Tech Tip 5 - Outlook Personal Folders

Published: 9/26/2012 8:06 AM

​Last week we discussed e-mail limits and alerts. This week we’ll delve into personal folders and how these folders can help you manage e-mail more efficiently. Personal folders are also referred to as “.pst files” because “.pst” is the file extension, much like “.doc” is the extension for a Word document or “.xls” is the extension for an Excel file. 

As you may recall, all e-mail stored in your expanded folder named “Mailbox – LastName, FirstName” in Outlook is a direct mirror of the e-mail stored on the messaging server. However, all mail stored in personal folders (.pst files) is not held on the e-mail server and does not count against your e-mail limits.
Most people have at least one personal folder configured in Microsoft Outlook. The number of personal folders you keep and configure is largely based on your individual need. Moving items between personal folders and the Inbox (or other folders) is as simple as dragging and dropping the messages. You also can right-click on one or more messages, select the “Move to Folder” option, navigate to where you’d like the messages moved, select a folder and then select OK.
Tip – Depending on the type of network account you have, adding only one personal folder in Outlook can provide you with up to 30 times more storage space than what is provided by storing your messages in your inbox, sent items, etc. When configuring personal folders you can also choose for the “.pst” to reside on the network server as opposed to having them on your workstation. The network server is backed up nightly, so this is an attractive option for some people. If you choose to store a “.pst” on the network, please note that this folder will not be accessible unless you’re connected to the network in the office or via the VPN externally.
Important travel fact – As you travel over this holiday season, please keep this in mind: According to Dell, more than 12,000 laptops go missing at American airports each week. Los Angeles reported the most thefts, with an average of 1,200 laptops lost or stolen at LAX weekly. According to CNET News, 97 percent of stolen PCs are never recovered. To a thief, a laptop is like instant money. A stolen laptop can easily be sold for $200 to $800. In the event of a loss, you’re also at risk for losing sensitive data and possible identity theft. It is best if you treat your laptop like a stack of $20 bills. You wouldn’t leave a stack of money sitting on the x-ray machine in the airport unattended or in the backseat of a parked car. The LA Weekly, a newsletter for Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory employees, offers some advice for tech-lugging travelers: “Only take a laptop if it’s really necessary to your trip and give yourself lots of time to avoid mistakes made more likely by having to hurry. Airports are a physical and mental obstacle course.”
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