Executive Overview

This brief focuses on the email lifecycle policies that enable an organization to meet regulatory or business requirements, enhance user productivity and manage messaging storage efficiency. Such policies typically define the duration, location and scope of message retention in the organization. Exchange 2013 allows you to configure email lifecycle policies at the Organizational level, define retention  custom policies and apply them to the individual mailbox, and also to allow users to classify messages into specific retention buckets.

Notable Features

  • Retention Policies


MRM in Exchange 2013 is implemented via retention policies. Retention Policies can be used to enforce basic message retention on default folders and the entire mailbox. Retention policies can also be combined with In-Place Hold. Several policy types are listed below:

  • Retention Policy: A retention policy is logical grouping of retention tags. When a retention policy is applied to a user’s mailbox, all retention tags linked to the policy are deployed in a single operation.
  • Default Policy Tag (DPT): The DPT is generally applied to all folders of a mailbox that do not have specific  policies applied to them and allows an organization to define a baseline retention setting for all messages.
  • Retention Policy Tag (RPT): A RPT is a retention tag that’s applied to default folders such as Inbox and Deleted Items.
  • Personal Tag: A personal tag is a retention tag available to Outlook Web App and Outlook 2010 and later users for applying retention settings to custom folders and individual items, such as e-mail messages.
  • Managed Folder Assistant: This is an assistant that runs on all Mailbox servers and applies a retention policy by inspecting items in the mailbox and determining whether they’re subject to retention. It then stamps items subject to retention with the appropriate retention tags and takes the specified retention action on items past their retention age.
  • Remove all messages after a specified period: All messages are removed after a certain period. There is no classification of messages and messages can be deleted before the specified period. You can implement this policy by creating a single default policy tag (DPT) for the mailbox.
  • Remove messages based on folder location: Messages are removed based on email location (I.e. Inbox, Junk Mail and other folders). This policy is implemented using a combination of retention policy tags (RPTs) for each default folder and a DPT applied to all default folders which don’t have an RPT and any custom folders.
  • Allow users to classify messages: Users are allowed to classify messages based on business or regulatory requirements. You can configure a retention policy with personal tags that have longer or shorter periods than the default policy. They can also automate the process by using Inbox Rules in Outlook and Outlook Web App. A DPT with a retention period of three years can remove untagged items in three years. Optionally, items in the Junk Mail folder can be expired in 14 days using a RPT.
  • Retain messages for a specified period:  Not only should messages be removed after the specified period, but they should also be preserved for that period even if the user or any process deletes them for eDiscovery. Messages not removed by users will be deleted after the retention period and messages deleted by users before the retention period expires will be retained in the Recoverable Items . RPTs and personal tags can be used to allow users to clean up their mailboxes, but In-Place Hold continues to retain the deleted messages until the hold period expires

Common Administrative Tasks

  1. Configure a Retention Policy: via EAC or PowerShell
  2. Create a new retention policy tag: New-RetentionPolicyTag -Name “RP-VPs” -Type All -AgelimitForRetention days -RetentionAction DeleteAndAllowRecovery
    Configure a DPT: Specify the New-RetentionPolicyTag with -Type parameter with All
    Configure a RPT: Specify the New-RetentionPolicyTag with -Type parameter with a folder location, ie. JunkMail
    Configure a Personal Tag: Specify the New-RetentionPolicyTag with -Type parameter with Personal
  3. Add tags to a policy: Set-RetentionPolicy -Identity “RetPolicy-VPs” -RetentionPolicyTagLinks “RP-VPs”
  4. Apply the policy to a mailbox: Set-Mailbox “Bob” -RetentionPolicy “RP-VPs
  5. Enable the MyRetentionPolicies role for a user: Set-ManagementRoleAssignment
  6. View all tags linked to a policy: (Get-RetentionPolicy “Default MRM Policy”).RetentionPolicyTagLinks | Format-Table name
  7. Verify that a policy has run: Start-ManagedFolderAssistant -Identify <mailbox identity>
  8. Place a mailbox on Retention Hold: Get-Mailbox “Chimp CEO” | Select RetentionHoldEnabled

Top PowerShell Commands/Tools:

– New/GetSet-RetentionPolicyTag
– Start-ManagedFolderAssistant


Technet Reference on MRM