Email Retention Guide

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I be excluded from the default central mail system retention policies?

No. This policy applies uniformly to all University e-mail accounts including shared or departmental accounts.

How will this retention schedule affect my department’s shared mailboxes?

This retention schedule is applied to all University mailboxes.  It is the responsibility of the supervisor of the department’s shared mailbox to archive messages manually.

What if I do not use Microsoft Office 365?

The official e-mail program for the University is Microsoft Office365.  The Office of Information Technology only provides support for this e-mail program.  Requests to substitute non-TAMIU email addresses for purposes of official communication will not be honored. Use of non-approved email exposes that email to the Office of General Counsel’s (OGC) legal collection and open records request. https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/GV/htm/GV.552.htm#552.004

Can I archive emails using mobile outlook app?

Yes. You can archive a message with a swipe, or you can use the Archive button at the top next to the Trash button. Please note that archiving messages moves the message from whatever folder they are into the archive folder. It will no longer appear in the folder it was in originally.

Can I archive emails using a personal computer?

No. University email may not be used on personal computers since it may put the university and client’s data at risk.  Instead, you may use Outlook on the Web for accessing email.  Using personal devices for accessing Outlook on the Web is subject to disclosure under the public records law per SB944 amendment to the Texas Public Information Act.

What if I am adjunct faculty and do not have a university computer to store or archive my email?

As stated above, University emails may not be archived locally on a non-University device. In this case, the maximum retention period for email is 365 days provided the steps have been implanted on your mailbox to retain emails under the archive folder of our Office365 account. If you have a special need or requirement to store email off-line, please contact the OIT Help Desk and our team will determine the best approach to meet your need.

Is using university email on personal devices subject to disclosure under the public records law?

Yes. SB944 added several amendments to the Texas Public Information Act (commonly referred to as an Open Records Act). SB944 simply clarifies that work-related information kept on a privately owned device is public information subject to the Act.  In addition, the law can hold you liable for the retention of any work-related material subject to the Public Information Act that is stored on your personally owned device until that material is transferred to the employer or backed up or archived on a governmental server. If you lose

the phone, or the data is lost before being transferred or backed up, you are personally liable, not the government agency.


Is there an online/offline e-mail archive space limit? 

Yes.  Online Archive emails can grow up to 100GB, while offline Archive emails can grow up to 50GB. Once the limit is reached, email messages will no longer be stored.  Your Outlook mail client will warn you when the file is reaching the limit or has reached the limit. See images: Warning Message, Mail Message.

How do I know if the archive rules created are working?

Always test any rules after they have been created to confirm operation and verify periodically that the rules are working as intended.

Does AutoArchive have to be configured manually?

Yes.  The default settings for all mail folders are set to comply with University SAP  as stated above.  Email users that require retention beyond the default settings must determine which method(s) will best meet their needs.

Instructions may be found by visiting the following URL: How to Autoarchive on Outlook 365 for Windows client.docx

Is Online Archive available for MacOS Outlook users?

Yes. Outlook for Web is available for MacOS users.  An outlook rule will need to be created to copy emails from the server’s Inbox and Sent Items to the server’s “Archive” folder.  This rule is useful when a user is unable to access their email messages for more than 30 days (i.e., vacation, illness, etc.).

Instructions may be found by visiting the following URL: How to Set Rules in Outlook on the Web.docx

Can deleted messages be recovered?

Yes.  Messages may be recovered for up to two days after deletion by using the “Recover Deleted Items” option before they are permanently deleted.

Instructions may be found by visiting the following URL: How to Recover Deleted Items in Outlook for Windows Client.docx

How can I tell how long a message has before it will be deleted?

When you open a message in Outlook the header of the email will have the time remaining.

This retention policy is not viewable on the outlook for mac. 

The footer of the email will have the name of the retention schedule, the retention tag name, and the date of expiration. If you are using Outlook on the Web only the header will be visible for Windows/MAC/mobile devices.

What if I am unable to access my e-mail for an extended period due to vacation or illness?

An option is to use the Option 1 Online Archive option stated above.  By default, the Online Archive folder has a retention period of 365 days.  Enabling the Online Archive feature will move the Inbox to the archive folder in the cloud.  For any other folders, you may do so by moving or copying individual or groups of emails.

Can emails be restored from the mail servers?

OIT staff and personnel have very limited capabilities to recover mail once it is deleted from the central mail servers.

Does AutoArchive have support for the MacOS version of Outlook for users who require offline storage to their machine?

No.  The recommended approach for Mac OS machines is to create an outlook rule to copy emails from the server Inbox and Sent Items to On My Computer folder. 

Instructions may be found by visiting the following URL: How to Set Rules for Inbox folder in Outlook for Mac client.docx and How to Set Rules for Sent Folder in Outlook for Mac Client.docx

If I had Auto Archive setup on my Windows machine, am I already covered?

AutoArchive is a legacy process that was previously set up on some Windows machines on campus (this process is not available on Outlook for Mac). This process is different than the processes described in this document. By default, Auto Archive scans your online folders and moves emails in those folders based on an aging criteria. Because all emails in the main central email server box are deleted after 30 days, most users were set up to move emails after 21 days to an offline folder removing them from the online folder they are in to prevent them from being deleted. This process raised concerns for staff that are out for extended periods of time, do not check their inbox frequently, or often are looking for emails in their inbox that are missing because they were “moved”. The new processes in this guide provide better options which take advantage of the ability to store copies of emails for up to 1 year in the cloud, and indefinitely on their offline folders.


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