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When you get too many messages in Outlook, split your Outlook into two files.

You can use the Archive feature to move messages out of your active Outlook, but your Archive can get too big too.

Find your Outlook data file. In Outook, in the left pane under All Mail Folders, right click on Personal Folders. Select Properties, Advanced. Note the path and filename, which is something like this.

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst

Close Outlook. You will need to make a copy of the Outlook.pst file.

Navigate to the folder with Outlook.pst using Windows Explorer.

You will need to turn on Show Hidden Files and Folders and you should turn off Hide Known File Extensions in Folder Options.

To change these settings in Windows XP in Windows Explorer, go to Tools, Folder Options. In Windows 7, you can get to the folder options via Organize in the upper left of the explorer.

Copy Outlook.pst to another folder on your computer. Suggest you put in a folder called Outlook_Archive under My Documents somewhere.

Rename the copied Outlook.pst with the date like this Outlook_20100824.pst.

This way, you can repeat this process whenever you need to, and you will have archived Outlook data files with a series of dates.

Open Outlook. Right click on Personal Folders. Click Open Outlook Datafile. Navigate to copy of the Outlook data file you just created and select it.

It will show up in your All Mail Folders with the same name Personal Folders. You will want to rename that.

Right click on the new Personal Folders, go into Properties, Advanced and add the date to the name. I put a code at the beginning so the names appear with the newest folder first, like this.

z7 2010 Aug 24 Personal Folders
z8 2009 Jun 18 Personal Folders
z9 2008 Sep 15 Personal Folders

Now you need to clean up your current mail and shrink your Outlook data file.

Go into your active Outlook Personal Folders and delete your old email. Then right click on Personal Folders, seelct Properties, Advanced, Compact.

It may take a long while to run depending on the size of your file. Be patient.

By Andrew Weitzen (c) 2010

Weitzen is the publisher of several online Internet journals including:,,,,,

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