Archiving data allows you to store older messages in a location other than your Inbox and other mail folders. So, if you simply can’t delete messages, archiving is the next best thing.
With archiving, you get to keep your Inbox and folders at a manageable level and still retain access to older messages should you ever need them again.
In Outlook, the easiest thing to do is set up the AutoArchive. This way, you designate your archive options once and you don’t have to worry about it again – Outlook takes care of the rest.
Now, if you need more control over how and when your messages are archived, then you can take the manual archive route.
When Outlook archives messages, you can choose to archive entire folders. In that case, the archive process maintains your existing folder structure. This means, if you archive a folder, that folder is still in place in the archive folder.
And, archiving isn’t permanent. You can easily move archived items back to your Inbox and other folders should you decide it’s once again relevant.
A word of caution, though. Your individual company retention policy can override your AutoArchive settings. Your e-mail network administrator is the one to talk to about how long your company allows you to keep messages stored on the server.
By default, AutoArchive is already turned on and it runs automatically at scheduled intervals. And, AutoArchive can either permanently delete expired items (or items that have reached an expiration date) or send the expired items to an archive file.
Plus, you don’t even have to create the folder archived items are sent to – Outlook does that for you the first time AutoArchive runs.