I created a Retention Policy and Retention Tags by following the steps in https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/office365/securitycompliance/set-up-an-archive-and-deletion-policy-for-mailboxes

The policy deletes deleted items older than 3 weeks.

I manually applied (Optional) Step 5: Run the Managed Folder Assistant to the New Settings because "it can take up to 7 days in Exchange Online for the new retention settings to be applied to the mailboxes." However, I still see items older than 3 weeks in the mailbox.

Should the policy start removing deleted items older than 3 weeks immediately after manually running Managed Folder Assistant or will it take 3 weeks from the time I manually ran Managed Folder Assistant for items older than 3 weeks to disappear?

  • What happens when you run the Managed Folder Assistant? It applies the settings in the 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 tag, and then takes the specified retention action on items past their retention age. - To me that implies that it should start taking action immediately.
    – joeqwerty
    Jan 22, 2019 at 13:52
  • No errors after running Managed Folder Assistant powershell command, taken back to prompt.
    – C1TonyB
    Jan 22, 2019 at 14:40

2 Answers 2


Which folder do you apply the policy? Could you provide your policy configuration?

Please check the folder policy in OWA or Outlook. In my testing, it takes effect after about an hour.

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  • I applied the policy to Deleted Items. Retention Tags: - Deleted Items Retention tag type Deleted Items Retention period 21 days After retention period Delete (Temporarily recoverable) Retention Policy: 3 Weeks Delete - Deleted Items This pa'icy contains the following retention tags 3 Weeks Delete - Deleted Items
    – C1TonyB
    Jan 24, 2019 at 13:57
  • Deleted Items Properties General Policy Permissions I Synchronization Retention Policy Items in this folder use the policy that is defined here unless the item is assigned to a different policy. Folder Policy: 3 Weeks Delete - Deleted Items (3 weeks) Policy: Add or Remove Retention Policies 3 Weeks Delete - Deleted Items (3 weeks)
    – C1TonyB
    Jan 24, 2019 at 13:57
  • If it didn’t take effect, you could try to re-assign the policy. First change it to “no-policy”, run “Manage Folder Assistant”, then assign the policy, run “Managed Folder Assistant”.
    – Shaw
    Jan 30, 2019 at 9:06

Per Microsoft: Did you create the retention policy after the items had already been deleted that aren't staying for you? Or was the policy you are referring to created before the items moved to your deleted mailbox?

If the retention policy was created after the fact, it would only apply for items going forward after you created/applied the policy.

I deleted all items prior to creating the Retention Policy and the policy is processing as expected.

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