Before I dive into the OneDrive Retention shenanigans, I just want to go on the record and say: I love documentation. At least, I enjoy reading superbly written documentation when it comes to technical things like computers and things that compute and go pew pew. Now, if I’m building an IKEA product (be it a book shelf or a time machine), I’d rather sleep on LEGOs for a million moons than make heads or tails of instructions made in MS Paint–and I’m not talking about the new and improved Windows 10 Paint–I’m talking about pre-GUI with a brail keyboard Paint.



But when documentation is written by professionals who love what they do, it’s so obvious. This type of writing sets the document apart from mere mortals and it shines as an example to all of us of what we too can become. Documentation–when done correctly–allows you to start there instead of calling in, listening to menu options, guessing which category your question falls under/pressing 1 or 0 until you get an operator, and then saying the same thing to each representative as you get transferred into an endless cycle of hopelessness*. Or maybe it saves you from chatting with a bot–that’s given some nice human name, like Phil–that links you to the very articles that didn’t answer your questions in the first place. Love this feeling so much that I often subject myself to this particular flavor of torture.

*Shoutout to Nimble Storage support team. There is a satisfaction that can’t easily be put into words after calling the support number and after a few rings getting a response from Samantha Storage-enstein herself, who not so secretly fixed her life by reformatting it in a RAID 10 and literally eats Terabyte Toast Crunch cereal for breakfast.

Microsoft, I’ll admit, has pretty good documentation most of the time. Sometimes you have to open several articles to find what you’re looking for, but straightforward questions typically get straightforward answers (as long as it’s not on the support forums).


However, as of this writing…shh, I have to whisper this because I think I’m being bugged…(I’m typing this in smaller font so it’s harder for the man to know what I’m saying, you know what I’m saying?)

I believe I’ve uncovered a conspiracy in OneDrive Retention Settings.

There! I said it! I know it seems farfetched, but just hear me out…


There I was, I had just taken off my tinfoil hat for a split second when I clicked that link. No, not the you-are-the-1000th-visitor-so-you-win-a-cruise link, the link to OneDrive’s retention policies. As of 11/23/20, the link says that you can change OneDrive’s retention settings (default of 30 days) to up to 10 years (3650 days). Dang, that ain’t half bad. I’m usually bugging people about files on a file server way before 10 years so having this setting baked in with no additional license or upgrade sounds fantastic……ly suspicious.

But wait, when looking at the documentation on the OneDrive retention process, there’s a purple box of text up there on the grassy knoll…what does it say?

Well I’ll be a Free Mason, that only takes effect if you delete the user object, not just removing the license. Who just deletes user accounts? In any case, that’s all fine and dandy but there’s yet another article that says if you remove the license you can retain it for longer than 30 days.

Can you see the smoking gun? Who are we to believe? Microsoft or Microsoft? Is it a mere coincidence that Watergate and Billy Gates have the word GATE IN THEM??? I THINK NOT!

<deep breath>

Since the documentation was leading me down different chemtrails, I resorted to opening a ticket (this time with my tinfoil hat back snugly in place). I explained my dilemma to MS and told them their story didn’t add up. After several link exchanges and covert package drop offs that looked similar to Russell Crowe’s cracked code deliveries in A Beautiful Mind, MS was no closer to illuminati-ing the subject for me.



After intense interrogation, the support ambassador finally cracked and revealed information about some alleged migration expert higher up the ladder. He insisted he was just a pawn and doing as he was told. I wasn’t buying it but I continued to press about this fabled migration expert and here’s what he spilled:


I told him to make sure his story was straight and measured his non-verbal responses to cues like “hollow earth” and “Elvis” before he continued. After repeating his story back to him one final time, he said:

Where is the data being held? Who is holding the data? What data? For how long? WHAT IS DATA?


In the end, I ended up with more questions than answers and less confidence in digital documentation that could be edited at any moment. Will it keep your data beyond 30 days if you just remove the license after increasing the OneDrive retention period for DELETED accounts? Just like the moon landing in ’69, we may never know.

If you don’t see another post from me in the future, assume they’ve gotten me and/or I can’t remember my password, but probably the former.


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