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Hyder Abbass

Windows 11 2k

Microsoft Outlook has always been an essential tool for me to manage my emails. If you are like me,  you will probably notice that Outlook might become a bit sluggish with regular use. This is not unusual – emails have the bad habit of rapidly clogging our inbox and end up taking a considerable place on our hard disk.

This in turn make Microsoft Oulook slower to open or takes a significant amount of time to search for an email you just sent recently. Sure, you can always delete your old emails from your inbox to keep things running smoothly, but sometimes you might want to keep your old emails. You never know when you might need to sift through them again. That’s where the archiving email feature comes to the rescue!

See also: Dump Outlook and use the native Mail app in Windows 8

Archive emails in Outlook 2013

You probably already know that all your emails in Outlook are stored in a special file called Outlook Data file with the extension .PST. When you archive your emails, they are not copied but MOVED to a separate, compressed .pst file (normally called archive.pst). By using the archiving feature in Outlook 2013, you are not only archiving your emails but nearly all other items such as your calendar and task data.

There are two main approaches in archiving data in Outlook 2013. You can configure it to archive your emails automatically using the AutoArchive feature, or if you want more flexibility like, for example, choosing which folder exactly to archive, you can do it manually. You may choose to use either or both methods to archive your emails.

Setting up Auto Archive

The AutoArchive feature is disabled by default in Outlook 2013. However, chances are that if you are using Microsoft Outlook 2013 at work, it might have already been enabled for you. In order to set up Outlook 2013 to archive your items automatically or change the way how it does the job for you, follow the steps below:

  • Open your Outlook and click on File tab at the top.

  • Auto archive set up in Outlook 2013
  • Click on Options in the left pane to open the Outlook Options window.

  • Outlook 2013 archive options
  • On the left-hand side pane, click on Advanced and under the label AutoArchive, click the AutoArchive Settings button. The AutoArchive dialog box appears.

  • AutoArchive feature in Outlook options window
  • While that window contains lots of check boxes, it might look scary at first and makes you want to close it as soon as possible. Fear not, this screen boils down to three tidbits as follows:

    1. It tells you whether the AutoArchive feature is on.
    2. How often Outlook should archive your emails.
    3. How old an email needs to be in order to be qualified for archiving.

    Autoarchive email outlook 2013

  • To enable AutoArchive, check the option Run AutoArchive every ..[]. By default, Microsoft Outlook 2013 will run an archiving check every 14 days, and if it finds email older than six months, it will automatically be removed from your inbox and places it in a separate file(archive.pst).

While these default options should be fine for most people, feel free to change it according to your needs.

Manually archive emails

In situations where you see that outlook is running slower than normal, it is a good idea to archive your emails manually. Manual archiving also have slightly more flexibility as compared to auto-archiving. For example:

  • You can specify a cutoff date to archive your emails. For example, you can choose to archive all emails received before a specific date.
  • You can archive different folders such as your inbox, sent items in a separate archive file. The advantage here over auto-archiving is that instead of having one huge archive.pst file, you can split your archived file and name them differently such as archive_inbox.pst, archive_sent_items.pst etc.

To perform a manual archive of your emails, follow these steps:

  • Click on the File tab in the ribbon menu at the top and choose Info in the left pane.

  • File Info in Outlook 2013
  • Click on the Cleanup Tools and pick up Archive..  from the list.
  • Manual archive email outlook 2013

  • From the Archive window, choose which folder you want to archive and pick up a cutoff date. By default, it will archive items older than three months. Feel free to change it according to your needs. Optionally, you can also change the default name and location of the archived file.
  • Manual archive email outlook 2013


    Searching email in archive

    As soon as Outlook archive your emails, you will see a new label called Archives in the left page of your HOME tab. Depending on what you have chosen to archive, you should see the corresponding folder (Inbox, Sent Items, etc.)  under this label.

    Archived items location in Outlook 2013

    In case you cannot find the Archive section in Outlook, you probably need to import your archive.pst file first.

  • Click on File and then Open & Export option in the left pane.

  • Select Open Outlook Data File

  • Import an archive.pst file in Outlook 2013
  • Navigate to the directory where you have saved your archive.pst file. Normally, you can find this in %USERPROFILE%\Documents\Outlook Files folder. Once you have located your archive file, click Open.

Browse for archive.pst file location
You should now see all your archived emails within Outlook.


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Russell Smith's photo

Russell Smith

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

I read the resource but found tedious for me. However, I am non-technical user so interested to use advanced splitter methodology which is developed by third party vendors.
hayderabbass's photo


Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

I had the same issue with ex-job too!
hayderabbass's photo


Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

I'm glad you found this guide helpful :)
hayderabbass's photo


Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

Fareeda, yes definitely you can do this!
Fareeda's photo


Sunday, March 22nd, 2015

I had like to move my Outlook emails on a new computer. Will archiving my data and then import it on the new computer will work?
Mary's photo


Monday, March 16th, 2015

Noureza's photo


Monday, March 2nd, 2015

My company provides 250 MB of space to store our emails. The moment the limit is reached, we cannot receive more emails. I used to delete them manually in order to free up spaces until I stumble upon your post :) Thanks Hyder!
hayderabbass's photo


Monday, March 2nd, 2015

Hi Mary, Check the cut off date. It should be in the past. I have had this problem before.
hayderabbass's photo


Monday, March 2nd, 2015

My company provides 250 MB of space to store our emails. The moment the limit is reached, we cannot receive more emails. I used to delete them manually in order to free up spaces until I stumble upon your post :) Thanks Hyder!
Mary's photo


Monday, February 23rd, 2015

I have set up my auto archive in Outlook 2013 but It seems the total emails in my inbox remains the same. Any idea?
Sam's photo


Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Thanks for this tip Hyder. Actually, I have a PST file of over 20 GB. I have just archive each of my folders (inbox, sent items) separately as per your instruction and I can already feel a boost in performance when I open my Outlook :)