Data retention policy

Retention Policies are typically used along with Archiving Jobs. Unless you are actually thinking of maintaining backups only for recent data head to our article on archiving.

Storage Retention Policy

Backing up and keeping all mailbox data may be very much space consuming policy. Also, often keeping all data is not really necessary, organizations may want to just back up only recent data or the opposite - only old data. Other popular approach would be to back up everything but keep on hand only recent backups and archive everything else on external drives. For any of these here comes the Retention Policy.

This features allows you to decide what data should be kept in Storages forever and what should be removed after the desired time. Storage Retention Policy works as a separate, independent process within CodeTwo Backup Service and checks when each version of an item from the Storage was backed up and deletes it from the Storage when it reaches the age defined by the user.

Be aware that as the software supports versioning you will most likely have multiple versions of each item in the Storage, backed up at different moments in time (assuming the Backup Job was either started multiple times or it was a continuous job). Retention only deletes those versions of an item that are older than your retention settings.


Please note that the age of the item in Storage is calculated based on the time when it was backed up and not on the time of its creation in the user's mailbox.

Retention Policies are defined per Storage in the appropriate step of the Storage configuration wizardWhen configuring it, you can not only set the age of the items to be deleted but also decide to what mailbox item types it should be applied. This feature comes in handy for typically not aging items such as contacts, which you may want to keep alive in your Storage pretty much forever. Retention Policy can also be separately enabled for special folders (e.g. deleted items). When enabled for special folders, items from those will be removed after reaching the defined age regardless of their types. 

Other properties of Retention Policy:

  • Policies apply to folders as well.
  • Parent folders, even if already old enough, are deleted only if all child items and subfolders also reached the retention end age.
  • Default folders (e.g. Inbox) are never deleted.
  • Archiving jobs pause retention process.

Archive Retention Policy

You can also configure Retention Policies to both Archive Jobs (standard and PST ones). However, even though the principal is the same, it works slightly different and features different options.

First of all, as archives can be kept on external drives, which are not always available for the CodeTwo Backup Service there is no constant Retention Policy process running in the background for them. Retention Policies for archives are checked and executed only when archiving job is started.

Secondly, Archive Retention Policy does not have any conditions for the archive content. This is because the archive is treated as a whole - you either keep the whole archive or delete it.

Therefore, Archive Retention Policy allows only to define how many versions of the archive you want to keep. Additionally, you can decide what the software should do when the disk space is running low on the archive drive - do nothing (which basically results in archiving process stopping and generating dashboard alert) or delete the oldest version of the archive (and so continue current archiving process).

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