Historically, the ARCHIVE function in Outlook created a new .PST file that was separate from the mailboxes primary .PST or .OST. Many companies want to disable the ARCHIVE functions in Outlook because:
- .PST’s allow staff to copy large amounts of email to a single file they can remove from the company without trace
- .PST’s are not indexed on the Exchange server so if there is a legal discovery performed, data will be omitted and courts don’t think that is funny
Archive No longer Creates .PSTs
However, if you are using Exchange 2016 (or newer) or hosted Exchange through Office 365, the ARCHIVE functionality has changed. Archive no longer creates a .PST, it only moves content to a single system folder cleverly named ARCHIVE.
A user can also not change the location to which your archived items are moved. The Archive folder is one of Outlook’s default system folders and cannot be renamed, moved, or deleted.
PST’s are notorious for becoming corrupt, especially as they grow, so you if you do have PST’s you should look a tool like SFWare PST Repair Tool.
So Why Have an Archive Folder At All?
Online Archive with O365 or Exchange 2016 or newer is a separate mail store system like a second account that the users never “sees” that is slower cheaper storage on the back end that is configured by administrative consoles on Exchange Online or Exchange 2016 consoles. Think of it as a forced retention of keeping mailboxes smaller to an online version of a PST that can’t be downloaded separately.
How To Disable the Archive Buttons in Outlook?
If you still want to disable Archive in Outlook, you can do it but Microsoft has made it moderately difficult. There is no set GPO for to disable the buttons, but you have to create a custom registry entry: