Litigation Hold versus In-Place Hold in Exchange Online


Tim Tetrick

I frequently get questions about the compliance archiving capabilities available in Exchange Online and Office 365.  One area that causes a lot of confusion is around Litigation Hold versus In-Place HoldIs Litigation Hold the same as In-Place Hold?  If not, then when and why would I choose to use one versus the other?  Is Litigation Hold going away in favor of In-Place Hold?

First, a little background…  In Exchange 2010 and Exchange Online (pre-service upgrade), Litigation Hold was introduced to allow customers to immutably preserve mailbox content to meet long term preservation and eDiscovery requirements. When a mailbox was placed on Litigation Hold, mailbox content was preserved indefinitely.

In Exchange 2013 and the new Exchange Online, In-Place Hold was introduced which allowed more flexibility in preserving your data.  It allowed you to preserve items matching your query parameters, known as a query-based In-Place Hold, preserve items for a specified period, known as a time-based In-Place Hold, and also preserve everything indefinitely, which emulated the Litigation Hold feature.

After the release of Exchange 2013 and the new Exchange Online, there were initial references in the documentation and in the product itself that Litigation Hold was being deprecated, and included recommendations to use In-Place Hold instead, which added to the confusion.

I want to clarify that Litigation Hold is not being deprecated, and the references to that have been cleaned up in the product and in the documentation.  Both types are available for use and you should use the hold feature that best meets your needs.  Here are some scenarios to help you choose between the two holds.


For more information, see the Exchange Online Service Description under “In-Place Hold and Litigation Hold”.

There is also a great blog post that goes into more detail on this topic at Litigation Hold and In-Place Hold in Exchange 2013 and Exchange Online.

Comments (9)
  1. I find it interesting that the claim is being made that Litigation Hold is not being deprecated, yet, when you set a mailbox to ‘litigationholdenabled $true’ a message like this appears: "Litigation hold is a deprecated feature. Although your litigation
    hold settings will continue to work, we recommend that you use In-Place Hold to place mailboxes on hold. Do you want to continue?" Can you speak to whether this feature will be continuing in the future? (Mind you my version is on-prem vs O365 which is covered

  2. Tim Tetrick says:

    Hi JAUCG, per the above referenced blog "Litigation Hold and In-Place Hold in Exchange 2013 and Exchange Online" at… "If
    you tried placing a mailbox on Litigation Hold using the EAC or the Shell, both the interfaces displayed an alert message with a recommendation to switch to the new In-Place Hold feature. This recommendation was also reflected in the product documentation.
    We’ve removed the alert from Exchange Online and in Exchange 2013 SP1. We’ve also removed the recommendation from Exchange Online and Exchange 2013 documentation."

  3. Kaviya says:

    Hi Tim,

    Thanks for the post.

    here i’ve one doubt. If i soft deleted the hold item from mail box, where should i can see the deleted mail?

    Thanks in advance

  4. Bharat Suneja says:

    @Kaviya: See the Recoverable Items topic for details Soft deleted items (Definition in the linked article) are in Recoverable ItemsDeletions folder. If user tries to remove from here, they’re not purged but hidden from the user.

  5. ratty67 says:

    Question. Currently have users on indefinite In-Place Hold for all items. If I were to remove them from In-Place Hold and turn on Litigation Hold, would the only effect be I lose the flexibility in searching for deleted data ?

  6. adam says:

    Hi Tim, if an o365 mail box is put on Litigation Hold or In Place Hold (no queries) what happens to new email to the users after either or these are set?

  7. Ed (DareDevil57) says:

    good post, thanks

  8. evana andrews says:

    this is great post ..really informative i must say ..plz also see

  9. Chris says:

    Thank you so much!

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