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Configure AutoArchive In Outlook 2007

In a previous article we showed you how to quickly clean out your inbox.  Here we will show you how to have more control over what is kept and what is not.  Let’s look at a way to archive the older items so your inbox is not so cluttered up.

AutoArchive is turned on by default in Outlook 2007 and will actually remove some of the oldest files (you determine the amount of time) completely. 

Open Outlook and click on Tools \ Options

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Now click on the Other tab and click the AutoArchive button.

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This opens up a whole menu of options and settings to pick from: for instance you can choose how often AutoArchive runs. In this example I picked 20 days. I also place a check next to “Prompt before AutoArchive runs” just in case there is something I do not want deleted. 

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This is also where you decide when to clean out old items and the location to move them to.  Of course you can always select to permanently delete old items if you do not want to keep them around any longer.  Click OK and your settings are saved!

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 08/6/07

Comments (50)

  1. Emhodew

    You failed to mention that while auto archive is turned on by default, NOTHING is set to archive. Your readers either have to click the button “Apply these settings to all folders now” or manually configure each folder to be archived. Otherwise the auto archive will run, but nothing will be moved.

  2. Mittra

    Don’t forget that AutoArchiving looks at Last Modified Date and NOT Received or Sent Date. If users do ANYTHING to a message (including just look at it) in an Exchange environment the Last Modified Date will change. It will also change, in a pst environment, if the message is moved, copied, forwarded or replied to.

  3. Robin Russell

    I have done all this but for some reason it is still not archiving. It is creating the folders but not placing the old emails in them. We have just recently upgraded to 2007 from 2003. Could that be a problem?

  4. Mo Alam

    I set up autoarchive like it is desribed here and receheked many times. But the autoarchive is not working. It is not moving emails to the archive folder. I am running Outlook 2007 in Vista. I am connected to a hosted exchange by my website host. Please help. How do i troubleshoot?

  5. Corban

    I’ve had the same problem as Mo listed above. Have any solutions or trouble shooting been recommended and if so, is it sent to the email or will it be posted on the site? Thanks in advance.

  6. James V

    I am also having the problem where it will create the folders but move nothing into them. We are on a Exhange 2003 server, and i am using Outlook 2007. Any idea as to why this is not working?

  7. Phaneendranatha

    I have done all this but it is noot archiving. It is creating the Archive folders but not placing the old emails in them. Could that be a problem? :(

  8. Harold

    I agree with everyone. Outlook2003 AutoArchiving does not work with Exchange 2007. Any solution?

  9. Cindi

    How do I remove duplicate Archive Folders? Each time I archive a new folder is created. I’ve moved everything into one set of archive folders but I still have an empty archive folder.

  10. FrankFlorida

    Wow, can not believe so many people have the same problem an still no fix. I try to use Autoarchive to smaller my 2 GByte .OST file while moving items to a local .PST file – NOTHING no Emails moving… it only creates empty folders. I tried several times. I am on a hosted Exhange server. Anybody found the bug?

  11. FrankFlorida

    Well, I found the answer for the not working ARCHIVE function:
    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/295657

    Stupid that they consider the “modified” date for the archive function because my ‘modified date’ entry is wrong for most of my emails. Beside, how would you ‘modifify’ received emails in your inbox? Well, over 1000 emails from 2005 show in my inbox ‘modified 12/18/2008″ and I am sure I have not touch any of these emails.

  12. Harold

    I take back my original comment, complaining that auto archiving does not work. Actually, auto archiving works fine, as long as you remember that Outlook uses the “modified” date, not the “received” date (as you would expect). A variety of actions changes the modified date. Most common is when you move a message from one folder to another, the modified date changes. So for example, if you receive a message in June, but then move it to another folder in November, the modified date is now November. And if your archive settings are looking for messages in June, that message will not be archived (because it’s really a November message).

    You can confirm all the dates, “sent”, “received”, “modified” by opening a message | Propertes.

  13. Benjamin

    Interestingly enough, as you can’t change the modified date, I changed the date to auto archive to a point in the future. It will archive everything (in the specified folder), including the most current data. But at least it gets archived; you can always retreive archived data.

  14. Tracy

    I had a huge problem with this since I am using IMAP.
    Every time I send/receive or look at an e-mail, the modified date is updated.
    AOL deletes old messages every month, so if I don’t back them up they disappear.
    I can’t use POP3 because I need to see my server folders (sent, spam). POP, in general, only works with the Inbox folder.

