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How to Automatically Delete Old Emails From Outlook Using Archiving

Most of us receive hundreds of emails daily clogging up our mailboxes. It could be junkmails or legitimate ones, either way it can be frustrating, especially if you have a size limitation for your mailbox. In the following article we will look at how we can clean up mailbox using AutoArchive function in Outlook. The article also explains how different AutoArchive settings can be done for each folders, for e.g. delete all emails older than 1 month from Inbox, but delete emails that are older than 6 months only from the Sent Items.

Cleaning up your Inbox using Outlook AutoArchive Function (Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010)

First, we need to configure the global settings for AutoArchiving in Outlook. Let’s see how it can be done in Outlook 2010.

Step 1: Ensure Outlook is running. Click on File >> Options

Step 2: Click on Advanced >> Scroll down and look for AutoArchive Settings…

Step 3: Tick “Run AutoArchive every” and set the number of days you want the AutoArchive to run automatically. Then, also tick “Prompt before AutoArchive runs” so that you are alerted when it runs.

Step 4: You can have various other configurations here, according to your requirements. For e.g. If you want to delete all expired items from email folders, tick “Delete expired items (e-mail folders only)” option.

Additional Information on ‘Delete expired items (e-mail folders only):

Note that ‘expired items’ means, items in Inbox, Sent Items, Drafts, etc. which have reached their aging period. The following table shows the default aging periods for various items in Outlook;

Inbox and Drafts 6 months
Sent Items and Deleted Items 2 months
Outbox 3 months
Calendar 6 months
Tasks 6 months
Notes 6 months
Journal 6 months
Contacts Do not expire


The age of an item is determined by its type. For e.g. the age of an email message is different from the age of an item in Tasks. The following table shows when aging starts for each Outlook items;

E-mail message The received date/time or when you last changed and saved the message, whichever is later.
Meeting, event, or appointment The date when you last changed and saved the item, whichever is later. Recurring items are not AutoArchived.
Task The completion date or when you last changed and saved the task. Tasks that are not marked complete are not AutoArchived. Tasks assigned to other people are archived only if marked complete.
Note When you last changed and saved the note.
Journal entry The date the Journal entry was created or when you last changed and saved the entry.
Contact Contacts are not archived by default. However, you can manually archive them.


Step 5: Tick the “Archive or delete old items” >> Choose whether you want to permanently delete old items or you want them to be auto archived in a specified PST file.

Step 6: (Optional) You can apply the settings you’ve just done on all folders by clicking the “Apply these settings to all folders now” button. Do this only if you want to run the archiving now.

Step 7: Click Ok.

Outlook 2010 Screenshot:

Outlook 2007 Screenshot:

(Click on Tools >> Options >> Click on Other tab >> AutoArchive)

Now you have completed configuring the Global AutoArchive settings.

Applying Different AutoArchive Settings for Each Folders

If you want to have different Archive settings for different folders, for e.g. you want to clear all emails older than 1 month from Inbox but you want to leave all emails for the past 6 months in your Sent Items, this can be done by following the steps below.

Step 1: Right click on the folder you like to configure a different AutoArchive settings than Global AutoArchive settings >> Properties

Step 2: In the new window, click on AutoArchive tab

Step 3: If you do not want the selected folder to be AutoArchived, select “Do not archive items in this folder” option. Else, configure AutoArchive settings according to your requirements by selecting “Archive this folder using these settings:”

Outlook 2010 Screenshot:

Outlook 2007 Screenshot:

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