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Archiving mailboxes


2012/11/21


Learn how to use mailbox archiving for better performance or to save server space.




It's easy to get confused when we mention "archiving" in the context of Kerio Connect. That's because Connect has a server side archiving function that creates copies of email. That's a useful function, but it's not what I'm talking about here. This kind of archiving is removing messages from your Inbox (or other folders) and storing them somewhere else. Why would you do that? There are a number of reasons:

Organization

Some people are very organized. They might create folders for each of their email contacts and move or copy every matching email to the matching folder. Or they may organize by tags: Personal, Business, Look at Later, Immediate Action, Completed and so on.

I just do things by date: August 2012 has all the emails that came to me in that month. People who are really organized don't think that's any better than just leaving it all in the INBOX, but it actually is.

Increased Performance

Big mailboxes slow down your computer. An INBOX with 70,000 messages in it means that every time a new email arrives, your computer has to search through 70,000 directory slots to find a place to store the new email. You can buy ultra fast hard drives, have the fastest CPU and lots of memory for cache to help make that searching faster, but at some point performance will suffer because you have too many messages in your INBOX.

Different operating systems and different filesystems also vary in how well they handle big mailboxes, but regardless of that, at some point you simply have too many and you need to clean them out.

Server Quotas

You may not have quotas applied to your mail, but even if you do not, there is a physical quota imposed by the storage space available on the server (or, if you are storing email locally, by the physical limits of your computer).

Large mailboxes can also pose a challenge for backups. I have customers whose mail store has become too large to back up in any reasonable amount of time. They need their users to reduce their mailbox sizes.

How to archive

If the concern is just performance and not server space, one way to archive is just to create new folders, select the emails that belong in those folders, and drag them there. This reduces the INBOX size and makes it easier to find space for the next batch of new emails.

You might be able to automate this process as I did atKerio Connect Archive Script. However, you need to be aware that caching clients like Outlook, Apple Mail and some mobile devices can be confused by this sort of behind the scenes rearranging.

Outlook AutoArchive

Outlook provides "AutoArchive". While convenient, this has a full complement of caveats and the usual does of Microsoft confusion, so lets look at it in depth. I'll be using Outlook 2010 for this examination; expect differences if you are using a newer or older Outlook.

You turn on AutoArchive in File->Options-Advanced

Turning on AutoArchive

You can also set AutoArchive Options by folder by right clicking on the folder and selecting Properties.

AutoArchiving settings by folder

If you want to run AutoArchive now rather than waiting for Outlook itself to get to it, you may want to add Mailbox Cleanup to your Quick Toolbar:

Turning on AutoArchive

Naming the Archives

You can name the AutoArchive folder whatever you like, but within Outlook, all you'll see is "Archive" folders. You can see the real names on your computer itself, as shown here:

Naming AutoArchives

These files are stored on your computer, but you could create a "My Archives" folder on the Kerio server and (from within Outlook) drag them back to there (assuming you were not doing this to save server space).



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Tue Dec 4 13:14:22 2012: 11480   TonyLawrence

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Another way to have an archive is to forward all your email to a gmail account and simply delete it from your Kerio account after you have acted on it.

You can have filter rules in Gmail to organize things somewhat automatically and they give you a very large amount of storage. Log in every now and then to be sure everything is working as you intend.

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