Open and find items in an archive Outlook Data File (.pst)

This article was last updated on February 23, 2016, based on customer feedback.

By default, AutoArchive in Outlook regularly removes old and expired items from folders. It does this to help you manage space in your mailbox or on the mail server you're using.

You can set AutoArchive to move or copy old items to a designated archive folder or to automatically delete items. If you do not delete your archived items, they remain available to you in the archive folder.

Retrieve your archived items

To see what your AutoArchive settings and location are, and instructions to turn off AutoArchive, see Automatically move or delete older items with AutoArchive.

  1. In Outlook on your desktop (Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016), choose Home > New Items > More Items > Outlook Data File.

    Choose New Items > More Items > Outlook Data File.

  2. Choose the file named archive (or the name you specified for the archived file).

    Choose the file named "archive."

  3. Expand the archive file in the Outlook Navigation pane to see the subfolders in it. Click each subfolder to see the contents.

    Expand the archive file in the nav pane to see the subfolders under it.

  4. To search for a specific email, use Instant Search in Outlook or Windows Search.

  5. If you want to import your archived items back into your Inbox, follow the instructions for importing a .pst file. The name of the file you're going to import is "archive" and you're going to import it into your current email account.

If you can't see your archived emails

Note:  The archive Outlook Data File (.pst) displays the same folder structure as the file it archives. If a folder is empty in the archive, it means no items have been archived for that folder.

If you followed the above instructions to retrieve your archived email but still can't see them, check what the settings are for autoarchiving your email.

  1. In Outlook on your desktop (Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016), choose File.

    In Outlook 2010, choose the File tab.

  2. Choose Options.

  3. Choose Advanced > AutoArchive Settings.

  4. Note how frequently your email is being archived and whether the archive file is being cleaned out after a period of time. Based on these settings, should there be email in your archive folder?

    This is where you choose your autoarchive options.

  5. Where it says Move old items to is where your emails are being archived.

Where are my emails archived?

Outlook 2010, 2013, or 2016: new archive files are saved in the following locations:

  • Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8, and 10    drive:\Users\user\Documents\Outlook Files\archive.pst

  • Windows XP   drive:\Documents and Settings\user \Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\archive.pst

Earlier versions of Outlook: the archive file is saved in the following locations:

  • Windows 7 and Windows Vista   drive:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\archive.pst

  • Windows XP   drive:\Documents and Settings\user \Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\archive.pst

See Also

Open and find items in an archive for Outlook for Mac 2011

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