How to Run AutoArchive in Outlook 2013: A Step-by-Step Guide

AutoArchive in Outlook 2013 helps you manage the space in your mailbox by automatically moving older items to an archive location. To run AutoArchive, you’ll need to access the AutoArchive settings, specify the run frequency and older item criteria, and choose a location for the archived items.

After you complete the AutoArchive process, the items that meet the specified criteria will be moved from your main Outlook mailbox to the designated archive location, helping you keep your mailbox organized and within size limits.


Ever found yourself scrolling through an endless sea of emails, desperately trying to find that one important message from months ago? Or perhaps you’ve received that dreaded notification that your mailbox is almost full? If you’re an Outlook 2013 user, then AutoArchive is a feature you should get familiar with, pronto!

AutoArchive is Outlook’s nifty built-in tool designed to help you manage your mailbox size by automatically moving older emails and items to an archive location. Think of it as a personal assistant, diligently filing away the old stuff you might not need immediately but don’t want to toss away into the abyss just yet.

Why is this important, you ask? Well, for starters, keeping your mailbox size in check can prevent potential performance issues, ensure compliance with company email retention policies, and make it easier for you to navigate and find the emails you need without sifting through years’ worth of digital correspondence. This is especially relevant for professionals and businesses where email is a primary mode of communication. Plus, it’s always good to keep things tidy, right?

Step by Step Tutorial: Running AutoArchive in Outlook 2013

Before we dive into the steps, let’s clarify what we’re aiming to achieve here. Running AutoArchive will help you free up space in your mailbox by storing older items in an archive file, which you can still access when needed. Ready to get started? Let’s go!

Step 1: Access AutoArchive Settings

Open Outlook 2013 and click on ‘File’, then ‘Options’ and finally ‘Advanced’. Under the ‘AutoArchive’ section, click on ‘AutoArchive Settings…’

This step is your entry point into the world of archiving. The ‘AutoArchive Settings’ window is where you set the rules for how and when items should be archived.

Step 2: Specify AutoArchive Frequency

In the AutoArchive window, check ‘Run AutoArchive every’ and specify the number of days.

Deciding how often AutoArchive runs depends on how frequently you receive emails and how quickly you fill up your mailbox. Some might need it to run weekly, while others might be fine with a monthly schedule.

Step 3: Configure Older Item Criteria

Choose how old items should be before they’re archived by defining the time under ‘Clean out items older than’.

Think about what “old” means for you. If you rarely reference emails from more than six months ago, that might be a good starting point.

Step 4: Choose Archive File Location

Click on ‘Browse’ to select a location where your archived items will be saved. You can use the default archive file or create a new one.

Choosing the right location for your archive file is crucial. Make sure it’s somewhere safe and where you won’t accidentally delete it.

Step 5: Apply Additional Settings

Configure additional settings such as what to do with expired items, the archiving of specific folders, and the prompt before AutoArchive runs.

These settings give you control over the finer details of AutoArchive, allowing you to tailor it to your specific needs.


Manages Mailbox SizeRunning AutoArchive helps prevent your mailbox from becoming too large, which can slow down Outlook’s performance and make it harder to manage.
Customizable SettingsYou have the flexibility to set the frequency, age criteria, and location for your archived items, making AutoArchive adaptable to your preferences.
Easy Access to Archived ItemsArchived items are not deleted; they’re simply moved to another location. You can still access and search through them as needed.


Potential Data LossIf not handled properly, there’s a risk of losing important emails during the archiving process. Make sure to double-check your settings and the location of your archive file.
Archive File ManagementThe archive file (.pst) can become large over time and may require its own management strategy to ensure it doesn’t get too unwieldy.
AccessibilityIf your archive file is stored locally, you won’t be able to access your archived items from a different computer or when you’re not connected to your network.

Additional Information

Running AutoArchive in Outlook 2013 is a piece of cake once you get the hang of it. However, there are a few additional tips and tricks to keep in mind to make sure you’re archiving like a pro.

First off, consider backing up your archive file regularly. Just like any other important data, you don’t want to risk losing years’ worth of emails because of a hardware failure or accidental deletion.

Also, if you’re part of a larger organization, check with your IT department before fiddling with archive settings. There might be company policies in place dictating how email archiving should be handled.

Remember that AutoArchive is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Depending on the nature of your work, you might need to tweak the settings so that certain important emails aren’t archived too soon, or at all.

Lastly, be aware that running AutoArchive will not reduce your mailbox size if you’re using an Exchange Server and your administrator has implemented personal archive mailboxes. In this case, archiving is handled by the server, and you should consult your IT department for guidance.


  1. Access AutoArchive Settings from Outlook Options.
  2. Set the frequency for AutoArchive.
  3. Define the age criteria for archiving items.
  4. Select the location for the archive file.
  5. Configure additional AutoArchive settings as needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is AutoArchive?

AutoArchive is a feature in Outlook that helps manage mailbox size by automatically moving older emails and items to an archive file.

Can I access my archived emails?

Yes, archived emails are still accessible. They are just moved to a different location.

Will AutoArchive delete my emails?

No, AutoArchive moves emails; it doesn’t delete them. However, you can configure it to delete expired items.

How can I change the location of my archive file?

In the AutoArchive settings, click ‘Browse’ to select a new location for your archive file.

Can I run AutoArchive manually?

Yes, you can manually run AutoArchive by going to ‘File’, ‘Options’, ‘Advanced’, and clicking the ‘AutoArchive Settings…’ button, then ‘OK’.


Running AutoArchive in Outlook 2013 is a simple yet powerful way to keep your mailbox under control. By following the steps outlined in this article, you should now feel confident in setting up and managing your email archive. Remember, an organized inbox is a productive inbox. So, take the time to adjust your AutoArchive settings to suit your needs, and enjoy the sweet serenity of a clutter-free email experience. Happy archiving!

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