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Manage your mailbox IV: Archive old messages

Right-click menu for folder, Properties command, AutoArchive tab for folder properties dialog box

You don't have to do anything, but if you'd rather customize your archiving, Outlook makes it easy to take control. You can archive different folders at different rates — or not at all. You can set up archiving rules on a folder-by-folder basis. You can also exclude entire folders from the process. It's your choice.

You start by right-clicking the folder, clicking Properties, and specifying your custom settings. (We've shown this in the picture.)

For example, maybe you're working on a special project. Messages for that project are stored in a folder called Contoso. At archive time, messages that you save there should be archived when they are two months old (rather than at the standard six-month setting). And maybe you have a different folder, for personal correspondence, named Family, in which messages should be archived once those messages reach a maturity date of one year.

Once you choose these settings, AutoArchive will just happen. That's what makes it so easy. Still, do remember to do periodic tune-ups. As you add folders, you'll want to adjust their AutoArchive settings.

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