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  Outlook has been the favoutite mail client for the reson it is easy to use and ahs a rich featureset and well integrated with


It is a difficult task to maintain a mailbox which usually has a fixed mailbox size. Lets examine how we can automate the maintenance and moving of e-mails from mailbox folders to Personal folder using autoarchive.


The outlook Mailbox folders such as Inbox, sent items & Deleted items are the frequent and over utilized folders. It is not always possible to maintain all e-mails here in the mailbox. We will look in to a strategy on how to make this a easy process and free from manual interventions. The autoarchive is a great option  to maintain these. They can be configured to move or delete mails which are based how old they are


Outlook has been the favourite e-mail client for the reasons that  it is easy to use and has a rich features and is well integrated with other Microsoft applications. With the popular usage there is pretty considerable amount of support calls. The only way to reduce the support calls is by implementing a comprehensive maintenance plan


1. List of support calls that we can avoid by  implementing this comprehensive maintenance plan are

-         “I am getting warning messages that my mailbox is full or reaching the limit, what do I do?”

-         “ I am unable to send e-mails, it sits in outbox”

-         “A e-mail sender is stating that he is getting undeliverable messages when he sends e-mail to my mailbox”

-         “I am trying to send a e-mail and it states that my mailbox is full but I don’t find any e-mails in my Inbox which can eat up mailbox space”


2. Comprehensive mailbox maintenance plan are

1.      Configure an auto archive on Sent items

2.      Configure the option to empty the deleted items folder on exit

3.      Configure an auto archive on calendar  & tasks

4.      Optionally configure Mailbox Inbox for auto archive as per users requirement


Tip :To find the exact folder in mailbox which is eating up the space go the root of the mailbox and click Properties and click the folder size. This gives the space utilization statistic of each folder in the mailbox


Let us drill down to implement the comprehensive mailbox maintenance plan


Before you go to configure each Mailbox folder to auto archive, we need to set the main Auto archive properties so that it applies the same archive file to all the mailbox folders. It is a best practice to use the Personal Folder as the Auto archive file.


If you don’t have any personal Folder than create one by doing the below

Tools->services-> Add->Personal Folder

            Choose a file name and a location and click OK


Now just note down the path and the personal folder file name  by going to

Tools->Service->Personal folder properties and copy the path of the personal folder


The next step is to make this Personal folder as the Auto Archive  Folder.

Go to Tool -> Options->Other->Auto Archive

Paste the Personal folder Path to the Default Archive File box


1.      Configuring the  auto archive on Sent  items

-         Right click on the Mailbox Sent items folder and choose Properties

-         Click on the AutoArchive Tab,  Choose the options as shown below.

-         It is always good to move the e-mails From Mailbox Sent Items to Personal folder sent items. Usually this is the main reason why mailbox gets full because the user forgets to clean up the sent items after writing the mails


            There is one method through which user can stop maintaining sent messages in sent items folder.To do this go to

Tools->options->Preferences->E-Mail options and uncheck the option “Save copies of messages in sent items folder”

2.      Configure the option to  empty the deleted items folder on exit

-         It is a best practice to empty the deleted items immediately. To do this just go to Tools->Options and click the Empty the deleted items folder upon exiting

-         If users prefers to maintain deleted items for some time or would like to maintain permanently in personal folder than this is possible through Auto archive from the deleted items folder properties.To do this follow the below steps

-         Right click on the Mailbox Deleted Items folder and than choose  Properties

-          Choose the options as per user requirement in auto archive tab

-         The below is to delete e-mails permanently which are 1 week old.


-         The below is to Maintain the deleted e-mails in the personal folder deleted items folder permanently


3.      Configure an auto archive on calendar & Tasks

-         Right click on the Mailbox Calendar  or Tasks and than choose  Properties

-         On the AutoArchive Tab,  Choose the options as shown below.

-          It is always good to archive 6 months old  Appointments and meetings or tasks


Calendar Properties


Tasks Properties




4.      Optionally configure Mailbox Inbox for auto archive as per users requirement

-         Right click on the Mailbox Inbox  and than choose  Properties

-         Enter the number of days as per user requirement

-          It is always good to archive 7 days old  E-Mails

The flexibility of Auto archive

            The auto archive not only works on the Mailbox folders but also on Personal folders also. You can configure personal folder also. In scenarios where they would like to maintain e-mails for some time in mailbox and than in personal folder an than finally would like to delete permanently after a month. Below is the example.

-         It is possible to maintain  deleted items for some time in mailbox and than for some time in personal folder and finally can be deleted automatically  after a month from the personal folder. To do this just have to configure Auto archive properties on mailbox and personal Folder Deleted items folders appropriately


AutoArchive is cool option having provision  to set it on the Mailbox folders and Personal folders with the moving or deleting e-mails based on e-mails age. If you want to manage e-mails based on the content or e-mail addr than the rules wizard is also another option to consider.

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Copyright Stephen Bryant 2008