Monday, September 24, 2018

Outlook Archive - A Ticking Time Bomb

by Jack Bates (writer), Alameda, June 15, 2011

A great visualization of what happens to a user's brain when they lose their life's work

Outlook Archives (.pst files) Are The Bane Of It Technicians Everywhere!

There are various size and “depth” limitations to outlook archive files (.pst).

These vary on what version the archive was created in.

2003 – 2 gig
2007 – 20 gig
2010 – 50 gig

The warnings can be changed ( but they are set by the installed version of Office, not the version the archive was created in. There in lies the rub for users that use an archive like a mailbox extension. The very definition of an archive is that you stop using it. You only refer to it if you need to, and then in a read only type fashion. This is why I always referred to these as archive files, like MS does, to drive home the fact that they were not meant or designed to be used the way 99% of users use them, as mailbox extensions. They are not reliable for everyday and extended use.

For everyday and extended use of old email I suggest to users, and do this myself, taking the file out of outlook to your file system (drag/drop) to make a .msg file that can then be used, indexed, searched like a word or excel file if you need to search and use it everyday. The added benefit to this is that each file is then backed up by backup software and not just the archive. It gets rid of a single point of failure.

I migrated many “archive abusers” to this method over the years and once trained they found that they loved it.

If they insist on using archives to do daily email activities you can convert their old .pst formats to new .pst formats that can help with the size issue. Here is a good walk through:

Again, the issue is that these archives were made with limitations that are not acknowledged in the newer versions of Office, but they linger there like ticking time bombs!

About the Writer

Jack Bates is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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