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Phone: 810.762.3123 opt. 1 - Email:

How to Use Personal Folders and Auto Archive in Outlook

Last Updated: Jun 05, 2018 03:06PM EDT

Personal Folders allow you to archive, organize, or backup emails to your local computer hard drive (instead of or in addition to the email server). Another function of Personal Folders is to free up space on the email server if you are running out of space. Personal Folders are not a replacement for cleaning your inbox or deleting old emails. If your email storage space is running low, the performance of Outlook or the Web App ( could suffer. So it's to your benefit to clear out old emails every so often. Faculty and staff have 9GB and students have 2GB of email storage, which is a large amount of storage for email.

Intended Audience

This Quicknote is for the benefit of faculty, staff and students.


To follow this Quicknote you will need a University-owned computer (faculty/staff) or personal computer (faculty/staff/students) with Microsoft Outlook 2010, 2013 or 2016 installed. Students can only use Personal Folders if they are using the Outlook Program with a personal computer. Personal folders will not be saved on university computers for students, as the setting and folder will be lost when the user logs out. The Outlook Web App ( does not support the Personal Folder functionality.


If you are located off campus you will also need to install, configure and connect to the VPN, Pulse Secure, to use Outlook. The information to set up the VPN on your computer can be found in the following Quicknote: Using VPN Resources at UM-Flint.

Create a Personal Folder

Follow the steps below to create a Personal Folder in your Outlook program.

  1. Click File on the top left.
  2. Click Info on the left (it may be selected already).
  3. Click the Account Settings drop-down and click Account Settings.
  4. Click the Data Files tab.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Choose the desired save location and name the file.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Now the folder will appear on the left side of Outlook under your UM-Flint email folders or other Personal Folders.

From here you can save messages, or drag and drop messages into this new "Personal Folder."

Open a Personal Folder

Follow these instructions to open and add a pre-existing Personal Folder to your Outlook folder list.

  1. Click File.
  2. Click Open (Outlook 2007/2010) or Open & Export (Outlook 2013/2016).
  3. Click Open Outlook Data File.
  4. A dialog box will appear, choose the location of the saved Personal Folder .pst file. (Warning - The file must be a .pst type.)
  5. Select the file and click OK.
  6. The Personal Folder will now appear in your folder list.

Backing Up a Folder to a Personal Folder

Follow these instructions to backup a pre-existing folder to a Personal Folder.

  1. Click File.
  2. Click Open (Outlook 2007/2010) or Open & Export (Outlook 2013/2016).
  3. Click Import (Outlook 2007/2010) or Import/Export (Outlook 2013/2016).
  4. Select Export to a file.
  5. Select Outlook Data File (.pst).
  6. Select the folder you would like to backup. If the folder contains a subfolder and you would like to back those up as well, make sure the checkbox is selected for "Include subfolders" and click Next.
  7. Choose the desired save location for the backup. The default save location is here:
    C:\Users\uniqname\Documents\Outlook Files Backup.pst
  8. Change the name of backup.pst to what you want the file called (but do not delete the .pst at the end).
  9. Click Finish.
  10. Optionally you can create a password for this file.

Your data is now backed up into a Personal Folder.

Enabling Auto Archive

These instructions will walk you through turning on Auto Archive in your Outlook program. Warning - Auto Archive has the potential to delete needed email messages. Please use it at your own risk.

  1. Click File.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Advanced on the left.
  4. Under "AutoArchive" click AutoArchive Settings.
  5. Check the box for "Run AutoArchive every" and enter the duration of days each time you want it to archive.
  6. Optionally under "Move old items to:" click Browse to change the location the archive is saved. The default save location is here:
    C:\Users\uniqname\Documents\Outlook Files Archive.pst
  7. Click Apply these settings to all folders now.
  8. Click OK.


If you have any questions or experience any issues with this Quicknote please visit or contact the ITS Helpdesk for assistance.

Locations: 206 Murchie Science Building or 3174 William S. White Building
Phone#: (810) 762-3123 (Option 1)
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