Updated: 2009-04-09

Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 folders are where items are stored — such as new e-mail messages (Inbox folder), sent e-mail messages (Sent Items folder), or saved e-mail messages (folders that you can create). Messages are not stored in Search Folders. Search Folders are virtual folders that contain views of all e-mail items matching specific search criteria.


This topic is for Outlook administrators. To configure Search Folders in Outlook on your computer, see Configure Search Folder options.

You can lock down the settings to customize Search Folders by using the Outlook Group Policy template (Outlk12.adm). Or you can configure default settings by using the Office Customization Tool (OCT), in which case users can change the settings. The OCT settings are in corresponding locations on the Modify user settings page of the OCT.

The Outlook template and other ADM files can be downloaded from 2007 Office System Administrative Templates (ADM) on the Microsoft Download Center.

To configure Search Folder options by using Group Policy

  1. In Group Policy, load the Office Outlook 2007 template (Outlk12.adm).

  2. Under User Configuration\Administrative Templates\Microsoft Office Outlook 2007\Search Folders, double-click a Search Folders configuration option such as Keep search folders offline.

  3. Click Enabled.

  4. Select the setting you want, and then click OK.


If users use Search Folders with Exchange Server online (using a mailbox on the Exchange server) rather than with Cached Exchange Mode, the number of users that can be supported by the Exchange server might be decreased.

The settings you can configure for Search Folders are shown below:

Search Folder option Description

Keep search folders offline

Specifies the number of days to keep a Search Folder active when running in offline mode.

Keep search folders in Exchange online

Specifies the number of days to keep a Search Folder active when running in online mode.

Default search folders at startup

Specifies whether to create the standard default Search Folders when Outlook starts for the first time.

Maximum Number of Online Search Folders per Mailbox

Specifies the maximum number of Search Folders for Exchange. Does not affect the number of Search Folders on a client computer.

More information about configuring Search Folders

Search Folders display the results of previously defined search queries of your Outlook folders. The e-mail messages remain stored in one or more Outlook folders. Each Search Folder is a saved search that is kept up to date, monitoring all Outlook folders for new items that match the criteria of the Search Folder.

When users create a Search Folder, they have a number of default Search Folder options to choose from, such as Mail with attachments or Mail from specific people. They can also create custom Search Folders.

You can configure how long Search Folders remain active for Cached Exchange Mode accounts and for online Exchange Server accounts. You can specify the number of days after which Search Folders become dormant — that is, items listed in the Search Folder are no longer up to date with current searches of Outlook folders. A dormant Search Folder appears in italics in a user's Navigation Pane. When a user opens a dormant Search Folder, the view is refreshed and the elapsed time count begins again.

The time period that you specify with this setting begins the last time that a user clicked the Search Folder. You can specify a different number of days for users in Exchange online mode and in Cached Exchange Mode. Separate counts are maintained for each Search Folder for each mode. The default value is 60 days. If you specify zero days, Search Folders in Exchange online mode are always dormant.

You can also limit the number of Search Folders allowed in each user mailbox, or you can disable the Search Folders user interface altogether.

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