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Implementing outlook roaming profiles.

Hi all, I have a Windows 2003 installation and a number of domain users. I've implemented folder redirection of my Documents and have user profiles stored on the server. Currently i'm making changes to allow the users to be able to log into other machines on the network and have their outlook mail available. The way i'm doing this is as follows.
a) Using file explorer, copy the user's pst file from the C drive (Documents and Settings) to the users's Application Data directory on the server (as set up automatically when implementing folder redirection)
b) Open Outlook which then complains that it cant find the pst file but then allows you to specify the path
c) Specify the path to the server Application Data directory
d) Reopen outlook which is then happy with the new location
User can then log into other machines and pick up their mail. Question is, is there a better way? i.e through Active directory or GPO etc?
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javabeat
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javabeat
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tigermattCommented:
Note that accessing PST files over a network is not a supported configuration. The better way around this problem would be to either invest in an Exchange or some other mail server which allows for much better collaboration anyway. Alternatively you could set it up so users get their mail via IMAP instead of POP3, which means the mail is stored at your ISP and then Outlook goes off and retrieves it when the user requests it. This is a supported Outlook configuration and wouldn't need the PSTs to be moved around since no mail is stored in them (except sent items).
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tigermattCommented:
Not all ISPs support IMAP though so you'd need to find out if they do or not, and if they do support it get the appropriate server addresses to configure outlook with. Email is still sent the same way through SMTP.
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javabeatAuthor Commented:
good points there. I looked into sorting out exchange but the company i'm working with dont have (nor can affort) full time IT staff. Exchange I think needs that kind of resource as once you've committed to it, it underpins an awful lot of information. Its a small company of perhaps 30 people, and a charity too hence its probably not the way to go here. In terms of IMAP, does that mean that all mail would be stored on the host? I'm guessing you'd need a fairly big host if you have users with large attachments etc. I'd also have the concern that it might cane the internet connection?
When you say the pst files are not supported other than locally, is there good reasons for this? i.e is there known problems in doing this?

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tigermattCommented:
Hi again

Firstly, IMAP. Yes, it does require a lot of storage since all mail is stored at the host. It shouldn't cause any problems with your internet connection provided users aren't all downloading large attachments at the same time! (Assuming you have a reasonably fast DSL line)

Here's a Microsoft article which explains their stance on PST files: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297019 Basically it's because, in their words, ".pst files are not meant to be a long-term, continuous-use method of storing messages in an enterprise environment".

Personally, I would see that investing in an Exchange server would solve your problems and shouldn't need full time IT staff, once it's installed that's it. (With regular backups of course) However I do understand that since it's a charity, it is obviously very difficult when it comes to money. I'm sure you might possibly be able to get a discount for Exchange from Microsoft though since you're a charity? You'd have to enquire but that's definitely the way I would go.

If your current system of moving the PST though works fine then you could carry on using that, but *carefully*. And I but emphasis on carefully. Be wary of the Outlook 2GB PST limit and what is outlined in the above Microsoft article.

Let me know how you get on.
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