Outlook Auto Archive Not Working? Top 5 Ways to Fix It!

Outlook AutoArchive helps manage the space in your mailbox or on the email server that you are using. If you find Outlook archive not reducing mailbox size, follow this article to get it fixed.


By Lily Updated on May 21, 2024

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The issue: Outlook auto archive not working

To keep your mailbox from filling up, Microsoft Outlook offers Archive feature to help move old items you want to keep to a separate Outlook Data File (.pst). It also offers AutoArchive feature to automate the archiving process based on a predefined frequency.

The AutoArchive feature works fine in most situations. However, some users find Outlook archive not moving emails as expected. Here is a real case:

“I created an Auto-Archive option at the beginning of September. It has run twice now at 14 day intervals, but only on a small number of my folders. How do I make it work for ALL folders and sub-folders?”

How to fix archive not working in Outlook 2019/2016/2013

If you are confronted with the Outlook archive not working issue, you can try one of the following methods to fix it:

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# 1. Check AutoArchive settings

When AutoArchive is not working properly, the first thing we should do is to make sure the AutoArchive settings are correct.

  1. Open AutoArchive settings window.
  • Outlook 2007: Tools > Options > Other > AutoArchive
  • Outlook 2010/2013/2016/2019: File > Options > Advanced > AutoArchive Settings
  1. Make sure that the Run AutoArchive every XX days checkbox is selected and you have configured how frequently you want AutoArchive to run.

AutoArchive Settings

💡 Tips:

  • You can set the age of the items that you want to archive in the field of “Clean out items older than XX”.
  • By default, AutoArchive will move old items to an archive.pst file. You can permanently delete old items by selecting the corresponding option.

# 2. Review AutoArchive exclusions

If AutoArchive doesn’t work on one specific folder, you can verify the status of the specific item using the following steps.

  1. Right click on the folder and select Properties > AutoArchive tab.
  2. Make sure the Do not archive items in this folder checkbox is NOT selected if you want the items to be archived.

Inbox Properties

# 3. Run Inbox Repair Tool 

If the archive.pst file is corrupted or too large, AutoArchive may not work as expected. The Inbox Repair tool (Scanpst.exe) is designed to help repair problems that are associated with personal folder (.pst) files. Learn how to use it as follows.

Note: The Inbox Repair tool is automatically installed with all English-language Microsoft Outlook installation options depending on your operating system.

  1. Exit Outlook and browse to one of the following file locations:
  • Outlook 2019/2016: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\root\Office16
  • Outlook 2013: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office15
  • Outlook 2010: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office14
  • Outlook 2007: C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\Office12
  1. Run Scanpst.exe. Click Browse to select the archive.pst file you want to scan.

Inbox Repair Tool

  1. Choose Start to begin the scan. If the scan finds errors, choose Repair to start the process to fix them.

# 4. Modify the ArchiveIgnoreLastModifiedTime registry value

Outlook archive works based on the last modified date and time by default. If you reply, forward, move, edit, save, or import an item, the modified date will change, which may cause the AutoArchive not to archive the item. If you want Outlook to archive items based on the received date, you need to set the ArchiveIgnoreLastModifiedTime registry value.

Note: Please backup registry in Windows before you modify the registry. Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly.

  1. Press Win + R to start Run, type regedit in the Open box, and then click OK.
  2. Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\Preferences (Outlook 2019/2016)
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\Preferences (Outlook 2013)
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Preferences (Outlook 2010)
  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\Preferences (Outlook 2007)
  1. Right click on the empty space at the right pane. Select New, and click on DWORD (32-bit) Value. Name the new DWORD ArchiveIgnoreLastModifiedTime.
  2. Double click on ArchiveIgnoreLastModifiedTime and set its value data as 1, and then click OK.

Modify Registry Value

  1. Exit Registry Editor and restart Outlook to make the registry take effect.

# 5. Create a new PST file for archived items

Another scenario is the PST file is full. The default limit is 20GB for Outlook 2003/2007 and the limit is 50GB for Outlook 2010/2013/2016/2019. You won’t be able to add items to the archive.pst file when the file reaches 19GB or 47.5GB. In this case, I suggest you create a new PST file to archive the items.

  1. Open AutoArchive settings window as mentioned in method 1.
  2. In the “Move old items to” field, click Browse to specify a new location for the archive.pst file.

Note: Don’t store the PST file on the network share, or the archiving process may fail if there are even minor interruptions in the network connection.

Bonus tip: auto backup your Outlook mailbox to prevent data loss

Outlook errors happen now and then. Besides the Outlook archive not working issue, you may encounter the problem of Outlook PST file missing, Outlook not showing old emails, Outlook "Cannot open your default email folder", etc. To prevent data loss caused by unexpected Outlook errors, it is suggested to backup your Outlook mailbox regularly. The best Outlook backup software - AOMEI Backupper Professional can give you a hand.

  • It enables you to backup all data in Outlook to various backup storage devices, including local disk, external hard drive, USB flash drive, and NAS device, etc.
  • It supports Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, and any other email accounts added into Outlook client.
  • You are able to backup your email data daily/weekly/monthly with the “Schedule Backup” feature.
  • You are allowed to run incremental or differential backup to reduce backup time and the backup image size.

Download AOMEI Backupper and install it on your PC now.

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To backup Outlook with AOMEI Backupper, you should add the email account you want to backup to the Outlook client first. Then, click Backup > Outlook Backup and follow the wizard to finish the job.

Outlook Backup

To have the backup task run automatically, you can configure it with the Schedule Backup feature.

Schedule Backup

Wrapping things up

Take it easy if you find Outlook auto archive not working. This page offers you five effective methods to get it fixed. To prevent data loss caused by unexpected Outlook errors, you are suggested to backup Outlook data with AOMEI Backupper. It offers you full Outlook backup solutions. What’s more, it offers the clone feature to help you replace C drive with SSD. Why not give it a shot?

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.