Exchange Online Archiving

Guide to Online Archiving for Exchange.


What is Exchange Online Archiving?
  • Exchange Online Archiving is an additional specialized mailbox that works in tandem with your Primary Exchange Mailbox allowing messages to be quickly and easily archived to simplify mailbox size management. This solution utilizes server-side storage that works in a similar manner to the traditional Personal Folders (PST) files. This approach has the advantage of being backed-up nightly, can have messages moved into it automatically, and is available within OWA ( providing access on and off Campus.

Why Online Archive?
  • Free up space in your primary mailbox, increasing Outlook performance and reducing issues associated with e-mail "bloat".
  • Regular Outlook archiving creates a .PST file that are saved “locally” on the computer’s hard drive and can be easily lost if your computer’s hard drive crashes or becomes corrupted.
  • Access your Archive from anywhere, on or off campus.
  • Your Online Archive Mailbox is backed up nightly, removing you from the responsibility and hassle of doing .PST backups yourself.
  • Your Online Archive Mailbox gives you an additional 50GB for which to store e-mail online.

Who can use this service and what e-mail client do I need?
  • All Exchange accounts are eligible for this service (once it has been enabled for your mailbox). The Online Archive feature is only available with these E-mail clients: Outlook 2007,2010, 2013 and Outlook Web App ( Legacy Outlook for Windows, and Outlook on Mac and linux do not have desktop client support, they will need to use OWA.

The sections below will guide you through features and usage of an Online Archive.

How do I know if Archiving is enabled on my mailbox? Go to Top

If Exchange Online Archiving has been enabled for your mailbox you will see an additional entry under the Exchange mailbox in Outlook 2007/2010 (right) and OWA (left) called Archive or Online Archive.

OL Enabled OWA Enabled

  1. Your Primary Mailbox.
  2. Your Archive Mailbox.

Note: A restart of your Outlook client is needed for these features to be available.

I would like to use Archiving, how do I request access?Go to Top

Archiving is enabled per-mailbox, by request. Contact your TSP or College Consultant, or send a e-mail to to request access.

How do Archive Policies work? Go to Top

Automatic archiving is accomplished through the use of policies which determine the frequency in which messages are moved to the archive. Once enabled for your mailbox, the the archive policies can be set at the mailbox level, folder level or on individual messages. By default there are no Parent Folder Policy set server side. If you want items moved to the archive automatically you will need to assign a policy to your mailbox, subfolders, or messages.

When a policy has been applied, the affected messages are moved into the online archive when the managed folder assistant processes the mailbox. This process happens only once every 24 hours, typically overnight. When items are moved to the archive by policy, the mailbox folder structure is preserved (i.e. if a policy is set on a folder, all of the messages that meet the policy criteria will be moved to a folder of the same name within the archive).

When Archive policies are set on a folder (including the root mailbox folder) that policy will affect all items, e-mails and folders it contains. (see example of policy inheritance below for more detail)


Online archive policy flow
Example of Policy inheritance:
  1. Root mailbox folder: Setting a policy here will affect all folders and e-mail in your mailbox.
  2. Inbox folder: Setting a policy on the Inbox will affect only the folders and mail contained within the Inbox folder. In effect, a Policy change replaces the inherited policy settings from higher folders. In this case, a policy set at the #1 Root Mailbox folder.
  3. Temp Project folder: Setting policy on the Temp Project folder will affect itself and the two sub task folders and the e-mail they contain. A Policy change at this folder replaces policy settings made at higher folders. In this case, a policy set at the #2 Inbox folder.
Example 1:
You need all e-mail archived after three years, but some folders have high e-mail traffic (A Temporary Project folders), and need to be archived sooner to keep your mailbox at a reasonable size. You would set the Root mailbox folder (#1) to three years, and then set the Temp Project ( #3) to every 1 month.

Example 2:
You organize your past e-mail into years, (2010-2012 folders) and you want only these folder to archive after a year has past. You would set each of those to 1 year. Since all of the e-mail contained in these folders are older than a year, they would all archive.

