Storing PST file on server

Posted on 2005-04-27
Last Modified: 2008-02-01
We have a 2003 server and 12 XP clients with local pop3 mailboxes and PST files.

I'd like to store the PST files for each PC in a server share for backup purposes.

How is this done and will it make outlook very slow to respond if on a new  100Mb LAN???

Thanks in advance
Question by:scottyboy777
    LVL 19

    Expert Comment

    It depends on the size of the pst files.  What you want to do is entirely possible but the size of the psts might have relevance on your network.  Also worth noting is that PST files tend to sometimes appear as "corrupt" files when they are backed up by a server backup solution.  
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    This should work fine, especially considering the size of your network.

    You could consider local PC pst file storing (for speed) and use the Outlook backup option to copy to the server at close of play.

    Just a thought.

    LVL 30

    Expert Comment

    or set up home drives for the users and they can backup email to their own pst file in their home drive. As it'll be on the server when you do a server backup you will backup their pst files as well
    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Just map a drive to the server or use and existing mapped drive.  Go into outlook and the click Tools -- Options.  Click the Mail Setup Tab and select data files.  This will tell you the current location of the .pst File.  Go to that location and copy  the .pst file into the network drive.  Now in the Data Files Remove the existing location and add a new entry pointing to your network drive.

    It should load fine as far as speed.  If you use roaming profiles the logon time will probally increase because you do not have to load that big outlook.pst file everytime
    LVL 9

    Expert Comment

    I set this up at the last place I worked and it worked just fine.  Each user had a personal home drive setup in Active Directory, we then added a personal folder in each users home drive where they could copy any email that they wanted to save.  In your situation you will just want to move the location of thier pst file and not create another one like we did.  On out 100mb LAN users were able to access thier email just fine.
    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    This is the exact way that i use PST files, stored on a network share, and it isn't slow at all. We have a 100mb like you, and it works great for backup purposes. It is adviseable to let people know that they need to keep their archived mail clean, and not have to many large emails with attachments saved, othewise their shares will create a storage issue on your network.

    There are over 10 users doing it this way, and have been for the past two years, and we haven't had any issues, and the PST files are all backed up daily with our regular rotation.

    LVL 13

    Expert Comment

    Just reading my comment and when I wrote "If you use roaming profiles the logon time will probally increase because you do not have to load that big outlook.pst file everytime"

    What It should of said was  "If you use roaming profiles the logon time will probally decrease because you do not have to load that big outlook.pst file everytime"


    Expert Comment

    Before switching to exchange I had all my users PST files on the server. It worked fine performance wise for me, but you'll need to keep an eye on the file sizes over time.

    As for how to do it, that's pretty easy. Make the destination folder on your server and I'd add a script to mapped drives on all the clients (or do it manually).
    With that done, on each client:

    I believe outlook has to be closed in order to change the delivery folder so with outlook closed:
    goto the control panel
    open mail
    open email accounts
    email---view or change is the default, click next
    you should see your POP account here, select it.
    at the bottom is the dropdown box for where the mail is stored.
    click "create new data file" and create a new PST file in your server folder
    Set the deliver location to the new PST.
    go back and open outlook, which should be empty.
    Use the file/import to import all the mail and subfolders from the local PST.
    One advantage to this method is that you can open the PST files on the server from any computer on the network should a workstation go down or need maintenance, though the PST file can only be open on one machine at a time. If you have users logging in at multiple computers and their POP account is setup on more than one, they will get an error message and outlook won't start on the second machine if outlook isn't closed on the first.

    Jason's recommenation of keeping the PST local and using the clients backup to push the backup file to the server also works well so you might want to setup a couple machines both ways and see which you like better.

    Hope that helps.


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