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How to Manage AutoArchive in Outlook 2010

If you want to keep Outlook 2010 clean and run faster, one method is to set up the AutoArchive feature. Today we show you how to configure and manage the feature in Outlook 2010.

Using AutoArchive allows you to manage space in your mailbox or on the email server by moving older items to another location on your hard drive.

Enable and Configure Auto Archive

In Outlook 2010 Auto Archive is not enabled by default. To turn it on, click on the File tab to access Backstage View, then click on Options.

1autoarchive

The Outlook Options window opens then click on Advanced then the AutoArchive Settings button.

2autoarchive

The AutoArchive window opens and you’ll notice everything is grayed out. Check the box next to Run AutoArchive every…

Note: If you select the Permanently delete old items option, mails will not be archived.

3autoarchive

Now you can choose the settings for how you want to manage the AutoArchive feature. Select how often you want it to run, prompt before the feature runs, where to move items, and other actions you want to happen during the process. After you’ve made your selections click OK.

4autoarchive

Manually Configure Individual Folders

For more control over individual folders that are archived, right-click on the folder and click on Properties.

6autoarchive

Click on the AutoArchive tab and choose the settings you want to change for that folder. For instance you might not want to archive a certain folder or move archived data to a specific folder.

7autoarchive

If you want to manually archive and backup an item, click on the File tab, Cleanup Tools, then Archive.

8autoarchive

Click the radio button next to Archive this folder and all subfolders. Select the folder you want to archive. In this example we want to archive this folder to a specific location of its own.

9autoarchive

The .pst files are saved in your documents folder and if you need to access them at a later time you can.

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After you’ve setup AutoArchive you can find items in the archived files. In the Navigation Pane expand the Archives folder in the list. You can then view and access your messages.

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You can also access them by clicking the File tab \ Open then Open Outlook Data File.

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Then you can browse to the archived file you want to open.

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Archiving old emails is a good way to help keep a nice clean mailbox, help speed up your Outlook experience, and save space on the email server. The other nice thing is you can configure your email archives and specific folders to meet your email needs.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/24/10

Comments (28)

  1. pugal

    thank you so much………

    its very very use full

  2. One

    Rubbish. Why is this functionality not in the Rules module? and why is it so severely limited?

  3. jared

    Great guide, Thank you!!!

    I’ve shared this with my company for the heavy email users :)

  4. Vicky

    Hi all,
    How do I stop outlook 2010 from auto archiving all my new mails. I don’t receive any new mails in my Inbox… All the new mails enters my Archive folder. This issue is driving me off the cliff. Should I switch back to Outlook 2007?

  5. shivy

    Follow the procedure above (4 first pics), but untick the “auto archive” function.
    Then you can check individualy the inbox folder to disable the auto archiving (pics 5 & 6).

  6. dude

    does any body know how long outlook keeps emails archived for?

  7. ste

    @ dude

    Archived emails are saved to a PST file on and stored your hard drive permanently.

  8. outsource

    I have tried numerous times to manually archive my items – but is simply does not work. I have even set up auto archive. But my Outlook keeps sending the “your mailbox is full message” and archiving is simply not working. It even says it is busy archiving but nothing is happening. Any suggestions?

  9. Arun

    good document.
    Thanks !!! :)

  10. Emma

    Can you tell me, I have large personal folders for work and I need to be able to save each email, rather than one PST file.

    Its for archiving purposes, so i need them individually.

    PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

    P.S. Its in Outlook 2010

  11. IZZ

    well done! nice guide ever!

  12. James

    Emma, look up ABC Amber Outlook Converter. Works directly against the Outlook PST file and converts one or more emails to txt, html, doc, pdf and a variety of other formats. Inexpensive too.

  13. Teri

    Help! I’m trying to get access to a colleague’s archived calendar (or the most recently archived months of his current calendar) but he has 2010 and I have an older version. Is there an easy way for him to e-mail/grant access to his archived calendar? Thank you so much!

  14. Phyllis

    very useful

  15. Raul

    You can also just drag and drop each email you want to archive from “inbox” to “archives”, after you have set up an archive file.

  16. mzohairy

    thanks for help.

  17. Nancy

    Will the folder structure be preserved in the archive file? Or will all archived emails go loose to the root of the archive.pst unless I manually set up a mirror of my folder structure and individually drag things to their mirrored target?

    I want things filed in the archive in the same structure as they are in my active mail, but I don’t want to have to set up dozens of duplicate folders by hand in the archive file. And I don’t want to find out the hard way (by letting AutoArchive run once) that they all go into the archive “flat” because I’ll never be able to sort them out again after the fact. My prior email client preserved the folder structure in the archive automatically.

    I tried to text by enabling autoarchive and turning it on for just one folder to see what would happen, but nothing apparently did; everything under the Archives part of my folder list is empty.

    Thanks.

  18. peter.pan

    nice man

  19. Veon

    Thanx

    great guide

  20. AWT

    How do you backup the archive folder in case of hard drive failure? Microsoft PST Backup program does not work with 2010. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  21. russ

    i have the same problem that nancy has. i imported all my folders from eudora, and i want to keep the file structure intact and forever. i don’t want to have to archive anything, if that means not having access to it whenever i want to see old mail.

  22. Matt Stewart

    Hey Dude,

    Just reviewing some pages to write documentation for a client and I came across this page. I was like….I think I know this guy! Hope all is well with you!

    Stew

  23. jgt1942

    Nancy/Russ – in Outlook 2010 the folder structure will be maintained.

    Russ – on one of my systems (win7, Outlook 2010 x32) my PST file is almost 5GB. I did encounter an issue when it hit either 2GB or 3GB and and to utilize a conversion tool from MS. I don’t remember the details but I started with Outlook several versions ago and and I installed newer version I used the old PST file. In the earlier version there was a PST file size limit but after using the MS tool all was OK.

    I’m about to convert from the x32 version to the x64 version but this requires that I uninstall Office 2010 x32 and then install Office x64. I’m in the process of creating a plan, I don’t want to go through the customization once I get it installed. From my research as of today if I export the office settings (not Outlook) and then import them I should be OK but I want to do more research before I make the jump.

  24. Brian

    Folks, checkout inboxex at inboxex.com

  25. Gyozo

    this is very helpful, thank you very much:)

  26. Sathik

    Thanks a lot for the good work. Any lay man would be able to do it on seeing this document. May god bless

  27. Eunice

    I started moving the contents of my Outlook Data Files into my Archive folders to free up the space on the server. The next day someone else used my computer (I doubt they used Outlook) but I see that my Archive folders have disappeared. How do I get them back?

  28. Eunice

    Even the heading called “Archive Folders” in that column is gone. Help!

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