Frequently Asked Questions

Outlook Maintenance

This article is about keeping the Outlook data file as small as possible. Avoid corruption, keep your computer running fast and make it quicker to back up your data.
Outlook is an application that is included in all versions of Microsoft Office except for the Starter and Home and Student versions.
Outlook contains the following elements:

  • Email
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Tasks
  • Notes

Outlook email can often contain attachments. These are files that get attached to an email (e.g.: an image, video or document) and these files can swell up the size of the Outlook data file.
All the Outlook elements are stored in one data file. It is important to perform regular maintenance on this data file to keep it small, compact and error free, otherwise it can slow down your computer.
Recommended settings to do NOW

  1. Delete deleted Items
  2. Archive
  3. Compact

Don’t horde emails. If you feel an email is no longer needed – delete it, but be sure that your deleted items disappear as well.
Outlook 2003 and 2007:
  • Click the menu item: Tools, Options
  • Select Advanced
  • tick the box next to Empty Deleted Items folders when exiting Outlook

Outlook 2010 and 2013:
  • Click the menu item: File, Options
  • On the left pane click Advanced
  • Under the section: Outlook start and exit, tick the box next to Empty Deleted Items folders when exiting Outlook
  • Click OK

The Archive feature within Outlook removes older emails and calendar items to an Archive file. This prepares the Outlook file for Compacting into a smaller size. It can do this automatically on a regular basis. Your working data file then maintains a constant size while your archive data file grows bigger. (Contacts are not archived).
1. Setup the Default Setting for AutoArchiving
Outlook 2003 and 2007: Click the menu item Tools, Options, select the tab labelled Other Click the AutoArchive button.

Outlook 2010 and 2013:
Click the menu item File, Options, Advanced. Click the AutoArchive Settings… button
  • Click the tickbox labelled Run AutoArchive every to enable AutoArchive
  • untick Show archive folder in folder list
  • select the radio button labelled Move old items to: (in the Default folder settings for archiving section).
  • Click the button Apply these settings to all folders now.
  • Click OK
2. Run the Archive routine
An AutoArchive will now perform by itself in the background according to the frequency set in step 1 above. There is nothing further to do. You will be prompted to Archive at the prescribed time interval. Please see the section below called Compacting

Manual Archive: You can perform a Manual Archive as follows:

Outlook 2003 and 2007:

  • Click the menu item: File
  • Select Archive

Outlook 2010 and 2013:
  • Click the menu item: File, Info
  • Click Cleanup Tools in the Mailbox Cleanup section
  • Select Archive
Archiving does not reduce the size of your Outlook data file, so it is important to perform a Compact routine as often as possible. If you have not compacted you data file before, the compact process may take some time. So if it is the first time, start this procedure and let it run overnight or just before you take a long break. It can be stopped at anytime.

  1. Close Outlook and find the Mail icon in the Control Panel
  2. Click the Data Files… button
  3. Select a data file in the list
  4. Click the menu item Settings
  5. Click the button labelled Compact Now.
  6. When the compacting is complete, click the OK button, and then Close the Account Settings dialogue box.

If you need assistance with any of the above procedures, need a backup, import or export solution, please contact martinshelpdesk.
Last Updated 6 years ago

Martin's HelpDesk

156 Hungerford Road
United Kingdom

Tel: 0117 9118064 |

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