Four Simple Steps to Managing Your Mailbox Size

Outlook will run more faster and more efficiently when you keep your online mailbox size at a manageable level, ideally below about 300 MB (307200 KB). Here are four simple steps you can take to help keep your online mailbox size under control and useful:

  1. Check your current Mailbox size
    1. In Outlook, right-click on 'Mailbox - Lastname, Firstname' in the 'Mail Folders' pane
    2. Select 'Properties for...'
    3. Click 'Folder Size...'
    4. If your total size is over 1 GB (1048576 KB), you need to make changes NOW. If your size is at a manageable level (around 300 MB or less) you can still benefit by implementing these steps and avoid problems later.
  2. Make sure your Deleted Items are actually being deleted
    1. Deleted Items still take up space in your Mailbox. If your Deleted Items folder is very large (you can check this by right-clicking on Deleted Items, selecting Properties and clicking on 'Folder Size...'), you should check your settings.
    2. From the Tools menu, select 'Options'
    3. Select the 'Other' tab
    4. Check 'Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting'
    5. Click OK
    6. NOTE: To empty the Deleted Items folder at any time, right-click on 'Deleted Items' and select 'Empty "Deleted Items" folder'
  3. Check your AutoArchive settings
    1. From the Tools menu, select 'Options'
    2. Select the 'Other' tab
    3. Click on 'AutoArchive...'
    4. Make sure you have the following:
      1. Check 'Run AutoArchive every 14 days'
      2. Check 'Delete expired items (e-mail folders only)'
      3. Check 'Archive or delete old items'
      4. Check 'Show archive folder in folder list'
    5. Clean out items older than 6 months
    6. Click on 'Apply these settings to all folders now'
  4. Set some folders to AutoArchive more frequently
    1. If you send a large number of attachments, you should configure AutoArchive on your 'Sent Items' at less than 6 months
    2. Right-click the folder for which you want to configure specific AutoArchive settings (for example: 'Sent Items')
    3. Select 'Properties'
    4. Select 'AutoArchive'
    5. Select 'Archive this folder using these settings'
    6. Set the time to clean out items to 3 months (or less)
    7. Click OK
In addition to these simple steps to get your mailbox under immediate control, there are a number of preventative things that you can do each day to maintain your mailbox:
  1. Delete items immediately that don't require further action or later reference.
  2. Save attachments you want to keep directly to your hard drive.
  3. Delete attachments from messages when you no longer need the attached file(s). (For example, if you have been sending files back and forth for revision, delete all the old versions when you have a final version.)
Remember, archived messages are still accessible when you are at your primary computer. Your current messages will still be online and accessible from any computer running Outlook or through Outlook Web Access.

For more information, check out Managing Space in Microsoft Outlook 2003 and Managing Space and Using Personal Folders.