How do Retention Policies work under specific scenarios?

Let’s take the following example:

We have an Exchange 2010 User who is traveling a lot (Sales person for example).

On his Mailbox we have a Retention Policy for 60 days on his Inbox and 2 years on his other Folders.

User takes his Outlook offline (traveling). Some of his Emails expire tomorrow for example.

He takes the Emails that expired with 60 days in his Inbox and moves them to a Folder that has a Retention Period of 2 years.

After coming back to work, he takes his Outlook online again and synchs.

Now the questions are:

  1. Will the Emails be deleted when the User synchronizes his Outlook with Exchange because the Emails were already processedby the Managed Folder Assistant?
  2. Will the Items be moved when synching in the Folder where the User moved them and receive the 2 years retention period?
  3. Does something else happen?

After configuring the Retention Policies in the Test environment, we also applied them to the Users Mailbox so it doesn’t take the default of the Database.

Set-Mailbox USER –UseDatabaseRetentionDefaults $False

To check the outcome of the scenario we ran:

Start-ManagedFolderAssitant –identity USER

Here is the outcome and the answers to the questions:

  1. No, the Emails won’t be deleted even though they had a Retention Period of 60 days and were expired at the time of the moving.
  2. Yes, the items will receive the new Retention Period of 2 Years that was applied to the Folder where the User moved the Emails.
  3. No, nothing else happens.

 In SP2 RU4 we also added support for Calendar and Tasks.

The following Blog Post explains what was done and how it should work:

Calendar and Tasks Retention Tag Support in Exchange 2010 SP2 RU4

What we also saw for some of our customers, was creating a Retention Policy Tag ( from the Exchange Management Shell ) and afterwards modifying the Action to “Move To Archive” (via Exchange Powershell)

In this scenario, we saw all kind of unexpected behavior going on and we do not recommend / support this.

The following KB Article also states that this is not supported:

Note: You can create an RPT that has a different action and then change the action to the "Move to
Archive" action. However, this configuration is not supported.

I hope this clarifies some of the questions related to Retention Policies in Exchange 2010.

If you have any questions, please send me an Email to