The Guide on how to change retention policy in Outlook

E-mail retention settings tell you how long you should keep an e-mail before it is marked as obsolete/expired in Outlook. Retention periods for e-mails start from the day your e-mail was created or when you received the e-mails.

You may only change the retention periods for the folders you have created. Hence, for drafts, inboxes, and sent items, you cannot modify the retention period. But, if you wish to save e-mails of drafts, inbox, and sent items for longer than the default retention period, you’ll need to make folders for these e-mails, set their retention period manually.

One of the most popular forms of communication that organizations use is e-mail. With the number of e-mails that you receive, it can be highly time-consuming to keep up. In addition, most organizations produce a lot of e-mail documents and instant messages, making it harder to manage. Every day, people are bombarded with e-mails that they don’t need to see. These e-mails are often promotional or spam-related, and we usually delete them to keep our e-mail light weighted. So, the chances to delete necessary e-mails in place of unwanted e-mail is high! 

However, with a retention policy by your side, it becomes easy to keep content on file away from ever being deleted by mistake or at expiration. In addition, your e-mails are not deleted before the end of your e-mail retention policy. So if you are wondering how to change retention policy in outlook, reading this article is all you need.

The retention policy will enable you to remove the content permanently after a certain amount of time. Hence, the users are concerned about changing the e-mail retention policy in Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016, etc. This article is all about retaining e-mails in Outlook – it contains the advantages of the retention policies and describes how to set them up.

What happens if I accidentally delete E-mails from Outlook?

Unfortunately, many people find themselves deleting e-mails and messages without even reading them. This is a dangerous practice because the e-mail could be substantial, and you might not want to take the time to save it. 

The answer to the question is that once your e-mail or folder has completed its retention period, it will be permanently deleted, and the e-mails that are deleted permanently cannot be recovered. Hence, there could be no manual solution to restore all your deleted e-mail. Only you can rely on a third-party app that doesn’t ensure your e-mail recovery.

Benefits of Effectively Managing Mail Retention Policy

Technology has made it possible for companies to communicate with their customers, employees, vendors, and other stakeholders more frequently. With this increase in the volume of shared information comes an even greater need for effective mail retention policies. 

It is not uncommon for individuals to have a difficult time with the management of e-mail. Whether you are managing e-mail for a small business or large enterprise, it can be challenging to keep up with the volume of work that needs to be done. If this sounds like something you are struggling with, the E-mail Retention Policy is your only save! There are many benefits of managing your mailing policy like.

  • E-mail Retention Policy reduces risk in the event of a security breach or litigation; this policy deletes all old e-mail from your inbox which is no longer in need.
  • A retention policy is an e-mail management strategy that helps make a proactive decision about whether or not to retain or delete content.
  • You can apply an e-mail retention policy to either an entire company or specific locations, users, clients, etc. It helps you standardize your workflow across all devices without the risks of content being left behind.
  •  E-mail Retention Policy helps businesses be more efficient by allowing their team members to use the latest up-to-date content more efficiently.
  • It’s possible to apply retention policies to all content or specific types of sensitive information.

Steps to Change E-mail Retention Policy in Outlook 

In Outlook, the retention period of the items is set to two years by default. Hence, e-mails that are beyond two years will be removed permanently. You are free to set customized retention policy. To make sure your e-mails stay secure and happy, set a more extended retention period. Here’s how you can set the retention period.


  1. First, open Outlook 2013 to set an e-mail retention policy.
  2. Go to the Home menu button and select the folder which you want to change.
  3. Then, click on the Policy option on the Folder menu.
  4. Under “Folder Policy,” click the desired option of the retention policy, then click “Ok.”

For what periods do you typically set your retention policy in Outlook?

There are three types of retention policies in Outlook: manual, auto, and archive. Manual retention policy is the default setting when you first set up Outlook. Auto is the default setting when you set up your archive for Outlook. The last type of retention policy is archived, which means it’s automatically purged once every 90 days. Outlook allows you to set a specific retention period for folders in these periods:

Weeks and months:

One week, one month, or six Months 


  • One Year
  • Three Years 
  • Five Years
  • Seven Years

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