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Outlook PST’s… Back them up locally, or disable them completely! Here’s how

May 25, 2007

It’s been an ongoing debate.

Some people keep archive PSTs or backup PSTs to store their old email. We’ve all seen PSTs grow too big that are stored on servers causing Outlook slowdowns and/or crashes, which result in client complaints. In fact, Microsoft frowns down on doing this. It is an unsupported practice.

Or, if the PST is stored locally, and there is a hard drive crash with no backup, the user is left with no emails.

Nick over at Addicted to IT recently blogged about this same topic and recommended checking out the Outlook Add-in Personal Folders Backup Tool. The Personal Folders Backup download creates backup copies of your .PST files at regular intervals, in Outlook 2002 and later versions, making it easy to keep all of your Outlook folders safely backed up. So, if your PC does crash, you’re not down the creek without a paddle.

However, Sean Daniel has recommended the obvious, stop PST usage all-together, so backing up PST’s isn’t even an issue anymore. It can be a pain in the arse to set up. Plus if PSTs get to big, it causes Outlook performance issues anyway. And it’s now easy to implement this to all the users in your environment with a little GPO to prevent PST usage.

Check out his blog for easy directions setting this up. If you’ve done GPO work before, it’s a cinch. This policy prevents the PST files from growing (hence writing to PST files) It does not prevent the user from loading up any PST file and reading mail out of it.

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