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How to Archive Outlook Data

Nowadays, email service providers can offer users pretty big mailboxes, but even large mailboxes can get filled up over time. It is never a good idea to have a big mailbox with lots of data. It puts extra strain on the mailbox, takes longer for it to sync everything, and issues with syncing can arise which can stop normal mailbox operation altogether. The best solution for mailbox upkeep is archiving data

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Archiving basically relocates your older Outlook data from your mailbox to a separate, locally stored .pst file. You can access this at any time in Outlook if you want to reference an old email or any other Outlook item. Outlook offers both manual and automatic archiving capabilities to archive any Outlook folder. 

How to manually archive Outlook data

Step 1. Launch Outlook and click the File button in the top left corner.

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Step 2. In the Account Information window, click the Tools button and select the Cleanup old items... option.

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Step 3. In the Archive window, you can select which mailbox (email account) to archive, select a specific folder like Inbox, or pick the entire mailbox to archive. In this tutorial, we will be selecting Inbox because it has the most data.

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Make sure you adjust the data settings to archive items that are older than the date that is set, and then pick a destination folder for your archive .pst file. After the settings have been adjusted, click the OK button to start the archiving process.

Step 4. You can now get back to the main Outlook window and monitor the archiving progress in the status bar by the bottom of Outlook. If there is a lot of data to archive, this process may take up to several hours depending on the performance of your machine. Once the archiving process is complete, the status will disappear.

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You will also notice the Archive folder pane on the left side of Outlook where old Inbox emails have been saved. You will be able to access all your old data here once the archive process is complete.

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How to automatically archive Outlook data

Step 1. Launch the Outlook application and click the File button in the top left corner.

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Step 2. Click on the Options menu.

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Step 3. In the Outlook Options window, select the Advanced tab on the left.

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Step 4. In the Advanced tab, locate the AutoArchive section and click the AutoArchive Settings... button.

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Step 5. In the AutoArchive window, click on the Run AutoArchive checkbox to enable its settings. You can adjust the archiving frequency, set the clean-out date options and adjust the destination folder if needed.

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Once set, these settings will be applied globally to any folder you enable auto-archive settings for.

Step 6. Go back to the main Outlook window and pick a folder you want to auto-archive. Right-click on it and go to Properties.

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Step 7. In the folder properties window, go to the AutoArchive tab.

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Step 8. In the AutoArchive tab, select the button to Archive items in this folder using the default settings. This will apply the global settings that you set previously. Alternatively, you can adjust separate settings if you need.

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Tips: 

  • Make sure to always archive big folders in your mailbox so that your email account will have less data to sync. This will definitely improve the performance of the mailbox and the overall performance of Outlook.
  • In case you need to transfer your archived data to a new computer or restore something from it, your archive .pst data files can be accessed on any machine where Outlook is installed.

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