Shrinking the Outlook PST file

  • 3 Apr, 2012
  • Phil Hong

Outlook uses a PST file to store all emails and attachments. For those who send and receive a lot of emails you will need to manage your Outlook PST file to avoid file corruption and/or performance issues. The best option is Archiving

To create an archive of old messages in Outlook separate from the PST file you use every day:

  • Select File | Data File Management from the menu in Outlook.
  • Click Add….
  • Choose the desired format (PST).
  • Click OK.
  • Enter the desired file name
  • Click OK.
  • Type the archive PST file’s desired name under Name:
  • Click OK.
  • Now click Close.

Once archiving is setup, you will want to schedule it so that it happens automatically.

  1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Other tab.
  2. Click AutoArchive.
  3. With Run AutoArchive every n days selected, specify how often to run AutoArchive.
  4. Select the options that you want.
  5. To apply the changes to all folders, click Apply these settings to all folders now. This will override custom archive settings that you’ve specified on individual folders.

Once in a while you will need to force an archive if the file gets too big to work with. Here is how to force an archive:

1. Click on File and then select Archive… The archive dialog is displayed.
2. Click the option Archive all folders according to their Auto Archive settings.
3. Click OK.
4. The progress of the Auto Archive will be displayed in the lower right corner of the Outlook window.

Once archiving is finished you’ll need to compact the mailbox:

1. Click Start, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
2. Double-click Mail.
3. Click Data Files.
4. Click the .pst file that you want to compress, and then click Settings.
5. Click Compact Now.

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