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The Big Switch - Your Archive and You


For a lot of you, working in your mail archive is a regular thing. Notes mail (used to) have a size quota, which meant regularly devoting some time to moving things from your day-to-day personal mail file to your mail archive to keep size under control. With Outlook, the much larger mailbox size limit mean that regularly archiving won't be necessary (if needed at all).

So what about the stuff that's currently in your archive - how do you manage that once you get to Outlook? 

Actually, the best thing you can do is something you can start doing before your migration: copy/paste items from your archive back into your Notes mail file.

The good part about this: any relevant mail (and attached files) you'd like to have accessible in Outlook once you're migrated will be included in what's migrated.

The potentially bad part about this: mail files under 500MB will migrated in their entirety on "migration day"; those larger than 500MB will only get the last 90 days on the first pass, and will be caught up shortly after migration day.

Here's are a few helpful hints:

  • Be selective about what you really want to keep in your day-to-day/migrated mailbox.
  • While you're in your mail and archives, clean out old things you don't need to keep.
  • Anything you can do to make your mail file as small as you can make it will only help you on migration day.

Select the items from the Archive you want to put back into your mail file.

a screenshot of a cell phone
Select documents in the Archive

From the menu, select Edit > Copy to put the documents in your clipboard.

Copy them to your Clipboard

Open your mail file to the folder you want to paste your selected documents into, and select Edit >Paste from the menu.

They are now back in your mail fle (marked as unread items).

Choose a folder to paste into (I created one called Archived Items)
Pasted Documents are now in my mail

So what about after I've been migrated to Outlook? You will still have read-only access to your archive through Notes, so reading what's there won't be a problem. If you need to move/send/forward things, you will no longer be able to do that from your Notes-based archive.

Here are a few options:

  1. Copy & Paste the content, and detach attachments as needed.
    1. Open the document in the Notes Archive, and copy selected content to the clipboard and paste it where you need to use it.
    2. If there are attachments you want to keep, detach and save them to an appropriate location (your personal drive, a file share, your OneDrive location, or other location).
    3. This would be the recommended path for VDI users.
  2. Drag Selected to Desktop/file system as .eml files
    1. You can drag selected documents, where they're stored with .eml file extensions. These files can be opened in Outlook (without loading them into an Outlook folder).
    2. Subjects are preserved (they're used to build file names).
    3. Attachments are encapsulated into the message file, and therefore preserved.
    4. VDI Users: This is not recommended, as VDI user storage is limited and desktops are rebuilt regularly (see #3 below)
  3. Import/Drag .eml files into a folder in Outlook -- All of the same features and functions of Item #2 above, with these additional steps:
    1. Drag files from the desktop into a folder in Outlook, which will then save them in the Outlook message store. Files cannot be directly "dragged & dropped" into Outlook, so the intermediate step of saving to the desktop or folder is needed.
    2. Delete the desktop items.
    3. Once in Outlook, they can't be previewed (because of the encapsulation), but they can be opened and viewed using Outlook.
    4. VDI Users:  This is a good option for you, as long as you remember to "clean up" the files you move to the desktop.


The team's migration focus is to move all active day-to-day mailboxes first, so your Notes mail archive will remain in place. Once all of the "regular" mail is migrated, we'll revisit the archived items. Until that happens, use one of the above techniques to extract information from your archive. 

Still have questions? Send them to and someone will get back with you.

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