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Saving e-mails

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Question: My boss is a saver. He saves just about every e-mail, needed or not. He is a physician and vice president of a very large health care system. Thus, I understand why he feels the necessity to save everything. The problem is that he "drags and drops" into different folders set up in an archive (.pst's) e-mail tree within MS Outlook. Unfortunately, the .pst files are very vulnerable to self-corruption. (MS Outlook is a very good e-mail system but not such a good "filing cabinet.") He recently lost all of his files due to self-corruption of the .pst files. Our Information Technology department was able to get most of them back after running back-up files.

I’m looking for ideas on how others save their e-mails. My boss loves the drag-and-drop feature due to its ease of use and efficiency. He’s also open to changing his ways on how he saves these e-mails but I need to figure out a better way without using the unstable .pst files. I do know that you can do a "save-as" on e-mails and save them as Word documents, but that takes numerous steps and isn’t very efficient. I’m working with an IT tech and we’re trying to self-educate by getting ideas from others. I am at a loss for what else to do.

Thank you for your thoughts.  -- Michelle G



I save quite a few emails as well, and rather than saving individually, I do a drag and drop from Outlook into a network folder and the messages by default are saved as .msg files. This retains all attachments, which was something I needed, and is obviously very easy. The only drawback I find is that the file details will use the date you moved the messages as the "date modified," which is inconvenient as often the date an email was sent/received is relevant.

Just a note, however: I know that we don't have a MS Exchange server, and although I know there are some resulting differences in functionality I don't know if they relate to this particular issue.

Performance of Microsoft products is often affected by file size.

I, too, must archive many e-mails in the .pst folders. These .pst folders reside on my laptop's hard-drive vor portabilty, but are REGULARLY (!!) backed up to the file server. The IT department pointed out that it is critical to control the size of the .pst files that Outlook will create by spreading out the folders into several .pst groups. You may want to create groups that reference the time period or subject matter. For me, I split the alphabet into 4 groups and have specific project folders scattered throughout them.

This is done using the Services selection under the Tools menu.

After doing this, we have had far fewer instances of file corruption and info loss.

Finally, it is a great idea to burn CD's of the oldest information. Email can always be reloaded and accessed, should a particular message or attachment be needed.

I found a solution that works great. Due to limited space, we have been asked not to save e-mails within folders in Outlook, so our IT folks showed me how to store them elsewhere.

Open Outlook, but minimize it so that it takes up only half of your screen. Then open up Windows Explorer, so that it takes up the other half of the screen. You can drag and drop e-mails directly into a specially-created directory anywhere on your system; the benefit of saving items this way is that they are saved in Outlook e-mail format, not in Word.

We use the drag and drop feature here but our I/T has them on our File Server. However, we save almost all our files in various named folders. When they get too large, we archive past a certain date into an archive folder and take them off the computer. When we need to go back and look at them we just bring back the archived folders and when we complete the search we again take the archive folders off the view.

PST files I've worked with seem to have a 2 GB size limit. After this point data starts to get corrputed.

Once a PST file gets to about 1.5 GB I would stop archieving and create a new PST file. Also, keep data on a server that is backed up by IT and not on the PCs hard drive.

Thanks for all the feedback. I must say that Bernie hit the nail on the head. We have purchased a CD burner and will handle the archives on disk. Out IT dept does not like to back up these huge files.....

Thanks, Bernie.....

I am a Network Coordinator in a MIS department. What I do is create a Personal Folder for my Users and I call it OUTLOOK.pst and I save that folder to their Network Drive where there is much space and it is backed up at night. This folder will show up in your Outlook List and then you can create sub folders under this Personal folder and then drag and drop till you heart desires. This will free up space on the Email server. To create this folder, right click on your OUTLOOK icon and go to Properties and you will add a folder called PERSONNAL and proceed to save as I mentioned above.

While your at it, you should check your SENT Items and DELETED Items folders and clear those out as they will cause an over limit mailbox as well.


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