After several email messages have come and gone, you'll notice that your Inbox and Outbox folders will need some cleaning. Similar to cleaning off old piled papers from your desk, archiving is a tool to clean up your electronic mailbox folders. Most email client applications have an archiving feature. When you archive messages, you are essentially moving the items from your mailbox folders to a storage folder. There are two types of archive options usually available: auto archiving and manual archiving.
Auto archiving gives you the option of setting a specific number of months before the tool archives all messages into a designated folder. You can usually choose specific settings for auto archiving. The options may include how many months should pass before cleanup occurs and which folder should contain the archived items. Auto archiving is usually already activated with a designated folder. The default duration between cleanups will vary. Microsoft Outlook, for instance, has a predetermined archive setting of two months for the Sent Items and Deleted Items folders. However, you should check your specific email program to see whether auto archiving is activated before you assume it is.
Manual archiving is not set up as an automatic function; it occurs when a user saves an email. Manual archiving is usually not the default archive setting.
You may choose to archive messages that reside in your Outbox folder, other individual folders, groups of folders, or all folders. You may also export your folder items, although this is different than archiving them. Exporting an item will send the original item to a storage folder, but it will leave a copy in your mailbox folder, as well.