How to automatically move or delete older items with AutoArchive

Your ACCC Microsoft Exchange mailbox grows as you create and receive items. To manage the space in your mailbox or on the mail server you are using, you can move old items that are important, but rarely used, to an archive location. This storage process occurs automatically with AutoArchive, but you can customize most of the default settings.

Note: The AutoArchive feature is removed from any Outlook profile that contains a Microsoft Exchange account with retention policies.

Review or change the default AutoArchive settings

AutoArchive moves items from their original location in Outlook to an archive file folder when they expire, that is, when they pass their aging period. You can also set options for items to be deleted when they expire.

Items are stored in their archived locations unless you change one or more AutoArchive settings, or choose to have the items automatically deleted when they expire. If the setting is to Delete expired items, those items are not archived but are deleted permanently. Items can be automatically deleted only before they are moved to their archive location. Items that are already archived can only be deleted manually.

The different kinds of Outlook items, such as messages, appointments, and tasks, have different aging periods. These default aging periods do not change unless you change the settings for them manually. The default aging periods for Outlook items are as follows:

FOLDER AGING PERIOD
Inbox and Drafts 6 months
Sent Items and Deleted Items 2 months
Outbox 3 months
Calendar 6 months
Tasks 6 months
Notes 6 months
Journal 6 months
Contacts Do not expire

Note: Folders you create that contain the same type of items as Inbox, Calendar, Tasks, Notes, or Journal have the same default, six-month aging period.

The point at which an item begins to age is determined by its type:

ITEM TYPE WHEN THE AGING PERIOD STARTS
E-mail message The received date/time or when you last changed and saved the message, whichever is later.
Meeting, event, or appointment The date when you last changed and saved the item, whichever is later. Recurring items are not AutoArchived.
Task The completion date or when you last changed and saved the task. Tasks that are not marked complete are not AutoArchived. Tasks assigned to other people are archived only if marked complete.
Note When you last changed and saved the note.
Journal entry The date the Journal entry was created or when you last changed and saved the entry.
Contact Contacts are not archived by default. However, you can manually archive them.

The first time that you run Outlook, AutoArchive is turned on by default and runs every 14 days. You can change how often AutoArchive runs, specify the Outlook data file (.pst) used to store archived items, and choose when items in your Outlook folders are subject to being archived.

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Under AutoArchive, click AutoArchive Settings.
  5. Select the Run AutoArchive every n days check box, and then specify how often to run AutoArchive.
  6. Select any other options that you want. You can choose to have old items deleted automatically at AutoArchive.

Things to note:

  • If you change the archive file listed under Move old items to, this new file will be used each time that AutoArchive runs.
  • Set the default folder options first, and then customize individual folder settings. Otherwise, you may unintentionally change the default settings.
  • Moves items from their original location, generally one of your active folders, to an archive folder.

Where do my items go?

The archive file is a type of Outlook Data File (.pst). The first time AutoArchive runs, the archive file is automatically created. Where the file is created depends on the operating system running on your computer.

  • Windows 7 - C:\Users\YourUserName\Documents\Outlook Files\archive.pst
  • Windows Vista - C:\Users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\Archive.pst
  • Windows XP - C:\Documents and Settings\YourUserName \Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Archive.pst

I can't find the folders listed in this article

Some of the folders might be hidden folders. To display hidden folders in Windows, do the following:

  • Click the Start button, and then click Control Panel.
  • Click Folder Options.

To locate Folder Options, in the search box at the top of window, type Folder Options. In Control Panel for Windows XP, type Folder Options in the Address box.

  • On the View tab, in the Advanced settings list, under Files and Folders, under Hidden files and folders, select Show hidden files, folders and drives.
  • Permanently deletes items that have passed their aging periods.

Note: If you choose to have items deleted, they are not archived. If you choose to have items archived, they cannot be deleted by an AutoArchive. Once items are archived, they can only be deleted manually.

Automatically move or delete older items with AutoArchive

AutoArchive moves items from their original location in Outlook to an archive file folder when they expire, that is, when they pass their aging period. You can also set options for items to be deleted when they expire.

Items are stored in their archived locations unless you change one or more AutoArchive settings, or choose to have the items automatically deleted when they expire. If the setting is to Delete expired items, those items are not archived but are deleted permanently. Items can be automatically deleted only before they are moved to their archive location. Items that are already archived can only be deleted manually.

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Advanced.
  4. Under AutoArchive, click AutoArchive Settings.
  5. Select the Run AutoArchive every n days check box, and then specify how often to run AutoArchive.
  6. Select any other options that you want. You can choose to have old items deleted automatically at AutoArchive.

If you change the archive file listed under Move old items to, this new file will be used each time that AutoArchive runs. Set the default folder options first, and then customize individual folder settings. Otherwise, you may unintentionally change the default settings.

Change the AutoArchive settings for an individual folder

  1. In the folder list in the N, right-click the folder that you want to change, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu.
  2. On the AutoArchive tab, select the options that you want.

AutoArchive settings and options

See the following descriptions for the settings and options that you can apply when customizing AutoArchive.

AutoArchive settings dialog box

  • Run AutoArchive every n days Choose how often AutoArchive runs. Archiving many items at the same time might slow your computer's performance. Therefore, it is better to use AutoArchive more frequently to reduce the number of items processed.
  • To turn off the AutoArchive feature, clear the Run AutoArchive every n days check box.
  • Prompt before AutoArchive runs Choose whether you want a reminder message to appear before AutoArchive processes your Outlook items. When prompts appear, you can click No on the reminder message to cancel that AutoArchive session.
  • Delete expired items (e-mail folders only) This option is off by default. Select this check box to delete messages after their aging period has passed.
  • Archive or delete old items Choose this option if you want to set or change the settings that follow. If this check box is cleared, AutoArchive runs using default settings.
  • Show archive folder in folder list Select this check box to have the Archive folder listed with your other working folders in the Navigation Pane. If you do not use this option, you can still open your archive folder — click the File tab, then on the Open tab, click Open Outlook Data File.
  • Clean out items older than Specify the age at which you want items to be archived, in days, weeks, or months. You can configure a period of one day up to a maximum of 60 months.
  • Move old items to Select this check box to archive old items instead of automatically delete them. The default folder appears in the box. To use a different folder, enter the folder location in the box or click Browse. Selecting this option clears selection of the Permanently delete items option.
  • Permanently delete items This option deletes any expired items. They are not moved and no archive copy is kept. Selecting this option clears selection of the Move old items to option.

Apply these settings to all folders now This option applies the AutoArchive settings, including your changes, to all folders. To specify unique settings for one or more folders, do not choose this option. Instead, right-click the folder, click Properties and then go to the AutoArchive tab to change settings for each folder that you want to change.

Change the AutoArchive settings for an individual folder

  1. In the folder list in the Navigation Pane, right-click the folder that you want to change, and then click Properties on the shortcut menu.
  2. On the AutoArchive tab, select the options that you want.

 

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Last updated: 

January 24, 2013

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