Only for New Recordings
Updated 10 November 2021
Announced in MC274188 (July 30), in late September, Microsoft will roll-out meeting recording auto-expiration for new Teams meeting recordings (TMRs) stored in SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business (Microsoft 365 roadmap item 84580). The new feature will move the MP4 files used for TMRs to the site recycle bin when their expiration date lapses. For enterprise users, the expiration period is 60 days after the creation of the recording. A reduced period of 30 days applies for academic users with the Office 365 A1 license. Once in the recycle bin, the MP4 files follow the standard SharePoint file deletion cycle. Auto-expiration for TMRs is available for all Office 365 and Microsoft 365 licenses which contain Teams.
Update: According to the roadmap item, the date for the introduction of the expiration period has moved out to January 2022.
TMRs are the first workload to move video storage from the classic Stream Azure-based platform to SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business (ODSP), From August 16, 2021, all new TMRs will be in ODSP. Even though tenants have a lot more storage quota available (especially in OneDrive for Business for recordings of personal meetings) than in Stream, the new policy aims to restrict the amount of storage occupied by TMRs (roughly 400 MB per hour).
Setting a New Expiration Period for TMRs
Microsoft says that 99% of TMRs are not watched again 60 days after the original meeting, which is why they’ve chosen this to be the default expiration period. Users can change the expiration period for individual TMRs by updating file properties through the file details pane (selecting preset values of 14, 30, or 60 days, a custom date, or Never Expire). Organizations can set a default expiration period for newly created TMRs using the Teams meeting policy assigned to user accounts. For example, to set the default expiration period for recordings of meetings made by people assigned the VIP User Meeting Policy, run the command:
Set-CSTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity "VIP User Meeting Policy" -NewMeetingRecordingExpirationDays 120
Originally, Microsoft’s documentation described a maximum expiration period is 99,999 days (273 years). Subsequently, problems emerged when tenants set such a high value and the safe limit was found to be 9,999 days, which should be more than enough to keep any normal recording (remember, you can apply a retention label to keep recordings for longer). The minimum is 1 day, and you can set the value (in PowerShell) to -1 to set meeting recordings to never expire. The expiration period for A1 users can only be reduced from the default 30 days.
You can also update the auto-expiration period for meeting policies through the Teams admin center (November 2021 update). Interestingly, the Teams admin center allows a range of between 1 and 99999 days! I’ve asked Microsoft to clarify whether the supported period is 9,999 or 99,999 days. If you want to go higher than 9,999 days, maybe the best approach is to set expiration to never expire.
Background processes run to evaluate TMRs in ODSP to check their expiration date. If the expiration process detects an expired file, the process moves the file into the recycle bin and clears the expiration date field. Users receive email notifications when expired recordings move into the recycle bin. If necessary, they can rescue important recordings from the recycle bin for up to 90 days after deletion. Once moved back from the recycle bin, the recording has no retention date set and will therefore not be evaluated for deletion again.
To help users understand when a recording approaches expiration will see visual indications in:
- Beside the link to the meeting recording in the meeting chat. Anyone with view access to the recording sees the expiration notice.
- Two weeks before expiration, a red icon appears beside the MP4 files for TMRs in the Recordings folder of OneDrive for Business accounts (personal meetings) or SharePoint Online sites (channel meetings).
Auto-expiration applies only to new TMRs. Existing TMRs stored in either ODSP or Stream do not have an expiration period. Auto-expiration is only available for TMRs and cannot be used with other file types held in ODSP. Expiration dates are kept if users move recording files to a different site (it’s the same file). They are not when users copy recording files (it’s a different file). Downloading and uploading a recording creates a new file with no expiration date. If you want to be sure that the expiration process does not remove a Teams meeting recording, apply a retention label to the file.
Tenant administrators can track the creation of TMRs in OneDrive for Business and SharePoint Online by using PowerShell to extract and analyze audit events.
Auto-Expiration and Retention
Auto-expiration is a good housekeeping rather than a compliance feature. It will help organizations cope with a swelling collection of TMRs in user OneDrive for Business accounts and SharePoint Online sites but will do nothing to help with data governance. Two interesting developments due to arrive soon are automatic transcription for TMRs and indexing of transcripts. From a compliance perspective, this means that it will be possible to search for words spoken during a meeting and be able to put those words in the context they were spoken. Obviously, this is a big advance in compliance capabilities.
To take advantage of spoken word retrieval and make sure that transcripts and videos are available to eDiscovery investigators, you obviously need to retain TMRs. For this reason, a retention label on a TMR prevents the auto-expiration process removing recording files until the retention period assigned in the label lapses. Also, a retention label mandating deletion after a period takes precedence over auto-expiration, meaning that if the retention label has a shorter retention period than the auto-expiration date, that’s when SharePoint will remove the file.
Precedence applies for retention labels assigned manually or via an auto-label policy (available to tenants with Office 365 E5). Organizations which leverage retention labels to preserve the recordings of important Teams meetings might not see much change after Microsoft introduces the new auto-expiration feature.
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