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How to find folder paths in Outlook mailboxes

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Configuring an Outlook.com account in Outlook

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How to start Outlook in safe mode

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How to use Scanpst.exe to repair Outlook data files

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Latest Tip

Archiving Last Year's Email

It’s a new year and many people like to start off with a clean mailbox.

I created a new pst in Outlook for 2015, making the 2014 PST an archive of sorts. I’ve been doing it this way for years, so I have some 16,000 messages stored on the server. How can I avoid downloading all of the messages again?

Because the Mailbox Manager file that Outlook uses to identify the last message downloaded is stored in the pst file, you can't do this easily.

If you don't mind re-downloading everything, you can create a rule to move older mail to a different folder (or to deleted items) to delete it, but my recommendation is to archive the old mail to a new pst and keep the old pst for new mail. This will avoid the need to download all 16K messages, it won't mess up the calendar or contacts, and you won't lose your views or rules.

The other option is to move the mail to another folder online (POP3 only downloads mail that is in the Inbox), or if your server supports it, configure the server to allow clients to download mail that is newer than a specific date (Gmail does).

Create a Rule

  1. Open the Rules Wizard and click New Rule
  2. Choose Apply Rule on Messages I Receive (at the bottom of the dialog).
  3. Choose the “received in a specific date span” condition.

    Set the conditions in the rule

  4. Click on “in a specific date span” to open the date selector.
  5. Choose Before and set the date to Jan 1 2015. Click OK, then Next.
    Set the date in the rule
  6. Choose Delete it as the Action.
  7. Complete the rule and save it.

    Finialize and save the rule

When you re-download existing messages, the messages older than this date will be deleted.

Archive Older Messages

The better solution is using Archive to move old messages to a new pst file. This will preserve your rules, custom views, and search folders as well as retain your folder structure.

  1. To run Archive manually, go to File, Clean Up Tools, and select Archive.

    Clean up dialog

  2. Choose Archive this folder and all subfolders.
  3. Select the root folder of your mailbox.

    Archive Now dialog

  4. Select the archive date.
  5. Click Browse, then type 2014 in the file name field. Outlook will create the pst if it doesn’t exist.
  6. Click OK to start archiving older mail.

By default, Outlook archives email based on the last modified date, not the received date. Marking a message as read or replying will change the last modified date. You can archive on the received date in Outlook 2010 or 2013 by setting a registry key. See
AutoArchiving by Received Date in Outlook
for more information and a ready to use registry file.

Published January 3, 2015. Last reviewed on January 3, 2015.