Outlook Only Shows Three Weeks of Email: How Do I Change Settings?

By Rebecca Gilbert

You may want to access older emails, but finding them isn't always easy. When Outlook only shows a few weeks of emails, the AutoArchive feature needs adjusting. Seeing these older emails in your folders makes referencing them faster, which is convenient in a work environment. Changing the settings for AutoArchive isn't difficult and only requires a few changes to change the view from a few weeks to months or a year.

Step 1

Open Outlook and click "Tools" in the toolbar. Select "Options" from the menu.

Step 2

Choose the "Other" tab and click the "AutoArchive" button, located under "General." This brings up the AutoArchive settings to make your changes.

Step 3

Deselect "Run AutoArchive every __ days" if you don't want to archive your messages and want to view every message ever sent. If you receive several messages, this takes up a large amount of memory. All of the other options gray out and can't be changed if you select this option.

Step 4

Checking the box for "Run AutoArchive every ___ days" allows you to make changes to the settings, allowing you to view more than three weeks of emails.

Step 5

Select the check box for "Archive or delete old items" under the “During AutoArchive” heading. Click "Show archive folder in folder list."

Step 6

Under the “Default folder settings for archive” heading, check “Clean out items older than ___” and select either months, weeks or days from the drop-down menu. This moves messages older than the selected time into the archive folder.

Step 7

Decide whether you want to delete the messages or choose the folder in which to archive the older messages. Click "OK" to confirm the "AutoArchive" menu and then "OK" to confirm your selections in the "Options" menu.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the AutoArchive settings indicate more than three weeks should show in the message list, remove or reduce the size of the reading pane to view the hidden messages. If the reading pane hides messages, you will also see a scroll bar to the right.
  • Your office's email policies may only allow for the visibility of three weeks of emails. Check with your network administrator to verify this is the case, as company policy overrides personal AutoArchive settings.