Third-party email archiving tool helps Microsoft Outlook's AutoArchive

If you have any experience with Microsoft Outlook's AutoArchive feature, you know that it doesn't always work as intended. Learn about a third-party email archiving software program called ArchiveAssist that alleviates Microsoft Outlook's AutoArchive problems.

Microsoft Outlook's AutoArchive feature periodically archives email messages that are older than a certain (user-selected) date. It moves the email out of the current personal store (.PST) file and places it into another .PST file specifically designated for email archiving.


By doing so, the Microsoft Outlook AutoArchive feature keeps a user's primary .PST file from getting too big and unwieldy, which could cause Microsoft Outlook performance to slow down.

Unfortunately, Microsoft Outlook's AutoArchive feature doesn't always work as intended.

For one, it uses a slightly oddball criterion for determining how old a message is -- it goes by an email's received date and modified date. If the Modified field is more recent than the date criterion you've set for AutoArchive, the email won't get archived.

One way to fix this is to change the modified date of any messages in question. But there's no way to do that directly in Microsoft Outlook. Even if you could, it would be a tedious process.

Enter the third-party program ArchiveAssist from Cardiff. This email archiving software changes the modified date of selected Microsoft Outlook messages so they can be properly archived.

ArchiveAssist can work with individual Microsoft Outlook messages, folders, or sets of folders. It can also set the modified date to the received date, the sent date, or even an arbitrarily selected date.

Once the Microsoft Outlook email messages in question are tagged with the right modified date, they can then be archived properly. Aside from mass-marking messages for email archiving, ArchiveAassist can also mass-delete messages that fall within a certain scope of dates.

Keep in mind the following caveats when using the ArchiveAssist email archiving software though:

  • Microsoft Outlook must be installed in order for it to work. It won't work on a computer that houses just the .PST files.

  • You should make a backup of any .PST files that are to be modified by the program before using it.

  • If you need to have the Modified field for messages left untouched by anything except Microsoft Outlook (for forensic reasons), this probably isn't an appropriate email archiving application for you.

Cardiff's ArchiveAssist is available as a free 30-day trial version. The full version is sold on a per-user basis, and ranges from $19 each for one to five users and $11 each for 101 to 999 users.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.


We've developed an email archiving tool called Outlook True Archive that overcomes Microsoft Outlook rules based on "Last Modified" dates, etc.
—Jimmy K.

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Related information from SearchExchange.com:


  • Tip: Microsoft Outlook archives email, but on its own terms
  • Expert Advice: Disabling Microsoft Outlook's AutoArchive feature
  • Tip: MailArchiva -- open-source email archiving for Exchange Server
  • Learning Center: Exchange Server archiving essentials
  • Reference Center: Exchange Server archiving news, tips and resources
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