    My workaround was to create a Rule (Tools -> Rules and Alerts) to automatically put a copy of new messages that come into my IMAP Inbox into my Archived Folders Inbox.
    This puts two copies in my Outlook, one in my IMAP folder, which will disappear when AOL decides to delete it, and one in my archived folder, which is all safe and permanent.

    Unfortunately, so far I haven’t been able to get this to work for any IMAP folders except Inbox.
    So if I send an e-mail from the AOL webmail instead of the Outlook client on my home desktop, I’ll have no permanent copy unless I manually copy it from my IMAP Sent folder.

  15. Derek

    I really need to archive – I have a large number of messages in my inbox andsent items. This worked well for me with XP outlook 2003. I now have vista and outlook 2007. I know how to do the settings to archive, but the archive folders will not appear in the mail folders as before. They should automatically appear when you first archive. Your help would be appreciated!

  16. SK

    You can always select the mail you want to archive, right click, and move to your archive folder.

  17. Derek

    Thanks but the main problem is that the Archive folders are not automatically created when archiving – there are no archive folders – if I auto-archive, then duplicate messages are created in the existing folders.

  18. milo

    Auto Archive runs on “Modified Date”

    View
    Current View
    Customize Current View
    All Mail Fields
    ADD “Modified”
    OK, OK

    Look at your mod dates, what’s effecting them? Malware apps scanning?, Backup utils?

  19. Wig

    I had this same issue. The properties for each folder had the AutoArchive configured, but when AutoArchive ran nothing happened. I discovered that I had to select “Archive or Delete old Items” under tools/options/other/Autoarchive. Set a high default value and then set your folders to whatever you want. The folder value overrides the default, but the default needs to been enabled. Click on the autoarchive button under mailbox cleanup and it should work now. At least that’s what my problem was.

  20. Alan'

    How about offering the user the choice of which date to use for Archiving? Surely, that’s the solution to this very awkward rule that archives on ‘modified date’, something which I do not want to do.

  21. Gabbo
  22. Justin

    Are you serious?

    You call this a guide? You didn’t even go into detail about what each of the check boxes does. Basically “enable it and click OK!”

    Awesome guide dude. Next time get your pet rat to do it for you.

  23. Kiran

    The above steps , seemed to work,thanks for the information.

  24. Steve

    what if you have 3 different e-mail accounts that you have to keep seperate(inbox and archive)? can you tell outlook to archive to one folder for one account, and another folder for another account. on top of that one of my e-mail accounts is imap and outlook tech supports tells me i cannot archive thoes files. i need help….

  25. Thukbir"

    The Auto-Archive Option does not show up under the “Other” tab. How do I enable it?

  26. Andrew

    I have same problem as Thukbir, there is no Auto Archive option under the OTHER tab, just shows General, OUTLOOK PAnes and Person Names. How to find the auto archive?

  27. ender

    guys, i discovered that after outlook update this problem occurs. i uninstall outlook updates after 16/12/2010 and this problem is solved. THANKS MICROSOFT FOR UPDATES!!!!

  28. believethin

    Thank alot “Ender” i try remove Microsoft Outlook update aftre 16/12/2010 Now the problem it fied.

  29. JeeJeeDeeVee

    I have the same problem. No auto archive option in the option/other tab. Deleted all the updates but that doesn’t help.

    Anybody can help me?

  30. Dumbfounded

    I have the same problem that Ender described … please can someone advise how to uninstall Microsoft Update after 16 Dec 2010? Thanks in advance.

  31. Ali

    Ender Bey, O kadar araştırdım çözümü bulamamıştım; sayenizde kurtulduk.
    1 Türk dünyaya bedeldir.

  32. Ali

    Dumbfounded;
    you could reinstall the update by following steps.

    Control panel – Programs and features
    view installed updates

    you should find the outlook update occurred on 16.12.2010 (there is only 1)
    then do right click and select uninstall
    I think it will be better if you keep outlook closed while processing tese steps.

    I did all and solved all my problems (I could see archive and outlook works perfect)

    Thank you Ender.

  33. Bob

    Ali;
    That is an outstanding contribution. My Outlook had, in the last few days started running very slowly. I had auto archive set but decided to do one manually. The option had disapeared! Very frustrating. Took me a while to find this thread but your solution worked a treat. Thank you very mch for your contribution.

  34. B

    My update list does not show an update on that date.

    What is the KB number of the update that you are uninstalling?

    Thanks in advance.

  35. Jijosam

    Many thanks, Ali! It really worked, you’re a star! :)

  36. James McWhorter

    Hi Ali,

    I’ve got the same question as B. I do see several updates on the 15th. Do you remember what the update # was?

