Retention period for MS Teams

Texts are kept in the MS Teams instant messaging feature (Chat) for a limited period.


One-to-one and group chats in MS Teams are deleted after 150 days, except for links and files shared during conversations, a period equivalent to a semester. Conversations that go beyond 150 days since their creation are deleted from the system. These messages will no longer be retrievable.

Data retention schedules provide guidance on how long records must be kept and ensure records are not indefinitely stored if they are no longer needed. By regularly removing records that do not need to be stored, we foster a robust and healthy information management system grounded in the University's best practices, as we greatly reduce risks of data breaches and maximize the usage of storage space. 

Which conversations are included?

For the time being, the change will only affect the conversations accessible by clicking “Chat” in the sidebar navigation from Microsoft Teams. This includes personal chats between yourself and another individual or a group (including chats from meetings) as well as “Chats with Self (Your space)” that are older than 150 days. As such, the new schedule does not impact conversations hosted within a Teams channel.  Including channels created for professors for the delivery of their courses. Chats contained in Teams channels will be retained until manually deleted or the channel is decommissioned.   

How will conversations and files be impacted?

  • Any conversations that go beyond a 150-day period since creation are deleted from the system.   

  • This will include any conversations that are over the 150-day period.

  • Links to files shared in one-to-one or group chats are also removed from the conversation after 150 days. However, the files themselves are still accessible in the MS OneDrive of the original sender under the folder “Microsoft Teams Chat Files”. 

Screenshot of the OneDrive location wher Team Chat Files are saved.

What type of transitory information is transmitted through MS Teams?

Chats involving the sole exchange of requests or information can be considered temporary and transitory, and may be deleted once a response is given or received. for example: 

  • Providing generic information
  • Links from a source such as a website, database, or content management system.

Informative or directional question and answer are also transitory information , that may be exchanged via MS Teams. Here's some examples:

  • "When is the test?"
  • "What are your office hours?"
  • "How do I apply for this program?''.

When do we know that a message from a conversation should be recorded in a document or communicated via email?

Instant messaging via MS Teams is not recommended for discussing topics that may potentially have implications for decision-making or for handling matters associated with that decision. here's some examples: 

  • Comprehensive advice or recommendations
  • requests
  • calls
  • Exemptions
  • Long-term projects
  • Measures, complaints, and other discussions or content governed by administrative procedures and/or policies.

The use of a communication platform other than MS Teams instant messaging is required; therefore, email is recommended.

How can I know if the messages are deleted?

An automatically generated message stating: We've deleted older messages due to your organization's retention policy will appear at the top of MS Teams chat windows as older chats are deleted.

Screenshot of the Teams chat message deletion message displaying We've deleted older messages due to your organization's retention policy on a grey background

Best practices

Remember: Teams is for transitory information

The MS Teams Chat function is a convenient way to reach the people you work with, however, chats are meant to be a temporary place to exchange. They are not intended as permanent areas to save important information, assets, or record decisions. You should never store or share personal information via MS Teams.  
Decisions that are made in a Teams chat should be documented in another format whether it is an email, memo, or other. This should then be saved ans stored in your team or department’s appropriate information management system for proper retention.