If you haven’t used Archiving in Outlook before, give it a try. It’s sure to help keep things clean and move old, unused email items out of your Primary Mailbox/.PST file.
Since the beginning of Outlook, Microsoft has always included the Archive and AutoArchive features, and Outlook 2010 is no exception. The AutoArchive feature automatically moves or deletes the older emails from your Primary Mailbox into an Archive Data File stored on your local hard drive. These files are called .PST files. In the past, when Outlook .PST files had a 2 GIG limit, the Archive feature was much more important as it archived older emails out of your Primary .PST file and into an Archive.pst file. That being said, even though .PST files in Outlook 2010 have a 20 Gig limit, it’s still a good idea to let it manage your older email to keep your .PST files small and system performance up.
What Does the AutoArchive Feature Do?
AutoArchive reduces mailbox size by deleting or moving old items to an archive data file or .PST. The process works pretty much the same whether you’re using Microsoft Exchange at work or IMAP or POP from a home or small business setup. It’s essentially just like taking a few stacks of paper off your desk and placing them in an organized quick-access file cabinet or .PST file, as mentioned above. This process is different from exporting in two ways. Exporting will allow you to move the emails into multiple different external formats, whereas Archiving only lets you move the older emails to a .pst file or delete the email entirely. Archiving also allows easier access to old emails since there is a tab in the Outlook navigation pane. Of course, you can also set up AutoArchive to delete your old mail as well.
How To Enable Default AutoArchive For All Outlook 2010 Folders
1. In Microsoft Outlook and click the File menu and select Options.
2. In the Options menu, click the Advanced tab and then click the AutoArchive Settings button.
3. Click the checkbox for Run AutoArchive every  Days. From here, you can further customize the AutoArchive settings for Outlook 2010; however, by default, once enabled, AutoArchive will move (not delete) all mail older than six months into an Archive.pst file. I suggest you keep the Prompt before AutoArchive runs checked so that you’ll be alerted whenever an archive happens. You would be surprised how often people ask me about missing messages. Normally it’s an AutoArchive function. Once you have the settings where you like them, click Apply these settings to all folders now.
If you followed the above steps, AutoArchive enables all of your Outlook messages. If there is a folder you wanted to exclude from AutoArchive, or if you only want it to apply to a few folders, we can do that too. Outlook 2010 allows you to customize the AutoArchive settings for each folder; here’s how.
Change AutoArchive Settings For Single Outlook 2010 Folders
4. In Outlook, look in the left-side navigation pane. From there, right-click any folder and select Properties to set its AutoArchive policy.
5. In the Inbox Properties window that appears, click the AutoArchive tab. Here you can customize the AutoArchive settings for this folder or even disable AutoArchive for it entirely.
Alright, now we know how to AutoArchive individual folders. But what if you don’t want to use AutoArchive at all? If you aren’t a fan of the automatic feature, you can still use Archiving by using the manual process.
How to Manually Archive Items
6. In Outlook, click the File > Info menu tab and select Cleanup Tools > Archive.
7. In the Archive dialog that appears, select which Folders you want to Archive. This process is nearly the same as AutoArchive, except it’s a one-time deal. Something different is that you can even override the “Do not AutoArchive” property if you’ve applied that to some folders, but that is optional.
Where Are Outlook Archived Items Located?
8. In Outlook, you can access archived items from the Archive folder in the left-side email navigation pane.
9. You can also access archives from the Outlook .pst file where they store. You can get there by clicking the File > Open menu tab and select Open Outlook Data File.
10. By default, the Outlook archive .pst file location is:
If you haven’t used Archiving in Outlook before, give it a try. It’s sure to help keep things clean and move old, unused email items out of your Primary Mailbox/.PST file. It’s also a nice way to keep the .PST file size under control. And that will help with system performance!