center in Office 365, selecting Compliance Center, and retention policies.
  • The new retention policy page will load after you click the + button. Make a name entry below. Select the retention tags you made and any others you need under the Retention tags section by clicking the + sign. Add the tags by selecting that option and then clicking OK.
  • After you’ve double-checked the retention tags for this new policy, you may save it.


  • In Office 365, step one is to go back to the Exchange Admin Center. Now, select the  “Recipients” tab and click Mailboxes.
  • Select all the recovered mailboxes (or choose specific users) and then, on the left side of the screen, select More. Click on the Update button beneath the Retention Policy section.
  • A new tab will open with the bulk assign retention policy. To save the newly generated policy, choose it from the drop-down menu.

Note: Double-check that the updated retention policy is applied to the user’s mailbox. Navigate to that mailbox, click the Edit button, and then, from the resulting dialogue box, select the Mailbox features option. This will bring up details about the user’s retention policy.

By doing so, the newly defined retention policy will be applied to the Office 365 user emails. Within the 7 days, this new policy will be applied to the Office 365 user mailboxes. Also, if you want to keep your Office 365 data into local drive, use the Automated Office 365 to PST converter tool. It is compatible with all Outlook versions and Windows operating systems.

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Office 365’s custom archiving and deletion rules improve data management by catering to your business’s unique needs. Exchange’s administrative center and command line interface, Exchange Management Shell, allow a global administrator to define and implement these policies. It’s a complicated process with several steps, but we’ve laid it all out for you. Lastly, we suggest a professional Office 365 Backup solution to completely backup your Office 365 data and keep it in local drive.

Author: Nasir Khan

I am Nasir Khan from India, working as a Content Developer in Regain Software. Here I am writing about our products and their updates. And writing some free solutions from converting emails or Cloud Migration process. We have tools like Email Converter, Emails backup and Cloud migration.

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