UW-IT created a list of choices for Outlook that -- with an easy click of your mouse -- can apply an approved retention period to your e-mail. Always remember, though, that the retention is comprised of two parts: when you start counting (the cut-off) and the number of years to count before the e-mails can be deleted. If your department is not on UW-IT Outlook, please have your IT administrator contact us to create similar retention policies for your e-mail.

Please be sure that your e-mails have reached their cut-off before choosing a retention. Do note, that even after turning on this timer, no message is automatically deleted. Instead, when the retention ends, the messages go into a "Recover Deleted Items" folder for 14 days before they are purged. 

If you receive a Public Records Request, Audit notification, or the records are involved in Litigation, you can click on the relevant e-mails and return them to their original folder.

Refer to the UW General Records Retention Schedule or your Department Records Schedule to determine the appropriate retentions for your e-mails.

For more information, please visit UW-IT's "Managing Your Exchange Mailbox for Easier Data Retention."

Assign a retention policy to an email folder

  • In Outlook, right click the folder you would like to assign a retention policy and click Properties
  • Click the Policy tab
  • Choose the Folder Policy based on the retention period you have determined from an approved records retention schedule
    • We suggest: for transitory emails, such as a folder for newsletter or notifications, choose a time frame less than 6 months

Assign a retention policy to email messages

  • Right click the email you would like to assign a retention policy and click Assign Policy
  • Choose the policy based on the retention period you have determined from an approved records retention schedule
  • Note that after applying a policy, you'll see the retention information in your email's header

When using an Outlook Retention Policy, messages that meet retention are moved to a Recover Deleted Items folder for 14 days before they are purged.

Recover Deleted Emails

  • In the Folder tab, click Recover Deleted Items
  • Locate the email you would like to recover and click OK