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How to Archive Old E-mail Messages


How do I archive old email messages?


If you would like to delete email messages off the University of Oregon email server and still be able to view them in the future — for example, if you're leaving the university — you can archive them. Archiving email messages will save them to your local folder on your computer and delete them off the server.

The University supports Mac Mail, Outlook, and Thunderbird e-mail clients. The steps to archive e-mails in these programs are as follows. 

Mac Mail

Method 1

  1. Click the [+] button on the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
  2. Select "New Mailbox..." (If the sidebar with the plus is not visible use the "Show" button on the left to reveal it.)
  3. On the menu that appears next to the heading Location, chose the option On My Mac
  4. Enter in a name for the mailbox. Example: ‘Archived Emails’
  5. Begin dragging e-mails from your inbox into this new mailbox. Once they are in this folder they will no longer be on the server but will be permanently saved to your hard disk. 

Method 2

  1. Option-click on your existing inbox and select the ‘Export Mailbox’ option.
  2. A menu will appear. Select your hard drive as the place to save your mailbox.
  3. You must now import that file back into Mac Mail to view its contents. To do that, select File then Import Mailboxes.
  4. Click Import data from ‘Files in .mbox format’, and then click the Continue button.
  5. Go to the same place you saved the file on your hard drive and click on that file. Usually it’ll be named "Inbox.mbox".  The program will begin importing the files back into Mac Mail. Depending on the size of the mailbox this can take several minutes.


Microsoft Outlook has a tool that allows you to manage your inbox’s allocation of space. This tool is called Windows Inbox Clean Up Tool. This tool allows you to see where your messages are stored, whether they are on the server or on your hard drive.

  1. To access the Inbox Clean Up Tool, click File 
  2. Select Mailbox Cleanup 
  3. Next, click View Mailbox Size...
  4. This will display the size of your inbox and where the messages are stored. The two options are that they are still on the server or on your computer.
  5. Based on this you can decide if you need to archive your old e-mails and then delete some of them off the server. 

Manually Archiving E-mail

  1. From the Go menu select Folder List.
  2. Click the folder that you want to archive. In this example, the folder being archived is "Home Networking."
  3. From the File menu select Archive.
  4. Select one of the following options:
    • Archive all folders to their AutoArchive settings: Allows you to use your AutoArchive settings to archive the Home Networking folder.*
    • Archive this folder and all the subfolders: Allows you to archive the Home Networking folder using the options available in the Archive dialog box. In the Archive items older than list, choose a date from the date picker. In this example, items in the folder created before January 19, 2011 are archived.
  5. To include items that you previously selected not to archive, select the Include items with "Do not AutoArchive" checked check box
  6. To archive the folder to a file other than the default Archive.pst file, click Browse, and then specify a different file name, such as Home Networking Archive.pst, and a location, such as My Documents.
  7. Click OK

Mozilla Thunderbird

  1. Click File, then New, then select Folder
  2. In the window that appears enter a name for the new folder such as “Archived Emails.” Where it says Create as a subfolder of: choose Local Folders
  3. That folder will now appear in the column on the left hand side of the screen under the heading local folders. To move messages into this folder simply select messages from your inbox then drag them to your archived folder.


For assistance, please contact the Technology Service Desk.


Article ID: 32225
Fri 6/16/17 3:13 PM
Wed 3/28/18 12:17 PM