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Manage retention and deletion

This Help Center article is for Postini, a suite of Google services that's now discontinued. If you're searching for instructions related to Google Apps, see the Google Apps Help Center. For instructions related to Google Apps Vault, see the Vault Help Center.
You specify the maximum retention period for your messages when you purchase Message Discovery. Message Archiving can retain messages for periods of up to 10 years. You set a separate retention period up to that maximum for each user org. The flexibility to set retention periods on a per-org basis lets you tailor message retention to the needs of various user groups.

You can retain messages longer than your retention period if you turn off Auto-purge (see below).

The Message Archiving Settings page for an organization indicates the retention period. For information about setting the retention period for an organization, see Step 4. Turn On Archiving.

You can use the Auto-purge option to have Message Archiving automatically delete messages at the end of the month in which their retention periods expire (Auto-purge ON), or you can choose to manually purge messages from the archive (Auto-purge OFF). You can also place a hold on saved search results, which temporarily halts automatic message deletion. This option may be useful during an investigation or notice of litigation.

You can use the Retention tab to turn the Auto-purge function on and off, and to manually purge messages from the archive. For more information, see the Message Archiving User’s Guide.

Note: You cannot delete messages from your corporate archive before their retention periods expire or if they are on hold beyond their retention periods.
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