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Digi-Know – How to Use Outlook as a File Cabinet

Gotcha – You didn’t really think I was going to teach that, did you?  The fact is, that many of you already seem pretty good at it.  And that is the problem. 

In the last week, I have had to rescue more users than usual from email issues relating to size, attachments, speed, and location.  So I will pass on some tips for making your online life a little easier.  Everything in your mailbox determines your email experience.  The amount of email, the size of the messages, the amount and sizes of attachments, the type of attachments and the application required to open them, the location of where they are stored, all control how your emailing world thrives or chokes.

First and foremost…IT IS NOT A FILE CABINET.  And I have probably heard every resaon ever invented as to why it is, or should be, or, or, or, but the bottom line is that as long as you use it, it shouldn’t be a burden, or worse yet, a black hole where things go in, but don’t come out.  Outlook (and other email applications) are for sending and recieving email, and for BREIF storage of messages.  If you think otherwise, here are some things to consider.  Files stored in your My Docs folder or shared folders in pcCentral are treated as files and backed up several times per day.   Email messages are backed up as a database and because of the heavy thrashing, can’t be backed up with the same schedule.  .PST files used in non-Exchange email folders are subject to harder restore issues that normal files, and attachments make it worse.  The larger the .PST file, the longer it takes to load and unload, causing frustration for the user.  It is interesting to watch a client with a 10gb .PST file try to sort for information within the file.  They sit and grumble, and then wait and maybe tap their fingers, etc.  It doesn’t have to be this way.

Here are the methods to employ, to make your email world faster and safer.  Clean it regularly.  Remember to download and store important attachments to your My Docs or Share drive folders.  Safer, and faster.  After doing this, delete the msg fro the inbox.  Remember to delete your “Deleted Items” folder when done with your housekeeping.  I wish I had a quarter fro everyone who told me they cleaned their email, only to find 4.5gb of trash mail sitting in the deleted items folder..  Remember, holding down the shift key while hitting delete will permanently delete unwanted files and msgs.  And don’t forget your “Sent Items” folder, as it is many times the forgotten land of stuff you don’t need.

If you must keep things in your Outlook folders, try to delete anything that has junk attachments (like logos and cute little pictures with the senders signature) that just take up space and speed.  I found one client who got email many times per day from one sender who had 4.5mb of logo file attached to every new msg and reply.  Compound that by any replies back and forth, and the messages got huge, FAST.  We, at pcCentral have always tried to not put limits on email folder size, and with your help, that can continue.

And one last thing to remember.  Just because we do not try to limit message size, we are the exception, not the rule.  The vast majority of email providers have limits of 5, 10, or sometimes 20mb for email individual message size.  If you send them a 67mb message, and they keep saying they never got it, you have probably just found your answer.

The pcCentral Tech Staff want to be your solver’s of problems, but if your tie our hands, it will limit all of our success.

Go forth and make your email world lean and clean.

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