“Archive” folder in Outlook

Some of you might have noticed that a new folder appeared in your Office 365 mailbox: Archive. Here’s what we know about it so far:

  • It’s a Default folder, with a FolderType Archive:
C:\ Get-MailboxFolderStatistics vasil | ? {$_.FolderType -eq "Archive"} | select Name,Folder*,Movable

Name : Archive
FolderPath : /Archive
FolderType : Archive
Movable : False
  • Being a Default folder, you cannot delete it (note the value of the Movable property above).
  • Neither Outlook nor OWA actually recognize it as Default folder yet and will happily allow you to delete or move it. And it will get restored later on, increasing your annoyance level. In case you want to actually delete or hide it, you will have to use MFCMAPI or another low-level method. Which is unsupported. But in case you are interested, details are for example here: https://www.howto-outlook.com/howto/hidemovedeletemfcmapi.htm
  • No other cmdlet recognizes the new folder type, for example you cannot create a retention tag for Type Archive:
C:\ New-RetentionPolicyTag -Name Archive -RetentionAction MoveToArchive -Type Archive -AgeLimitForRetention 720

Cannot process argument transformation on parameter 'Type'. Cannot convert value "Archive" to type "Microsoft.Exchange.Data.Directory.SystemConfiguration.ElcFolderType". Error:
"Unable to match the identifier name Archive to a valid enumerator name. Specify one of the following enumerator names and try again: Calendar, Contacts, DeletedItems, Drafts, Inbox, JunkEmail, Journal, Notes, Outbox, SentItems, Tasks, All, ManagedCustomFolder, RssSubscriptions, SyncIssues, ConversationHistory, Personal, RecoverableItems, NonIpmRoot, LegacyArchiveJournals, Clutter"
	+ CategoryInfo : InvalidData: (:) [New-RetentionPolicyTag], ParameterBindin...mationException
	+ FullyQualifiedErrorId : ParameterArgumentTransformationError,New-RetentionPolicyTag
  • Related to the above, no administrative controls exist to manage this new “feature” in Enterprise setting.
  • It’s not related to anything involving actual archiving of messages, as in the process of moving messages out of your primary mailbox. Instead, it’s the destination for “archive” actions via the recently introduced “archive” button in Outlook and the swipe actions on mobiles. The quotes are there for a reason. All these do is to move the message from one folder of your mailbox to another. As if we don’t have another 10 ways of doing the same already…
  • In case you need more info about that “archive” (note the quotes!) “feature”, read here: https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Archive-in-Outlook-2016-for-Windows-25f75777-3cdc-4c77-9783-5929c7b47028?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

What’s even worse in the whole story is the fact that yet again Microsoft pushed a new functionality, and a one that’s easily noticeable by every user, without notifying us. And without providing proper administrative controls. It’s like the whole Clutter story never happened and no lessons were learned from it (mind you, Clutter was far more useful feature).

So here’s to a great new year and the hope that Microsoft will finally start doing things the right way! 🙂

3 thoughts on ““Archive” folder in Outlook

  1. Panchev says:

    Amen 🙂
    I know the folder can be created manually with the archive button, but why force it to people who don’t need it?

  2. Ariel S says:

    Could we use powershell to connect to o365, inject different folder type, and delete?


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