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Configure retention settings and AutoArchive in Outlook 2007

Office 2007

Updated: September 27, 2007

Applies To: Office Resource Kit

 

Topic Last Modified: 2007-09-19

In this article:

In Microsoft Office Outlook 2007, retention settings and AutoArchive help determine how e-mail is managed in user mailboxes. You can configure settings for these features for users in your organization, determining, for example, how frequently to run AutoArchive and whether to prompt users before running AutoArchive.

If you configure Exchange Server document management settings for users as well as Outlook retention and AutoArchive settings, be aware that the Exchange settings can affect Outlook retention and AutoArchive behavior. See the Working with Outlook archiving and Exchange document management section later in this article.

NoteNote:
This article is for Outlook administrators. To configure Outlook AutoArchive options on your computer, see Configure AutoArchive settings (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=100151).

You can lock down the settings to customize retention settings by using the Outlook Group Policy template (Outlk12.adm). Or you can configure default settings by using the Office Customization Tool (OCT), in which case users can change the settings. The OCT settings are in corresponding locations on the Modify user settings page of the OCT.

The Outlook template and other administrative files can be downloaded from 2007 Office System Administrative Templates (ADM) (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=78161) on the Microsoft Download Center.

Use the following procedure to customize retention settings by using Group Policy.

Customize retention settings by using Group Policy
  1. In Group Policy, load the Office Outlook 2007 template (Outlk12.adm).

  2. To customize how retention settings work, under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office Outlook 2007\Tools | Options\Other\AutoArchive, double-click Retention Settings.

  3. Click Enabled, and then configure retention settings options. For example, enable retention settings by selecting Turn Retention Policies On.

  4. Click OK.

The settings you can configure for retention settings are shown in the following table. Note that retention settings supersede archive settings for folders.

 

AutoArchive option Description

Turn Retention Policies On

Enable retention settings for user mailboxes.

Maximum number of days to retain items

Specify the numbers of days to retain items in Inbox, all mail folders excluding Inbox, Calendar items in any folder, and all other folders being AutoArchived.

For items not being retained

Specify whether to move items to the Deleted Items folder or delete items permanently.

URL with corporate retention policy information

Specify a site that describes your organization's retention policies. There is no default URL.

You can lock down the settings to customize AutoArchive by using the Outlook Group Policy template (Outlk12.adm). Or you can configure default settings by using the Office Customization Tool (OCT), in which case users can change the settings. The OCT settings are in corresponding locations on the Modify user settings page of the OCT.

The Outlook template and other ADM files can be downloaded from 2007 Office System Administrative Templates (ADM) (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=78161) on the Microsoft Download Center.

Use the following procedure to customize AutoArchive options by using Group Policy.

Customize AutoArchive options by using Group Policy
  1. In Group Policy, load the Office Outlook 2007 template (Outlk12.adm).

  2. To customize how AutoArchive works, under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office Outlook 2007\Tools | Options\Other\AutoArchive, double-click AutoArchive Settings.

  3. Click Enabled, and then configure AutoArchive options. For example, enable AutoArchive by selecting Turn on AutoArchive and choose an archiving interval by selecting a number in the Run AutoArchive every <x> days box.

  4. Click OK.

The settings you can configure for AutoArchive are shown in the following table.

 

AutoArchive option Description

Turn on AutoArchive

Set AutoArchive to run for users, with a frequency specified by the Run AutoArchive every <x> days setting.

Run AutoArchive every <x> days

Specify an AutoArchive interval in numbers of days.

Prompt before AutoArchive runs

Notify users that AutoArchive will run, rather than running silently.

Delete expired items (e-mail folders only)

Delete expired e-mail messages, rather than moving them to an archive folder.

Archive or delete old items

Move Outlook items to the archive file or delete the items.

Show archive folder in folder list

Display the archive folder in the user's Outlook folder list.

Clean out items older than

Specify how long to keep items before archiving or deleting them.

Permanently delete old items

Permanently delete items rather than moving them to the Deleted Items folder.

Outlook mailboxes grow as users create and receive items. To keep mailboxes manageable, users need another place to store — or archive — older items that are important but not frequently used. It is typically most convenient to automatically move these older items to the archive folder and to discard items whose content has expired and is no longer valid. AutoArchive manages this process automatically for users.

AutoArchive is on by default and runs automatically at scheduled intervals, removing older and expired items from folders. Older items are those that reach the archiving age a user specifies (the default archiving age varies by the type of Outlook item). Expired items are mail and meeting items whose content is no longer valid after a certain date, such as a mail item set to expire two months ago that still appears in a user's Inbox.

Users can specify an expiration date on items in Outlook at the time they create or send the item or at a later date. When the item expires, it is unavailable and shows in a folder list with a strike-out mark through it.

When AutoArchive runs, it can delete items or move items to an archive folder, depending on the settings you specify.

The archive file is an Outlook data file (PST file) that appears as Archive Folders in the Outlook folder list. The first time AutoArchive runs, Outlook creates the archive file automatically in the following location:

%UserProfile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Archive.pst

In addition to the AutoArchive settings, you can also enable retention policy settings for items in user mailboxes. Retention policy settings can help users to follow retention policy guidelines that your company establishes for document retention.

NoteNote:
Because retention policies settings are part of Outlook's AutoArchive functionality, retention settings only run when AutoArchive is run. Running an archive manually does not trigger retention settings enforcement.

Retention Group Policy settings in Outlook can be configured to follow company policies, to encourage users to retain documents and items for only a fixed period of time. Retention settings implementation requires AutoArchive to be enabled, but retention settings take precedence over AutoArchive settings.

If Microsoft Exchange is configured to implement document management features that set e-mail message expiration dates for user mailboxes, make sure that Outlook archiving settings are configured so that item expiration and archiving or deletion work predictably for users.

By default, in most configurations, Exchange retention policies override Outlook retention settings. Users who are not aware that Exchange policies take precedence might lose Outlook items. This can happen if users expect their AutoArchive settings to move items to an Outlook data file and instead the items are removed by Exchange document management procedures.

To help prevent user confusion this scenario, disable the option to configure manual archiving. Use the following procedure to disable manual archiving by using Group Policy.

Disable manual archiving by using Group Policy
  1. In Group Policy, load the Office Outlook 2007 template (Outlk12.adm).

  2. Under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office Outlook 2007\Tools | Options\Other\AutoArchive, double-click Disable File|Archive.

  3. Click Enabled.

  4. Click OK.

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