I was talking to a customer a while back and he proudly announced that he has never delete an email. I thought to myself that this is not something to be proud about. It is like saying I have never change oil in my car. A car needs maintenance and so does your Outlook email client. A few minutes of time a week can help keep your email client running smooth.
It is fairly common to keep unneeded mail in both the Inbox and Send folders. In case you didn’t realize, there is a copy of every E-mail sent kept in the Sent Items folder. Often it is not necessary to keep years’ worth of these. I recommend that you go to each folder, scroll to the bottom and delete old e-mail you no longer need. You can use windows keyboard short cuts to help in this. If you click on an email you want to delete and scroll down and hold the shift key and click on an email item, you will select all items in that range. Then if you hit the delete key, you can delete the block of emails all at once.
Also, don’t forget to look in personal folders you have created and delete emails no longer needed there.
When you delete email it is moved into the Deleted Items folder, it normally stays there unless you empty it. To empty the Delete Items, go to that folder, select all the deleted items you wish to get rid of, and press the Delete key.
If you would like to see how much space you are using in Outlook, it most versions you can click on File options it top ribbon. Then in the window displayed next to the mailbox cleanup icon, you will see a graph displaying how much storage you are using.
Some people recommend that you archive email to a PST file. That is something that is helpful for those who do not like to delete emails. But, I would be cautious. Here is an article that explains the downside to using PST files to archive email.
Another alternative is to create a folder in windows and move the email you want to archive into it. Here is a good article that explains it. This is very easy and cost effective way to archive email.
Alternative to PST files – Simple way to store email
Manually archiving email either to a PST or to a file folder is not an effective solution for many organizations because you must rely on the users to routinely archive their email. And, it is easy for a user to accidently delete important data.
If you want to be more diligent or you have regulations that you need to comply with, I suggest you look at finding an archival product to hand this. There are lots of products on the market. They can be categorized as either on premise or hosted solutions.
On premise solutions are the most common. An example of an on premise solution that works well for a small organization is GFI Archiver. It is a software based product that is install on an on-site server. It costs $35/user for software and $10/yr./user for maintenance.
GFI email archiving
The advantages of a solution like this is that it is fully automated, so no user involvement is needed in the archive process. This particular product archives emails, calendar items, and files. It has good security and excellent search capability. The disadvantage is the upfront cost and that you would possibly need to add a server onsite.
Hosted archiving solutions, sometimes called cloud archiving or Saas (software as a service), are becoming more common. They are easy to implement and maintain. An example, is a product that I am familiar with, Securance Email Archiver. It is an add-on to Securance SPAM filtering application. I believe it cost less than $10/user per month. This is a really great solution for small organization.
Another solution is use Laserfiche ECM software to store your emails. The advantage of this solution is that you can search all of your documents and emails in one simple search. You will find that it also has a much better search engine than the other solutions mentioned above.