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This article applies to version 6.

Other available versions:


Available in:

Small Business
Code42 Support

Create a legal hold preservation policy

This article applies to version 6.

Other available versions:


Available in:

Small Business


Before you can put backup data on hold, you must define at least one preservation policy. The preservation policy defines which files are included in the legal hold and how long to keep files under legal hold. This article describes how to create a preservation policy that you can apply to different legal matters. (In the Code42 Legal Hold web app, a legal matter is the collection of all the custodians and backup data associated with a litigation.)

Legal hold is a part of the eDiscovery process undertaken in response to actual or prospective litigation. For information on how to leverage Code42 for Enterprise for eDiscovery, see our eDiscovery Integration Guide.


  • You must create a preservation policy before you create a matter.
  • Consult with your legal team before creating a preservation policy. The settings and configuration choices should align with the needs of your legal and compliance teams.
    • For example, to back up files outside the user's home directory, you may decide to include the device's entire main drive.
    • As another example, if the standard backup policy is to purge deleted files after a period of time, you may decide to keep deleted files forever for a legal hold.
Code42 partnership with Zapproved
Our Zapproved partnership enables you to use Zapproved to manage your legal hold process. Learn more about how to integrate Code42 and Zapproved for eDiscovery
Special considerations for how file exclusions apply to preservation policies

Existing legal holds migrated with upgrade to 6.x

Update your default settings
If you created a preservation policy with the default settings in version 5.x of the Legal Hold web app, the Remove deleted files setting is not applied properly. When you create a new preservation policy, the Remove deleted files setting indicates that it is set to Never. However, if you do not change the default frequency and version settings, the preservation immediately removes deleted files from the backup archive, which can result in data loss.

To resolve this issue: 
  • Create a new preservation policy or policies and update the matter(s) to the new preservation policy. This issue does not apply to new preservation policies created in version 6.x of the Legal Hold web app. 
  • Contact Code42 for Enterprise support . Our Customer Champions will apply a script to your existing preservation policies to ensure the setting is applied correctly. 
  • Upgrade your Code42 environment to version 6.0.4 or later.

This issue does not apply to preservation policies where the settings have been changed from the default.

Before you begin

The steps in this tutorial require one of the following roles:

  • All Org Legal Admin (version 6.5.x and later in Code42 environments with an authority server
  • Legal Admin (version 6.0.x and earlier)
  • Org Legal Admin (this role can only restore files for users within the administrator's organization and its child organizations)
  • SYSADMIN (Code42 environments with an authority server only)
  • A custom role with appropriate permissions. Users with the legalhold permission are able to view all legal holds.Copy the Legal Admin role to create an appropriate role.

Step 1: Create a preservation policy

  1. Sign in to the administration console.
  2. Navigate to the Legal Hold web app.
    • (Version 6.5.x and later) Choose Legal Hold in the left navigation menu.
    • (Version 6.0.x and earlier) From the application selector in the upper right, choose Legal Hold.
      Note: In versions 6.0.x and earlier, the first time you sign in to the Legal Hold web app, you are prompted to create a preservation policy. From All Matters, click the action menu create preservation policy icon , and choose Manage preservation policies.
  3. From All Preservation Policies, click the create preservation policy icon (+) .
  4. Enter the preservation policy's name in the Create Preservation Policy dialog.
    The new preservation policy is created and appears in the list of policies.

Preservation policies

Step 2: Configure general backup schedule

Default general backup schedule is recommended
The default schedule is usually optimal for legal holds. Backups run continually by default. Changes to the default schedule may cause backups to take longer to complete.

To choose the backup schedule for this preservation policy:

  1. From the list of all preservation policies, click the name of the policy.
  2. In the General Backup section, click Edit.
  3. Set backups to run always or between specified times.
  4. Change the schedule for file verification scans if necessary.
  5. Click Save.

Step 3: Configure file selection

Critical setting
The file selection for the policy is a critical setting. Consult with your legal and compliance teams to decide on the optimal settings. If you do not modify this setting, only the file selection of the custodian's organization (or root org) and the custodian's customized file selections (if allowed) will be backed up.
  1. In the File Selection section, click Edit.
  2. Under Included files, click Select file path.
    Choose substitution variables corresponding to the folders and files you wish to include.
  3. (Optional) Under Excluded files, click Select file path.
    Choose substitution variables corresponding to the folders and files you wish to exclude.
  4. Click Save after updating the settings.

Step 4: Configure filename exclusions (optional)

Adding exclusions reduces data collection
By default, no files are excluded from the preservation policy's backup set. However, file exclusions added under the Global Exclusions setting in the administration console also apply to all preservation policies.
Learn more about best practices for file exclusions and legal hold
  1. In the Filename Exclusions section, click Edit.
  2. Enter the file extension or regular expression to exclude. A regular expression allows you to search for particular patterns of text. Talk to your system administrator if you require help creating regular expressions.
    • Choose the Regular Expression option to enter a regular expression rather than a file extension.
    • Alternatively, you can import filename exclusions:
      1. Choose the operating system that the exclusion applies to.
      2. Click Import.
        The Import dialog appears.
      3. Insert the filename exclusions from a text file into the dialog.
  3. Click Add.
  4. Repeat steps 1 - 4 for each file exclusion or regular expression.
  5. Click Save after you have added all filename exclusions.

Step 5: Configure frequency and versions

Defining the retention policy
The frequency and version settings are critical for any preservation policy. Consult with your legal and compliance teams to determine the best retention policy for data that is placed on legal hold.
  1. In the Frequency and Versions section, click Edit.
  2. Set the frequency at which versions are saved.
  3. Change the version retention sliders to the desired values:
    • For one week, keep a version: Indicates which versions to keep from last week (not including today).
    • After one week, keep a version: Indicates which versions to keep from last 90 days (not including last week).
    • After 90 days, keep a version: Indicates which versions to keep from last year (not including the last 90 days).
    • After one year, keep a version: Indicates which versions to keep from previous years (not including last year).
    • Remove deleted files: Period after which deleted files are removed from the archive.
  4. Click Save.  

Step 6: Configure advanced settings (optional)

Defaults recommended
We recommend that you do not change the advanced settings for a legal hold.
  1. In the Advanced Settings section, click Edit to change the Back up open files setting. This setting defines if files that are open (in use) at the time of back up will be backed up or not.
  2. Click Save.

Step 7: Test your preservation policy

We recommend you create a matter, and use a test device to make sure your preservation policy is adding files to legal hold as expected. 

Updates to the preservation policy

The Code42 app applies file inclusion and exclusion updates from the preservation policy only after a file verification scan.

To see how updating the preservation policy affects the files in legal hold, you must first start a file verification scan. To start a scan, open the Code42 app on the test device, go to the Backup Set Settings, and choose Scan for file changes.  

Learn more: Code42 Education Pass training videos

We also have a training module about how to use the Legal Hold web app. The module is 9 videos that are 3–10 minutes long. These videos provide an overview of the eDiscovery model and demonstrate how to create a preservation policy, add custodians to matters, and collect files in Code42.

If you already have a Code42 Education Pass, watch Code42 Legal Hold. Otherwise, email to learn more about how to get access to training videos


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