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The Moodle Data Retention Policy describes which data is retained by the service and how long it is stored. The policy ensures we comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the University of Cambridge Master Records Retention Schedule.

Some system- and user-generated content is deleted automatically on a rolling schedule to reduce the amount of data stored. This helps us to maintain or increase the service’s performance and, as a result, improve the user experience.


Course backup files (.mbz)

This particular retention policy applies to course backup files, which have an .mbz files extension. Backup files can contain the course activities and resources, groups, blocks, calendar events etc. These elements can be included or excluded in the backup process.

All .mbz files are deleted when:

  • 13 months has elapsed from the time the file was created


  • they are located in the course backup area or the user backup area.

The system will email creators of .mbz files with a list of their backup files that will be deleted, 1 month and then 1 week prior to their deletion. Examples of these emails are shown below. 

If you would like to retain your course backup files, you can download .mbz files from Moodle and store them on your local devices.

Example of the email: 1 month prior to deletion

Dear Moodle user

This is an automatically generated email.

The .mbz (course backup) files listed below were created by you and are scheduled for deletion in 1 month on Sun, 3rd May 2020.

If any of these files remain in Moodle, you will receive a further reminder 1 week before they are scheduled for deletion.
If you wish to retain the files, please download them to a local device. For information on how to do this, please visit the Moodle Help Guide on Backup:

If you have any comments or concerns, please email the Moodle helpdesk on

For more information on Moodle retention policies, please visit:


Moodle Helpdesk


Moodle course backup files to be deleted:


Course File name Date created File size
***Not Available*** backup-moodle2-course-115071-help_for_staff-20161108-1510-nu.mbz 08-Nov-2016 15:10 52.6MB
Content Test Course backup-moodle2-course-159712-content_test_course-20180831-1523.mbz 31-Aug-2018 15:23 14MB

End of list


Activity logs

Moodle automatically records all user actions within the activity logs system. This includes things such as course administration (for example, adding or removing sections, activities and files) and student participation (accessing resources and ineracting with activities). Only users with a teaching role in a course have the ability to view the course activity logs.

All logs are stored for 20 months. A regular process runs on the first day of each month to remove records that exceed this retention period.

Users with a teaching role can download activity logs they would like to retain. 


Unenrolled friends users

Friends accounts are created for users who are not employees of or students at the University and, as result, do not have a Raven account. In some cases, they are role-based or shared accounts. Some of these accounts are not enrolled in any courses in Moodle.

From 1 June 2022 unenrolled Friends accounts will only be retained if they have been created within the past 12 months. A regular process will run on the first day of each month to remove records that exceed this retention period. 


If you have any comments or concerns, or need any help or support please do not hesitate to contact the Moodle Helpdesk.