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Solve the Email Quota Problem with Personal Folders in Microsoft Outlook

Posted on: July 27th, 2012 by TERESA MCCARVER

The need for centralized electronic data storage continues to increase at corporations and educational institutions nationwide. At the University of Mississippi, Information Technology (IT) provides 500 MB of storage space for each UM Mail (Exchange) account on our central Exchange server. Understandably for some employees, more email storage space is needed.

One solution is to use personal folders within Microsoft Outlook. Personal folders are Outlook data files used to store email locally on your computer instead of the UM Mail server. By using personal folders, you may reduce your storage needs on the UM Mail server and avoid email quota warning messages.

Creating Personal Folders

After determining the UM Mail content that can be moved to personal folders, the next steps in creating personal folders will depend on your version of Outlook. We have instructions for Outlook 2007/2010 on the Windows Platform as well as Outlook 2011 on OS X (Macintosh). Once the personal folders have been created, moving messages from UM Mail folders to personal folders is as simple as highlighting the messages and dragging them into a personal folder. To avoid dropping the messages in the wrong folder, use the Move menu option. To use the Move option, select the message or folder you want to move then right click, select Move and finally choose the destination folder. You can also select multiple messages to move at one time.

Please remember that any messages in your personal folders are stored on your local computer hard drive and not on the UM Mail server. If you check UM Mail from an iPhone or the UM Mail web interface, the messages stored in personal folders will not be visible. Also, be sure to back up your personal folders (i.e., .pst files) weekly to another drive such as an encrypted USB drive. Please contact the IT Helpdesk for assistance with creating, organizing or backing up personal folders.

Final Thoughts

Besides personal folders for secure email storage, IT staff members are currently evaluating centralized email archiving solutions. Products such as Symantec Enterprise Vault provide integration with Outlook but would allow IT to offer centralized email storage, up to 5 GB per UM Mail account. Stay tuned.