Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Archiving emails in Outlook

I want to share something I learned over the weekend about archiving emails in Outlook.

On Thursday, I decided to archive my emails in Outlook — something I haven't really done before. I let it run all day before finally canceling it so that I could turn off my computer.

On Friday, I discovered to my horror that emails were missing from my Outlook! That's how I discovered that archived emails are no longer actually available in Outlook 2000. (I don't know if it's different in newer versions of Outlook; it may very well be.)

Friday night, I used Mozy (thank heavens for online backup!) to restore my Outlook files, which thankfully hadn't been backed up since the day before I rashly decided to archive my old emails. Saturday I spent organizing my Outlook, filing emails (something I hadn't done in a while), and archiving individually the email folders that I don't use anymore.

So this is what I learned about archiving emails in Outlook. If it's something you use frequently, don't archive it. If it's not something you anticipate needing, archive it in smaller, identifiable files, rather than one big "archive.pst" file.

Example: I have a separate inbox folder for each of my clients. Each client gets their own archive file, so that they are smaller and more manageable, not to mention easy to locate. If I need to restore emails, I just have to deal with a few MB of information, rather than 1.5 GB.

I am also not archiving recent emails for ongoing clients (i.e. emails I might still need to reference). All of my old clients are getting archived; and with my bigger, more steady clients, everything except for the last six or 12 months of emails got archived.

This took a lot of time — half my weekend, actually — but now that my personal folder .pst file is cut almost in half, Outlook is behaving itself much better than before!

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