Outlook has an archiving function that copies or moves older mails, calendar entries and tasks to a second PST file at freely selectable intervals. We’ll show you how to activate auto archiving.
Outlook: Configure and use auto archiving
Outlook saves mails, calendar entries, addresses etc. in a PST file on your computer. This file can become enormous over time, especially if you receive or send a lot of messages with large attachments. If this file is only available in one version, it represents a high security risk – if it is accidentally deleted or damaged, all mails are gone.
To prevent this from happening, Outlook offers you an archiving function. This copies or moves older mails, calendar entries and tasks to a second PST file that you can create in any folder at freely selectable intervals. We recommend that you create the archive on a network share, on a NAS device or on an externally connected drive in order to back it up.
You can set the archiving options for each Outlook mail folder separately and also determine the backup interval.
To activate the auto archiving, click in the window “File -> Options -> Advanced” on the button “Settings for auto archiving”. After you have ticked “Auto archiving every XX days”, the various options are available. By ticking the “Start auto-archiving after confirmation” checkbox, you prevent Outlook from moving the data when it is not convenient for you or while the backup destination is not available. The option “Delete expired items (mail folder only)” controls whether expired mails should also be archived (you can define an expiration date for each mail via “File -> Properties”, which is queried by this option). If you now deactivate the next option “Archive or delete old items”, Outlook will carry out the auto-archiving with the standard settings that you see when you first open this window. Further down, you finally have the choice between “Move old elements to” by specifying a folder and “Permanently delete old elements”. The first option means that older mails and calendar entries are also transferred to the archive, the second that the data is deleted.
You can set the archiving options for each Outlook mail folder separately and also determine when old items should be deleted.
You can also archive your mailbox manually. To do this, click on “File -› Tools – ›Clean up old elements”. It is also possible to exclude individual mail folders from archiving. To do this, right-click on it and select “Properties”. Now switch to the “Auto archiving” tab and activate the desired options.
Note: If you primarily use IMAP or Microsoft 365 accounts, you will find an OST file on your system instead of a PST file. A PST file contains the actual data from all the mails in your Outlook mailbox. OST files, on the other hand, are just a local copy of your Outlook data. The original file of the data is then saved on the Outlook server. In the event that an OST file should be damaged, it can be completely restored on the cloud. However, the archiving trick also works for OST files. You can find more information about PST and OST files here.
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