Create a legal hold preservation policy


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 Code42, 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 can also preserve files with Legal Hold for enhanced surveillance as part of your company's security program. For more information, see Detect and respond to insider risks.


Watch the video below to learn how to create preservation policies. For more videos, visit the Code42 University


  • You must create a preservation policy before you create a matter.
  • The preservation policy's frequency and version retention settings take precedence over previous retention settings.
  • 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.
Special considerations for how file exclusions apply to preservation policies  
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

Before you begin

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

Step 1: Create a preservation policy

  1. Sign in to the Code42 console.
  2. Select Administration > Legal Hold > 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
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 Code42 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.
    • You can also 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. Select a value for Backup changes every to set the frequency at which versions are saved.
  3. Select values for each version retention interval:
    • 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)

Use defaults 
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

To test your preservation policy, 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 agent 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 agent on the test device, go to the Backup Set Settings, and choose Scan for file changes.