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Manage your mailbox II: Understand your choices for long-term saving

Archive dialog box, Archive folders on computer mirroring folders in Mailbox

We've discussed some of the benefits and drawbacks of local storage. Now it's time to discuss the methods. We'll start with Archive. The great thing about the Archive method (also called AutoArchive) is that to use it you don't have to do anything except click Yes.

In a typical installation of Outlook, AutoArchive is on by default. (We show you how to change the default settings in the fourth course in this series.) That means that once you give Outlook the go-ahead by clicking Yes in the "Would you like to AutoArchive your old items now?" message, AutoArchive just does its thing.

As the message implies, AutoArchive moves messages based on how old they are. It does this regularly (for example, every 14 days) as long as you say yes.

Here's an overview of what happens:

Callout 1 To start the process you click Yes.
Callout 2 Messages are moved from your Mailbox…
Callout 3 …to a folder named Archive Folders.

Outlook creates this folder for you.

Any subfolders in your Mailbox are automatically mirrored in the Archive Folders folder, and messages are moved to those subfolders according to where you filed them in your Mailbox. That is, Archive takes your existing organization and mimics it in the Archive Folders folder. In the picture, you can see that the folders Alpine Ski House and Contoso appear in Archive Folders just as they are in the Mailbox.

Again, Outlook does all of this work for you.

Are you noticing a trend with Archive? Outlook does much of the work for you. If you're the kind of person who just wants things tidied up and you aren't particular about how it's done, Archive could be a good method for you. So how does this compare with Personal Folders? That's what's we'll discuss next.

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