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Archiving Messages in Outlook 2007

The Ohio State University at Lima
Technical Bulletin #200705081438


Auto-Archiving Outlook Data

E-mail tends to quickly pile up and get out of hand. Mailboxes get bigger and bigger. To help keep mailboxes manageable, you need another place to store, or archive, older items that you need to reference but are not used all the time. Outlook has a built-in feature called AutoArchive that stores Outlook items (messages, appointments, tasks, notes, etc.) in different locations. AutoArchive copies items to these archive files and then removes them from the current folder. It allows you to set up a schedule and archive multiple folders at the same time at set intervals. You can also individually select folders for archiving.

The first time AutoArchive runs, Outlook creates the archive file automatically in the following location:
C:\ Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Archive.pst. We recommend you do not change the default name or location of the archive file; it could be hard to locate if you forget where it is.

To see where your archive folder is stored:Location of Archive Folder

  1. Right-click on the Archive Folders folder in your Folder List.
  2. Click Properties for Archive Folders.
  3. Click Advanced and then look at the Filename box.

The default for AutoArchive is to prompt you every 14 days to archive your items older than 6 months and any expired items. Expired items are messages and calendar entries that are not valid after a certain date (e.g., messages set to expire 1 month ago that are still in your Inbox).

The default aging periods for folders are:
. Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, Journal, Drafts: 6 months
. Sent Items, Deleted Items: 2 months
. Outbox: 3 months

Outlook determines the age of an item based on the item type:
E-mail message - The sent or received date or the last modification date/time, whichever is later.
Calendar item - The appointment, event, or meeting date or the last modification date/time, whichever is later. Recurring items are not AutoArchived.
Task - The completion date or the last modification date/time. Tasks that are not marked complete are not AutoArchived. Tasks assigned to others are archived only if marked complete.
Note - The last modification date/time.
Journal entry - The date the journal entry was created or the last modification date/time.
- Not archived.

Running Archive Manually Outlook Archive

If you don't want to run Archive automatically, you can choose to run it manually. You can be more selective of the date ranges and items that are placed in the archive folders.

  1. Choose File | Archive.
  2. Specify whether to archive all folders using their AutoArchive settings (that is, either the default settings, or per-folder settings you specified for individual folders) or whether to archive an individual folder using the options you specify in this dialog box.

Archiving Certain Folders

  1. Right click on the folder you want to archive and choose Properties.
  2. Select the AutoArchive tab and configure the options. For example, you may want to keep deleted and junk mail items for 7 days, then delete it. Choose "7" and "Days" for the Clean out items older than fields and select permanently delete.

Repeat this for each folder you want to delete messages from.

Moving/Copying folders, messages, or other items to the Archive folder

You can also drag and drop files, folders, messages, contacts, tasks, notes, and calendars into the Archive folders area.  You can choose to move or copy items.

Prevent AutoArchive from running on all folders

The following procedure turns off AutoArchive for all folders, including individual folders with AutoArchive turned on.

  1. Choose Tools | Options | Other tab.
  2. Click AutoArchive.
  3. Clear the "Run AutoArchive every n days" check box.

Prevent AutoArchive from running on one folder

  1. On the Go menu, click Folder List, right-click the folder you want to AutoArchive, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu.
  2. Click the AutoArchive tab.
  3. Select the "Do not archive items in this folder" option.

Finding Archived Items

  1. If the Archive Folder is not in your folder list, select File | Open | Outlook Data File. Type the name of the file (archive.pst) and click OK. This will open the archive file and allow you to locate your message(s).  

For more information on these features, see

See also Reducing the size of PST files-Outlook 2007


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