Best practices for managing Personal folder (PST) files in Outlook

Level: - Intermediate
Platform: - windows Xp, Windows me, windows 98, Windows 2000 professional
Keywords: - : best practices for managing Personal folder (PST) files in Outlook
Author: - Dinesh Aggarwal

In a Microsoft Exchange environment, PST files have evolved into one of the most popular personal storage areas. PST file can be saved anywhere on the network that the user decides.  If PST files are not managed properly they may result in very slow response in accessing your mail box. It may even result in loss of important and confidential data if back of the pst files is not taken properly.

Managing PST size: 

By default, .pst files are in the Unicode format (can store unlimited data) in Outlook 2007 and in Outlook 2003, but the best practice is to keep your PST files well below the 2 GB (though .pst files in outlook 2003 & 2007 can store unlimited data but practical limited is suggested up to 2 GB)  If you have a lot of items you are storing, break it out into multiple PST files, this is fully supported and will prevent a lot of frustration and potential data loss.

Another drawback to large PST files is performance.  The more data that is accumulated in the file, the slower the performance will be when accessing and finding items in the file.  Keeping your PST file size in check will help you maintain acceptable performance.

Managing PST location:

Since PST files are portable, they can be stored almost anywhere on your network that is accessible by your PC.  If you have multiple PST’s taking up excessive disk space for example, a great solution is to store the file(s) on a network server. 

Password protection on your PST files:  If you choose to apply password protection to your PST keep in mind that if you forget the password, your PST file will be inaccessible.

Encryption and compression: 

It is not recommend the use of compression and encryption of PST files.  Although it can manage the size somewhat, and improve security, the performance hit can be significant, and in certain circumstances can make your data inaccessible.

Creating a PST file:-

This example shows how to create a new pst file on Microsoft outlook 2003.Open the Microsoft outlook mailbox,

 click on File – New—Outlook Data File. The following screen will come

managing pst files

Click in the forst option – Office Outlook Personal Folder File (.pst) and click ok.

Select a location on your PC where you would like to store your PST files, click ok and select no compression.

That’s it, you have created a new PST file. Now you can move your mails into this pst files by just dragging and dropping the mails.

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