Messaging Records Management (MRM) and Retention Policies in Office 365

Applies to: Exchange OnlineMicrosoft Exchange Online Dedicated


Microsoft Office 365 provides a default retention policy (also known as Default MRM Policy). To check for these policies in your environment, run the following cmdlet:

Get-RetentionPolicy | fl Name

For example, the output of this cmdlet resembles the following: 

Name : Default MRM PolicyName : Contoso-Default-Retention-Policy

To see which policy is set on a mailbox, run the following cmdlet:

Get-mailbox <SMTP> | fl RetentionPolicy

For example, the output of this cmdlet resembles the following: 

RetentionPolicy:  Contoso-Default-Retention-Policy

To change or set a retention policy for a user, run the following cmdlet:

Set-Mailbox <SMTP> -RetentionPolicy "Contoso-Default-Retention-Policy" 

  • To view the retention policy tags that are associated with the plan, run the following cmdlet: 

    (Get-RetentionPolicy "Contoso-Default-Retention-Policy").RetentionPolicyTagLinks | Format-Table name

    The output of this cmdlet resembles the following:
    Name----1 Month Delete 1 Year Delete3 Year Delete6 Month Delete Never DeleteVoice Mail Deletion1 Week Archive1 Month Archive1 Year ArchiveNever Archive2 Year Archive3 Month Archive6 Month Archive3 Year Archive 
  • To view the details for a specific retention policy tag, run the following cmdlet: 

    Get-RetentionPolicyTag "1 Week Delete" | Format-list Name,Type,AgeLimitForRetention,MessageClass,RetentionAction

    The output of this cmdlet resembles the following:
    Name                 : 1 Week DeleteType                 : PersonalAgeLimitForRetention : 7.00:00:00MessageClass         : *RetentionAction      : DeleteAndAllowRecovery


  • To view the details for all retention policy tags, run the following cmdlet: 

    Get-RetentionPolicyTag | Format-Table Name,Type,AgeLimitForRetention,MessageClass,RetentionAction

    The output of this cmdlet resembles the following:
    Name                    Type      AgeLimitForRetention  MessageClass    RetentionAction----                    ----      --------------------  ------------    ---------------1 Week Delete           Personal  7.00:00:00            *               DeleteAndAllowRecovery1 Month Delete          Personal  30.00:00:00           *               DeleteAndAllowRecovery6 Month Delete          Personal  180.00:00:00          *               DeleteAndAllowRecovery1 Year Delete           Personal  365.00:00:00          *               DeleteAndAllowRecoveryNever Delete            Personal                        *               DeleteAndAllowRecovery ...



If a retention policy is not working as expected, review the following articles first to make sure that you understand how the policy processes items in your mailbox.

More Information

For end-users

To view and apply retention policy tags in Outlook, right-click a folder, and then select the desired tag. 

A screenshot of selecting a folder policy

Depending on a user's Group Policy, they may be able to change this list (add/delete) through OWA under Options > Mail > Retention Policies

A screenshot of the Retention Policies page through OWA

  • Check the retention policy option that applies to the folder in which the item are stored. To do this, right-click the folder, and then scroll down to Assign policy.

    A screenshot of the Assign Policy page
  • Check Retention Policy and Expire fields to see whether an item is set an expiration date. 

    A screenshot of the expiration date set page
  • Use the search bar to quickly find items that are set to expire. For example: "expires:<=the next month"

    For more information, see Learn to narrow your search criteria for better searches in Outlook
  • Use Customer Search Folder to do a more extensive search. To do this, under Advance setting, use the Expires field. For more information, see Create a Search Folder

    A screenshot of the Customer Search Folder page
  • Set a specific expiration date. For detailed steps, see Set a message expiration date.

For administrators

Administrators can create new retention tags and policies by using the correct permission through the Exchange admin center (EAC) or PowerShell. For detailed steps, see Create a Retention Policy

New Retention Tag

A screenshot of creating New Retention Tag page

New Retention Policy (using new or existing tags)

A screenshot of creating New Retention Policy page

Retention tags are used to apply retention settings to messages and folders in user mailboxes. There are three types of retention tags:

  • Default policy tag (DPT) is a retention tag that applies to all items in a mailbox that doesn’t already have a retention tag applied. You can have only one DPT in a retention policy.
  • Retention policy tag (RPT) is a retention tag that applies to default folders, such as Inbox and Deleted Items.
  • Personal tag is used to make retention settings to custom folders and individual items, such as email messages. It is available to Outlook Web App, Outlook 2010, and later versions.

For more information, see the following articles:  

Help users recover missing messages