How do I transfer my PST files into the Online Archive?Go to Top

This process can only be accomplished via Outlook for Windows as the .PST file format is not compatible with Microsoft mail clients for Macintosh or OWA. To move a message or folder from a .PST to the online archive, simply left click and drag the message or folders from the .PST and drop them (release the mouse button) into the archive.

You can also move messages or folders by right clicking on the item you wish to move and selecting Move or Move Folder from the context menu. You will be presented with a dialog box that allows you to select an appropriate new location and an OK button you can click on to complete the process.

How do I remove my PST files from Outlook when I am done with them?Go to Top
Close PST

It is recommended you remove the unneeded/empty PST files from Outlook to avoid confusing them with the Online Archive. When you have transferred all of the folders and messages from your .pst file to your new Online Archive you can remove the PST file from Outlook (Windows only) by

  1. Right-clicking on the .PST
  2. then and selecting ‘Close “Name of PST”’ from the context menu.

NOTE: The PST file will not be deleted, it will just stop being visible within Outlook.

Limitations and other need to know items.Go to Top

There are a few limitations associated with the Exchange Online Archiving feature. These should have a minimal impact on most Exchange users, but are listed here to make everyone aware of what they are.

  • The online archive is not available for OWA Light, Microsoft mail clients for OS X, Evolution for Linux, or Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. As a result, messages that have been moved to the archive will not be accessible within Outlook 2011, Entourage 2008, Evolution or on mobile devices.
  • When Online Archiving is enabled on a mailbox, Outlook's AutoArchiving feature for that profile will no longer function (this applies to Windows Outlook clients only, as Mac clients do not have this option). You can recreate the auto archive functionality using the Archive Policy options.
  • When using the Search dialog in Outlook for Windows, you can select the 'All Outlook Items' option to return results from both your mailbox and the online archive simultaneously. This does not work in OWA so you will need to select the Online Archive before entering search criteria.
  • Special folders, e.g. Calendar, Contacts, Journal, Notes, and Tasks folders and associated item types behave differently from standard folders and e-mail. You cannot set policy on these folders or items directly, however the Calendar and Tasks folders inherit the policy set on the Root mailbox folder.

How to assign Archive Policies in Outlook. Go to Top
Setting Folder Policy1

How to assign an Archive Policy to a folder in Outlook:
  1. Right-Click the folder you wish to change.
  2. From the dialog window, Select Folder Permissions.
Set Folder Policy 2

  1. At the Top of the dialog box, Select the Policy Tab.
  2. In the Online Archive section on the bottom, used the drop down box to select the policy you desire.

Set Mail Policy

How to assign an Archive Policy to a single Mail item in Outlook:
  1. Right-click the desired Mail item.
  2. Hover over Assign Policy.
  3. Select the desired Policy.
How to assign Archive Policies in OWA. Go to Top

Important information you should know.

Note: In OWA, archive policies can only be set at the folder and mail item level and not the mailbox level.

Set OWA Folder Policy

How to assign an Archive Policy to a folder in OWA:
  1. Right-Click the folder you wish to assign.
  2. Hover over Archive Policy.
  3. Select the Policy that you desire.
Set Mail Policy OWA

How to assign an Archive Policy to a single Mail item in OWA:
  1. Right-Click the e-mail you wish to assign.
  2. Hover over Archive Policy.
  3. Select the Policy that you desire.

Manually create a new folder in your Archive. Go to Top
New Folder in Archive Step1
To create a new folder in your Archive,
  1. Right-Click your Online Archive Root folder
  2. From the dialog, Select New Folder
New Folder in Archive Step 2
  1. In the Name box, type the Name of your new folder.
  2. Click to select your Archive folder, you could also choose a sub-folder if you wish.
  3. Click OK when finished
New Folder in Archive Step 3
  1. Your new folder will be listed under your Archive folder. You can now drag and drop any e-mail that you wish to store.
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