How does Outlook archiving work?

Posted on 2006-05-31
Last Modified: 2010-04-08
We have a two computer home network.

Both of our PST files are to big to conveniently backup to an internet backup site over our relatively slow connection. (We have to store old email coorespondence for our biz.)

So I want to shrink each of our pst files.

I just manually archived email older than six months. And I can see the older email in the Archive folder in Outlook. But I can also still see it all in my Inbox sub folders... implying that I haven't done anything to help my pst file size prob.

When I set the manual archive procedure... I saw a setting that looked like it would delete old email but did not check it prior to running the archive procedure because I was concerned I'd loose stuff.

What to do next? --  do I run archive a second time... this time with delete option checked? (Hopefully this will delete from my inbox and subfolders but I'll find it all in my archive file.)

And in general is archiving the best procedure to shrink a pst file... (in addition to "compacting" it... which I did. This cut the pst file size in half.)

One more question... it looked like I previously had auto archive set to run automatically but it hadn't ever run. Is there some trick to getting auto-archive to do it's thing.

And given my goal to minimize the pst file size... are there any other techniques I should use? (I do delete old email from my sent and deleted email folders.)

Question by:JeffIngman
    LVL 17

    Expert Comment

    What is your Outlook version please?

    In general, Archiving will shift the emails from the current pst to a different pst. It should not keep a copy of the archived email within the current pst. Also note that archive settings can be set at folder level but this can be ignored if you try to archive Personal Folders completely.

    Author Comment

    We have Outlook 2003

    Upon further investigation I see my comments above are not correct. Turns out that the archive apparently did transfer some of the old email to the archive folder... but not all.... and I can't figure out why. I checked the last modified date and it looks like all my email prior to Feb has a "none" in the last modified date. This is probably due to the fact I had a hard drive crash and had to restore my pst file at that point.

    In any event I now have the mystery of why archive moves some of my old email but not all.

    Any clues?
    LVL 17

    Accepted Solution

    Archiving works on the basis of a date. No date means no archiving. You can manually drag and drop the contents of your personal folders (the messages that did not get archived) after opening the Archive folder in Outlook.

    Just in case I would advise you to do a complete export of the emails in outlook to a separate pst file. This will create a copy of the pst that you use and should be stored as a backup. Archiving clears the data or rather moves it allowing you more space for new emails and keeps the pst file size in check. The backup which you get is for Damage Control purposes.

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