Configuring Outlook Archives & Auto-Archive the correct way

I’m always getting yelled at for setting up Auto-Archive the wrong way, it’s not because I don’t know how to do it, and it’s not that the items that I set out to archive don’t go where they are supposed to, it’s that the NEXT time any archive is run, Outlook chooses to use a new file, in the default location. This may be fine for you, but most admins prefer that these archives be stored on a share, or somewhere else that’s easy to back up.

And this is where you say, well use a GPO. The problem with that is a lot of the time not every user will want the same settings, or same location for their archive, and some users are really good at keeping their inbox clean, so why force them to archive old items?

Figure 1

Anyway here is the long and short of getting Outlook to archive items to a manually created Archive file on a network share, and getting it to continue to use that same archive file for future archives:

  1. Open Outlook and Right-Click on any folder in your Inbox and select “Properties” from the menu.
  2. Click the “AutoArchive Tab”.
  3. Change your selection to “Archive items in this folder using the default settings” and then click the button for “Default Archive Settings”. See Figure 1.
  4. Configure Outlook’s default settings and file location based on your preference. ┬áSee Figure 2. When done, click the “OK” button in the AutoArchive window.
  5. Click CANCEL on the original window, so that these settings are not applied to any or all of your outlook inbox folders. Now you can either configure thesettings on the proper folders, or run a one time archive from the file menu, and

    Figure 2

    be certain that the archived mail will go to the correct location

    Using this method the chances of a user ending up with 15 archive files, located on both network and local storage are minimized, however, if you want to make sure that archived mail is never lost, you should use a GPO and control where mail is stored and when it’s archived using policy.

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