    Thanks!

  37. Trevski60

    KB2412171, thanks for the great posts, have just removed this pesky update and it has restored autoarchive.

    Cheers

  38. Frank

    Thanks everyone! I just removed the KB2412171 update (mine was done on 12/15) and, wella, Auto Archive is back. Really appreciate it!!!

  39. BREE

    I do not have Autoarchive available in tools> options> other.
    Can anyone help me understand how to add this to my Outlook?

  40. Chris

    Thanks for the advice re the update (KB2412171). Removing it, via control panel, programs and features, click on installed updates and look for this update in the list, returned all of my archive options. Interesting why this update specifically removed this functionality – is Microsoft directing us down a particular path eg online backup? I’m not sure…

  41. Tracy

    Thanks! My email started running slow (ie. panes loading very slow) a couple of weeks ago and I could not figure out why! After researching several questions & answers I ran across the autoarchive suggestions and thought I must need to archive some of my folders, etc. but then could not find it under options which further confused me because I knew it used to be there! Thank God I came across this (and that one of you listed the KB # since the dates are not listed!)…I uninstalled it and my email is back to working like before and autoarchive is back as well!!! BTW….i thought my email was running slow because I NEEDED to autoarchive but as it turns out…i only needed to uninstall this update and it’s running as fast as before…so no need to autoarchive anything! The update was the problem (KB2412171). Thanks again for sharing!

  42. Mike

    Wow! I’m glad I found this thread – My Outlook was acting like someone poured molasses in it – uninstalled KB2414171 and now it is working great again. Thanks!

  43. peter068

    Happy New Year to you all – it is now for me – Thanks guys – I just spent over an hour trying to find the autoarchive and in the process checked all my settings but to no avail. Great posts – Cheers.

  44. SoulMan

    Wig

    Thank You!

    This helped me and I couldn’t find the answer anywhere else.

  45. Allen

    I don’t see a Programs and Features component in my Control Panel (XP). How can I uninstall that KB2412171 update? Thanks

  46. Alan Guggenheim

    Quite incredible that Microsoft has not fixed that problem in over 7 years, BUT here is a solution (if you are running Outlook 2007!)
    Still no solution for Outlook 2010, but if we push, we might get it. here it is:

    Article ID: 2500686 – Last Review: February 17, 2011 – Revision: 1.0

    By default, Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 archives different items based on the item type:

    Email message: The received date or the last modified date and time, whichever is later.
    Calendar item: The last modified date and time or the actual date that an appointment, event, or meeting is scheduled for, whichever is later.
    Task: The completion date or the last modified date and time, whichever is later. Tasks that are not marked as completed are not archived. Tasks that are assigned to others are archived only if the status is completed.
    Note: The last modified date and time.
    Journal entry: The date when the journal entry is created or the last modified date and time, whichever is later.
    Contact: Not archived.

    After you apply the following update, you can configure the ArchiveIgnoreLastMod…After you apply the following update, you can configure the ArchiveIgnoreLastModifiedTime registry value to make Outlook archive items based on a date that is specific for the item type.

    2458611 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2458611/ ) Description of the Office Outlook 2007 hotfix package (Outlook-x-none.msp): December 14, 2010

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2500686

    Alan Guggenheim

  47. cmo999

    I was having the same problem as many of the users who posted on this forum: I had all the AutoArchive settings set correctly, yet all it did was create the folders, it did not move any E-Mail items into the folders. The solution that worked for me, was posted here: I removed the update for Outlook Express, and then it worked. You would think that by now they would have discovered this bug with the update?

  48. gg48gg

    This is absolutely ridiculous, Microsoft is really aggravating me recently. I also just found out that windows 7 cannot resotre a backup to a smaller disk than the original, even if it is big enough to hold the restored contents. Both of these issues are a)Really limiting b)broken c)will probably never be fixed by M$.

    Go to thunderbird and Linux people. I tell you, M$ is too aggravating.

  49. pathfinder

    KB2412171 is not among the updates listed on my computer. Any other suggestions? Archiving just does not function. Set archiving preference for each folder separately
    Another problem: I can’t open a pst file copied onto a DVD from a HP desktop computer using Outlook 2003. Although successfully copied when inserted and run in the DVD drive of a Sony laptop (Outlook 2007) I get the message: you don’t have the permission required to open….
    Any suggestions? It should work since pst is pst or am I wrong?
    Thanks

  50. Carrie

    Why doesn’t the autoarchive feature archive my in box? Only my sent box is being cleared out.

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