Coordinating With Laptop

Posted on 1998-08-23
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-04-08
I have a small network in my home/office.  It consists of a single desktop, and a single laptop.  They are networked using a BNC Cable.
It would be good if I could synchronise my outlook contacts/tasks/calender etc between the laptop and the desktop in a briefcase type way.
How can I do this?
Question by:trevena
  • 3

Expert Comment

ID: 1621450
There are a number of approaches, depending on the exact kind of synch you want to have, and how automatic you would like the process to be.

Let's get some basics out of the way, shall we?

- Operating system on desktop machine?
- OS on laptop?
- Version of Outlook (97, 98)?
- Do you always use JUST the desktop or laptop, or do you sometimes SWITCH back and forth within a given work day (e.g. use them both at your desk)?
- Is there any way you can use Microsoft Exchange Server, or would that be too much for you to manage?

The most straightforward approach would be to actually use the Windows Briefcase, combined with PST (Outlook personal folder) files. But depending on your setup, letting Exchange Server store everything (and then having it synchronize independently with both the desktop and the laptop machine, as "shadowed" offline folders) might be most fully-automatic solution. That approach will also help you keep your head screwed on straight and avoid questions like "which is the most recent version of my Contacts folder?" I speak from experience when I say such issues can be migraine-inducing.

Author Comment

ID: 1621451
The OS on the laptop and desktop is Win95.
I use Outlook 97.
I will generally switch back and forth in a given work day.
I could probably cope with setting up MS Exchange on my computer.  Bear in mind that I only have the 2 computers though, and when I set up MS Exchange Services as part of outlook, it looks as if you need a dedicated server to set it up.  Of course, I might be completely wrong.

Keeping my head srewed on straight sounds like a top call, so Fully-automaticus sounds cool.

Expert Comment

ID: 1621452
What I meant was for you to run Exchange SERVER somewhere. Both your PCs run Win95 so that's not an option.

I think the best approach for you is to create two profiles on the Laptop: one for when you're Docked (connected to your mini-LAN), another for when you're Undocked (e.g. travelling).

There are in fact two different sets of profiles involved: at one level you have Win95 hardware profiles, which you have perhaps already set up, and at another level you have Outlook / Windows messaging profiles.

All of your Outlook information is currently stored in a single PST file. You shouldn't run Outlook on the desktop and laptop at the same time, ever, because you'll have no way to reconcile where the most recent information is stored.

This PST file should reside on your desktop PC, in a directory that you will share. Let's assume the name of the shared resource is OLPST (That's the "Network Neighborhood" name of some directory, say C:\Outlook\PSTs).

Set up your laptop to connect a "virtual drive" to this share whenever it boots up "Docked." Whenever you're going to travel, copy your main PST file to the laptop (leave the original on your desktop as a backup). While you're travelling, your laptop contains the "controlling" copy of your Personal Folders, contacts, tasks, etc.

When you return from travel, rename the backup PST file on your desktop PC, copy the new PST file over from the laptop to the desktop, and you're done.

I don't know which aspects of what I've outlined above are familiar to you or not, so add a comment letting me know what's clear to you and what isn't, and I'll elaborate as appropriate.

LVL 10

Accepted Solution

MasseyM earned 400 total points
ID: 1621453
This is much simpler than people try to make it... Just copy the PST files from one computer to the other for your email messages... Copy your x:\Program Files\Common Files\Outlook\ files to the same place on your other computer... That will "synchronize" both computers... There isn't much synchronization going on, but this will make you have the same thing on both computers... No server or fancy software needed...


Expert Comment

ID: 1621454
MasseyM, I find your persistent habit of paraphrasing my comments, and posting them as proposed answers, annoying an immature. I've seen you do this with other experts' input as well.

Did you even take the time to read this question's history? Copying PST files is exactly what I'm suggesting, but if you had read the question more carefully you would know it's not the optimal solution for trevena's problem.

There's no rush, OK? Take the time to read the entire thread before putting your 2 cents in. You're obviously smart and knowledgeable, but your haste in answering reduces the potential value of your contribution.


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