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Data retention policies

Backing up your mailboxes and public folders data can quickly use up the available storage space, no matter how large it is. To keep your storage growth under control and avoid situations when all your local drives are full, CodeTwo Backup features retention policies and archiving for Exchange on-prem and Office 365 data. Retention policies automatically delete data that reached a certain age, whereas archiving creates a snapshot copy of the storage on an external drive.


To learn more about archiving, see this article.

There are two types of retention policies available in CodeTwo Backup: storage retention policy and archive retention policy. The key differences between them are described in detail in the relevant section:

Storage retention policy

CodeTwo Backup supports item versioning, so if you run a one-time backup job several times or use a continuous backup job, there may be many cases where you will have multiple versions of the same item in a single storage, backed up at different points in time. The goal of the storage retention policy is to keep only the most recent version of an item. This is achieved by deleting those versions that are older than the age you defined in the retention settings. 

Age of items

The age of an item's version is calculated based on the time when the version was backed up, not on the time when the version was originally created.

Currently, the retention policy applies only to Exchange and Office 365 data. If the storage contains also SharePoint data, the retention policy will not apply to this type of data. When enabled, the retention policy by default applies only to emails and journal entries. You can easily include other types of items, such as contacts, tasks or calendar entries. Before extending the policy to these item types, keep in mind that many users do not modify the contacts and calendar items very often. As a result, there may be only one version of such an item in the storage.

The retention policy can also be separately enabled for special folders (e.g. deleted items). When you turn it on, all the data stored in special folders will be removed after reaching a defined age, regardless of its type.


Always remember to configure an archive job for the storage that makes use of the retention policy. If you fail to do so, eventually all versions of an item will be gradually removed from the storage when they reach their retention age.

Other properties of the program's storage retention policy:

  • The storage retention policy is defined separately for each storage in the storage configuration wizard.
  • Default folders (e.g. Inbox) are never deleted.
  • The retention policy applies to folders as well.
  • Custom folders are deleted only when all items and subfolders reach their retention age.
  • Archive jobs pause the retention process.

Archive retention policy

Archive retention policy is configured in the archive and PST archive job wizards. It defines how many versions of an archive will be kept and what CodeTwo Backup should do when the disk space where your archive is located is running low. You can configure the archive job to do nothing, and in such a case the archive process will stop and generate an alert on the Dashboard tab. You can also instruct the program to delete the oldest version of the archive to make sure that the archiving process continues.

Before setting up the archive retention policy, consider the following limitations:

  • Archiving is only available for the Exchange on-prem and Office 365 data. If your storage also contains SharePoint data, that data will not be archived.
  • There is no option to archive only selected mailbox items or public folders. All Exchange/Office 365 data contained in the storage will be archived.
  • Since external drives may not always be available for the CodeTwo Backup Service, the archive retention policy process is not constantly running in the background. Retention policies for archives are checked and executed only when an archive job is started. We recommend configuring the scheduler so that archiving starts automatically at specified times.

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