Records management options in Purview

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Records management is a very specific component within Microsoft Purview. And this component has come a long way; From configuring these settings on a SharePoint library and content types to defining retention labels, using disposition reviews, and having insights into the labeled content.

Also, the workings of records have changed. We now have the concept of records versioning, for example.

When working out of the box, you can utilize these functions to retain and lock specific information in place. But you can configure some relevant options and in this blog I want to cover these.

Let’s start at the beginning – the Microsoft Purview Compliance center.

Go to the Records management dashboard, and you’ll see any pending dispositions and label activity. You’ll probably notice the other options as well. Please note that (like Records Management) these are linked to either the Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance or Microsoft 365 E5 Information protection and governance licenses.

Quick note: the File plan option is the only option in Microsoft Purview that allows you to create a label that marks a document as a record label.

Records options

One of the records options is already visible when you create such a label. By default, any document that is marked as the record will be locked. This basically means that the content cannot be edited, copied or moved. When this setting is used, the document will be marked as a record. But the document can still be edited, until the user locks the final record. This concept is called “records versioning“. This setting depends on your tenant-wide records management settings. I’ll go in more details below.

Records management settings

So let’s take a look at these tenant-wide settings for now. From the Microsoft Purview Compliance dashboard, you go to Records Management | Records management settings.

But beware though. This name is somewhat deceiving. Some of the sections here are not directly related to records management. And, just to reiterate, these settings are tenant-wide! Let’s take a look.

Disposition review

The concept of (multi-stage) disposition allows for a workflow and auditing supported process for content deletion after the retention period has expired. This is mandatory for many regulations and this feature supports this. Disposition review is configured at the label level and here you can set one or more reviewers. By using the permissions on the content, these reviewers only see the content they need to review.

The option Mail-enabled security group for disposition allows you to set up an overall management group. Members in this group can see all running disposition reviews.

The other option allows you to configure the (reminder) emails send to the disposition reviewers. One side note to this: please take a look at the new PowerPlatform connector for compliance as well. This allows you to set an action on “When an item reaches its retention period”.

Retention labels

As I’ve said earlier, not all of these settings are part of records management. This section applies to retention labels with and without record management components. Deletion of content is one of these. This applies to information that has been labeled and needs to be retained.

Normally, this content can still be deleted by the end-user and is stored in a Preservation Hold Library. Here, the content is preserved until the retention period expires. This is pretty normal and expected from the end-users perspective.

Sometimes it might be wise not to allow the deletion of information because this might be confusing for the end-user. In this case, you can disallow the deletion of content using these settings. This is relevant for all labels that apply retention.

The other two settings are related to records management. And these settings go to the core of records management. As said earlier, you can allow record versioning.


Records versioning allows users with at least Contributor access to create a specific record version. It only works for “normal” records – regulatory records don’t have this option. The concept is somewhat complex.

But let’s say you have one document. At some point in time, this document is to become a record and modifications cannot be made. But some aspects of the document change and you don’t want to create a new document for this. In this case, you can unlock the record, modify the document and lock the document. In this case, a record version is created – which is displayed in the version history of the document.

The concept behind the scenes is (again) the Preservation Hold Library. And because these are records that are stored, a specific Records folder is used.

When the record is unlocked, the latest version of the document is copied to this folder. It does not include versions of the document. It becomes a record in itself. This copy is then added as a version to the original record.

Although this sounds complex and will require some adoption/support for the end-users, the function itself is very easy. But again: you can turn this off if needed.

Records properties

One of the least popular features of Microsoft Purview from a compliance perspective was the ability to (still) modify the properties of the record. Which most records managers find at least questionable. And now we can limit these actions as well. Records cannot be edited, including the metadata. Which makes sense.

Famous last words

These settings allow you more granularity when using Microsoft Purview Records Management. But for even more strict adherence to regulatory compliance, Microsoft introduced the Regulatory record. But either in the settings above or the labeling interface, this option is not available.

And this is by default. Because this label and its configuration are very (very) strict, you need to actively modify the interface to show this type of label. You can use the Security & Compliance PowerShell module for this: Set-RegulatoryComplianceUI -Enabled $true

As you can see below, the settings for the label itself are strict.

But this is not all. Does anyone remember the “preservation hold” setting for a label or retention policy? This basically locked you out of modifying or deleting a label or policy. And the same goes for the regulatory record. So: be careful!

All in all

I hope this blog gives you some insight into the configuration options you have for records management. Please note that most options described here are not part of a standard Microsoft 365 E3 licensing.

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