Box Migration: File Deletion & Retention Overview

This guidance helps offices and employees prepare for the Box Migration in terms of recordkeeping. It has been confirmed by Penn State IT that the best and easiest way to help the entire project is deleting outdated files. The goal is to eliminate migrating unnecessary files which wastes a lot of time. Utilizing this guidance and the Penn State IT Box Migration Checklist will increase efficiency and speed up the entire University-wide Box Migration. See the Box Migration website for more information about timelines, individual vs. non-person box accounts, and training/resources.

It is likely that the IT Team from your Campus/College/Unit will be the main point of contact for the Penn State IT Box Migration Team. The Records Management Liaison (RML) from your Campus/College Unit may be able to help you with the specific file deletion and retention (clean-up) process.

File Clean-Up Steps:

Understand the Importance of the Initiative

  • You should migrate only files that are active and needed. Do not delete files or data that are still being used for an academic, administrative, financial, legal, and research projects/purposes.
  • It is not compliant to keep everything! Keeping files longer than stated on the records retention schedules can cause legal risks and reduce our operational efficiencies.
  • Contact the Office of Records Management to confirm your file retention requirements at

Delete Files that are Unofficial and Transitory

  • Use these instructions to Delete Files and Folders via the “Trash” on
  • Examples of these unofficial/transitory files are duplicates copies used for convenience or reference, back-up copies of emails, a copy of a file that is held by someone other than the responsibility party/system of record, a superseded draft, mass distributed content, or anything considered your own personal copy of a file that others have or are responsible for.
  • Non-University Records are related to personal matters, or about non-University business. Examples include files from professional associations, external events, and community newsletters.

Delete Files That are Outdated and Have Been Retained Long Enough

  • Use the Financial Records Retention Schedule and the General Records Retention Schedule to confirm how long to keep all specific types of records.
  • General administrative files that are more than 3 years old are likely outdated and need to be deleted. (examples: committee files, correspondence, inactive grants/sponsored program files, meeting minutes, project files, search committee & hiring records, survey & reports)
  • Financial and HR files that are more than 7 years old are likely outdated and need to be deleted. (examples: accounts payable & receivable, general invoices, grants & contracts, reports of cash receipts, Unit/Dept. copies of personnel records & records for employees that have separated )
  • There are very few files that are need to kept longer than 7-10 years. Outdated files more than 10 years old must be either deleted or transferred to archives ASAP.

Transfer Historical Files to University Archives

Retain Active Files and Migrate from Box

  • Once everything that is outdated/unnecessary has been deleted, and the historical records have been transferred to archives, only the active and current files are left to migrate.
  • Penn State IT will migrate the files from Box to the appropriate Microsoft Office 365 platform (OneDrive, SharePoint) for you. You do not need to create your own OneDrive or SharePoint prior to the migration, Penn State IT will do that for you.
  • If you focus on deleting files and removing content links that are not needed, that will help expedite the project.