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Home / Tips and Tricks / What is AutoArchive in Outlook and how does it work?

What is AutoArchive in Outlook and how does it work?



If you used the Mailbox Cleanup Tool, you saw the AutoArchive button, but you may be wary of how it works and what it does. Here's how it works and how to use it:

When you click the AutoArchive button, a process goes through all the folders in Outlook and applies any auto-archive rules you set (do not worry, default) AutoArchive rule is to do nothing that you can not do any damage by clicking the button. However, if you want to move older objects to an archive where they are not available, you can automate the process with AutoArchive. Let's set up and run the setup.

Enabling AutoArchive

First, you must enable AutoArchive and select its settings. Go to "File"> "Options"> "Advanced" and click the "AutoArchive Settings" button.

If AutoArchive Execute All option is disabled (this is the default), AutoArchive will never execute

If you enable the "Run all AutoArchive" option , all options are now available.

Unlike "Folder Cleanup," which displays a window with settings file options. You can then make these settings for any folder as a manual task. The AutoArchive settings shown here are the default settings. Any folder that has Autoarchive enabled can use these default settings, or you can use other settings for other folders if you want. We'll go over that later, but let's look at the default settings first.

Setting up AutoArchive

Once AutoArchive is activated, it will run every 14 days. You can change this using the up and down arrows or by entering a number. You can choose any value between 1 and 60 days. You can enter any two-digit number, but if it is more than 60, Outlook displays an error message when you click OK, and you must change the value before you can save.

The next option – Query Before AutoArchive – gives you the choice that Outlook displays a prompt before AutoArchive takes place. With this prompt, you can check the settings or cancel this run of the AutoArchive, if you want.

The remaining settings refer to which items are archived and what happens during the archive process. The first option here – "Delete expired items (e-mail folders only)" – refers to emails that have an expiration date added. This does not affect tasks or events, even if you enable AutoArchive for these folders.

The remaining settings apply to all items, not just emails. This means calendar events, tasks, notes and journal entries.

If you leave Archiving or Delete Old Objects turned on, by default, items older than 6 months will be moved to a new, separate .pst file in Outlook Archive (by default) and make it visible in the navigation pane in Outlook so you can always access the archived items. You can change the value for "purge older items as" to a value between 1 day and 60 months, select a different .pst file to archive the items, or choose "Permanently delete old items."

Be forewarned Deleting bypasses the Deleted Items folder and deletes your items completely from Outlook. Depending on your settings, you may still be able to access them on your mail server, but you should not rely on them. Select this option only if you want to permanently delete the items.

Clicking OK activates AutoArchive. It will run in accordance with your chosen "AutoArchive All" value (by default, every 14 days) as of today. Once you turn it on, you should expect it to run pretty fast. In our tests, it took less than ten minutes between power up and the prompt to start AutoArchive. AutoArchive is by default only running on some folders, so if you want it to run on specific folders, or if you want to customize it for different folders, read on.

Enabling and Customizing AutoArchive for Different Folders [19659004] When you enable AutoArchive, it will only run by default for the following folders:

  • Sent Items
  • Deleted Items
  • Calendar
  • Tasks [19659021] If you want it to run in a different folder, you must enable it for each folder (or disable it for each of the four folders in which it will not run). To do this, right-click on the folder in the navigation area and click on "Properties".

    You can also access the folder properties by choosing Folder> Folder Properties from the ribbon. (For folders such as Calendar and Tasks that are not displayed in the navigation pane, this is the only way to access the folder properties.) There is also the option to go directly to the AutoArchive settings, which will save you a step as soon as you do in the folder properties.

    In the Folder Properties window, click the AutoArchive tab to access the settings for this folder.

    For most folders, the option "No archive items in this folder will be enabled by default, which means the folder will be ignored when running the auto-archive process and no items will be archived." If the folder is included check the option "Archive items in this folder with the default settings."

    If you want the AutoArchive settings for this folder to be different from the default settings, enable "Archive" and change this folder with these settings The settings to your liking.

    If you want to use all the default settings folders again at any time, you can go back to File> Options> Advanced> AutoArchive Settings and the Apply these settings to all folders the "Archive this folder with these settings" check box is checked so "Archive Items in This Folder Using Default Settings" is checked instead.

    Once you have the AutoArchive defaults and settings for each folder can be set to your liking.You can keep the process quiet in the background, freeing up disk space for you and preventing your folders from becoming bloated.


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