Outlook - Viewing Older Mail

When accessing your email in desktop Outlook, you may find that it only shows emails from the past 3 months, and at the bottom of each folder listing there is the message "Currently displaying all messages newer than 3 months."

For performance reasons, the default behaviour in desktop Outlook on UNBC-owned Windows computers is to cache a local copy of email. For storage and performance reasons, the default cache length is 3 months.

If you need to access emails older than 3 months, you have the following options available:


1.) Use Outlook on the Web (aka OWA) to access the mailbox: 

  • If you need to open a shared mailbox using the Web Portal, see the Shared Mailbox Access KB article for instructions on two different ways to access a Shared Mailbox via OWA.


2.) If this issue is just with Shared Mailbox(es), turn off cached mode for Shared Mailboxes in Outlook (see instructions below)

  • This may result in performance issues, such as Outlook taking longer to load the content of emails or switch between emails


3.) If none of the above work, you can ask ITS to unlock the cached mode settings on your account. This will allow you to adjust the cache length to your preference (see instructions below)

  • The cache length will affect both your personal mailbox and all Shared Mailboxes you have access to
  • The default cache length is to cache all mail. This can potentially take up a lot of space if you have a large mailbox, and Outlook will take a while to show your email and become usable the first time you log into a new computer (or a computer you haven't used for a while).
  • You can request this using the Email & Calendar - General Service Request

Turn off cached mode for Shared Mailboxes (Option #2)

  1. In Outlook, select File > Account Settings > Account Settings
  2. Double-click your email address (or select your email address, then the Change... button)
  3. Select the More Settings button, then the Advanced tab
  4. Remove the check mark next to Download shared folders
  5. Select OK, then Next, then Done, then Close
  6. Exit and re-launch Outlook
  7. Outlook will probably take longer than usual to load, as it flushes the existing cache for the shared mailbox(es).
  8. After it finishes loading, you should see all the available mail in all Shared Mailbox folders

Adjust Outlook cache length (Option #3)

After ITS has informed you that cached mode settings have been unlocked for your account, you must:

  1. Apply the settings change to your workstation by either:
    1. Waiting for 90 minutes, or
    2. Logging out of your workstation and back in, or
    3. Open a Command Prompt and run the command: gpupdate /force
  2. Exit and re-launch Outlook

Once you're back into Outlook, you must:

  1. Select File > Account Settings > Account Settings
  2. Double-click your email address (or select your email address, then the Change... button)
  3. The "Download email for the past:" slider should be accessible, and allow you to adjust to your preferred length of cache
    • If the slider is greyed-out and inaccessible, try a full computer reboot. If still greyed out and inaccessible after that, reply back to your ITS ticket for further assistance.
  4. After adjusting the slider, select Next, then Done, then Close
  5. Exit and re-launch Outlook.
  6. Outlook will probably take longer than usual to load. After it finishes loading, it will also take some time to download and cache the additional email. It will show the current status at the bottom right of the Outlook window. Once it says "All folders are up to date", the caching is complete.


Article ID: 2594
Fri 11/26/21 10:10 AM
Tue 5/9/23 10:57 AM