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Disable Archiving Options in Outlook 2007 using GPO

Administrators often need to disable Outlook 2007 / Outlook 2003 archiving options for users, due to company policy requirements or because they use third party software to backup / remove old emails from Exchange Mailboxes. We always can instruct our users not to use those options, however as we all know, quite often giving the instructions to users is not enough. Hence we need to know the proper way to force our desired settings. The best way to reconfigure some settings is to use Group Policy Object, of course if we have Active Directory implemented, because it is the easiest and fastest way to change something for multiple computers or multiple users.

The below procedure describes how to disable Archiving options for Outlook 2007, however doing the same for Outlook 2003 is almost the same. Outlook 2007 have two archiving options the first is Manual Archiving, which can be found under File | Archive, the second is Auto Archiving, which is located under Tools | Options, Other tab. Our goal in that tutorial will be how to disable both Archiving options: manual and auto.

The first step is to download 2007 Office system (SP2) Administrative Template files (ADM, ADMX, ADML) and Office Customization Tool from Microsoft Website.

When you extract the downloaded file you will see following folders:
ADM - which contains adm files
Admin - which contains opa files
ADMX - which contains ADMX files

The next step is to copy proper admx files from ADMX folder to %SystemRoot%\PolicyDefinitions
Additionally you have to copy corresponding adml files from folder ADMX\en-us (replace en-us with appropriate language if available) In our case it would be outlk12.admx and corresponding outlk12.adml from en-us folder.

Open Group Policy Management (gpmc.msc)

Create New GPO lets name it “Disable Outlook 2007 Autoarchive” then click Edit on that policy.
In the Group Policy Editor, in User Configuration under Administrative Templates you will see new settings available.
We choose Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 > Tools | Others > AutoArchive. Then we change the option Disable|File Archive to Enabled

Next we will disable AutoArchive by Enabling policy option AutoArchive Settings. To prevent AutoArchive from running we will ensure that checkbox Turn on AutoArchive is cleared, as shown on below image.

Then we need to link our GPO to appropriate OU. Of course we can add some WMI filtering if required, but that depends on what we want to achieve.

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