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
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
- Right-click on the Archive Folders folder in your
- Click Properties for Archive
- 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.
Contacts - Not archived.
Running Archive Manually
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.
- Choose File | Archive.
- 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
- Right click on the folder you want to archive and
- 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
Repeat this for each
folder you want to delete messages from.
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.
- Choose Tools | Options | Other
- Click AutoArchive.
- Clear the "Run AutoArchive every n days" check
Prevent AutoArchive from running on one
- On the Go menu, click Folder List, right-click
the folder you want to AutoArchive, and then click
Properties on the shortcut menu.
- Click the AutoArchive tab.
- Select the "Do not archive items in this
Finding Archived Items
- 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
Reducing the size
of PST files-Outlook 2007