This article describes the process of archiving your Outlook data. There are several ways to do that:
- How to archive your folders in Outlook
- Possible problems with archiving
- Difference between exporting and archiving
When you archive folders, you are moving the items from their existing folder into an archive type of personal folder file (PST).
By default, Outlook saves archived items in the following location:
- For Microsoft Windows Vista/7/8, Outlook 2007/2010/2013/2016: \Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\archive.pst
- For Microsoft Windows NT 4.0: \<windows>\Profiles\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\archive.pst
You can change the file name (archive.pst) and location so your Outlook items are archived in any other location of your choice.
The file archive.pst is just like any other file which means that it can be added to your Outlook client or removed from there.
Items are considered old enough to archive when they reach the age you specify.
Read the Knowledge Base article on What are offline folders? for more information.
To immediately archive a folder, use the following steps for your version of Outlook.
You can automatically archive individual folders, groups of folders or all Outlook folders. The process runs automatically whenever you start Outlook. The AutoArchive properties of each folder are checked by date and old items are moved to your archive file. Items in the Deleted Items folder are deleted.
Several Outlook folders are set up with AutoArchive turned on. These folders and their default aging periods are:
- Calendar (6 months)
- Tasks (6 months)
- Journal (6 months)
- Sent Items (2 months)
- Deleted Items (2 months)
- Inbox, Notes, Contacts, and Drafts do not have AutoArchive activated automatically.
In Microsoft Outlook, the default AutoArchive setting for the Deleted Items folder is to permanently delete old items. When you configure the Microsoft Office Outlook Archive settings to permanently delete all old items, an Archive.pst file is automatically created even if you did not specify one to be created.
- Go to the File tab on the Ribbon and choose Options. Choose the Advanced options group in the Outlook Options window.
- In the AutoArchive section, click the AutoArchive Settings button.
- Select the Run AutoArchive every checkbox, then type a number in the
daysbox to specify how often the AutoArchive process will run. Select the Prompt before AutoArchive checkbox, if you want to be notified before the items are archived.
- In the Move old items to box, type a file name for the archived items to be transferred to, or click Browse to select from a list.
- Click OK. Now that you have turned on AutoArchive, you must set AutoArchive properties for each folder.
To set AutoArchive properties for a folder:
Note that the Message Modification date is used by the AutoArchive feature to determine which messages are archived. When you archive a mail folder, Microsoft Outlook determines the message age from the Sent date/time, the Received date/time, or from the message's Modified date/time, whichever is later. Moving or copying the files is considered to be a modification.
To determine the latest modification date and time of a message:
- On the View menu, point to Current View and click Customize Current View.
- Click Fields and in the Select available fields from
list, click All Mail fields.
- Under Available Fields, click Modified, and then click Add to place the Modified field in the Show these fields in this order list.
- Click Move Up or Move Down to position the Modified field and click OK.
The modified date/time for each message now appears in the Messages view. This information should help you understand how messages are being archived.
Also, be noted that calendar events and appointments will be removed after running the archive for Calendar folder. The events will be stored in the archived PST file.