How to Have Windows Live Hotmail Clean Your Inbox Automatically

And, How to Have Outlook Do the Same Thing

image copyright Microsoft Outlook

The Windows Live brand was discontinued in 2012. What started out as Hotmail, became MSN Hotmail, then Windows Live Hotmail, became Outlook. When Microsoft introduced, which was essentially a rebranding of Windows Live Hotmail with an updated user interface and improved features, current users were allowed to keep their email addresses, but new users could no longer create accounts with that domain. Instead, new users could only create addresses, even though both email addresses use the same email service. Thus, Outlook is now the official name of Microsoft's email service, formerly known as Hotmail, MSN Hotmail and Windows Live Hotmail.

Have Windows Live Hotmail Clean Your Inbox Automatically

In Windows Live Hotmail, you could file or delete individual emails to the sound of chat and music - automatically. 

To set up automatic cleanup for a particular sender's mail or an  entire category in or Windows Live Hotmail (and have the cleaning rule applied to existing emails immediately):

  • Open a message from the sender or newsletter you'd like cleaned up automatically.
  • Click Sweep in the toolbar.
  • Select Schedule cleanup from the menu that comes up.
  • Now select:
    • Only keep the latest message from this sender to have Windows Live Hotmail automatically delete all old emails when the latest issue arrives.
    • Delete all messages older than __ days to have all emails from the sender kept for up to 60 days.
    • Move all messages older than __ days to and pick a folder for filing under to make Windows Live Hotmail archive old issues automatically.
  • Optionally, check Do this for everything in the ___ category to apply your rule to all emails classified as Newsletters, for example, by Windows Live Hotmail.
  • Click OK.

To change a cleanup filter, follow the steps again.

Delete a Scheduled Cleanup Rule in Windows Live Hotmail

To remove a Windows Live Hotmail cleanup rule:

  • Open a message from the sender.
  • Click Sweep in the toolbar.
  • Pick Schedule cleanup from the menu.
  • Make sure Stop cleaning up their messages is selected under Change cleanup schedule.
  • Click OK.

Outlook Can Automatically Empty Deleted Items

Here's how to have Outlook empty your Deleted Items folder automatically. Here's how to do it in one click.

But look out – it's an all or nothing process. Once enabled, it will empty the folder every time you close Outlook. And, if you accidentally delete something you need to keep and close Outlook before retrieving it from the Deleted Items folder, it's history. It can only be recovered if it was deleted from an Exchange server mailbox and deleted items recovery is enabled.

Because this setting keeps Outlook open until the deleted folder is empty, you want to close Outlook yourself before shutting down your computer. Otherwise, Windows may force Outlook closed, which will cause Outlook to check the data file for inconsistencies the next time you use Outlook.

Using Auto-Archive in Outlook

To manage the space in your Outlook mailbox or on the mail server you are using, you might need another place to store — archive — old items that are important but rarely used. AutoArchive handles this storage process automatically, moving items to an archive location, an Outlook Personal Folders file (.pst), but you can customize most of the default settings to fit your storage needs.

Here's how to set Auto-Archive in Outlook.

Please note: Your organization may have email retention policies or messaging records management that restrict users' ability to retain messages and other records beyond a specific period of time (as defined by the organization). When applied, these policies take precedence over AutoArchive settings, and the AutoArchive feature is removed from Outlook profiles that are set up to use Microsoft Exchange.