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Outlook PST File Management

Posted on 2009-04-09
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Last Modified: 2012-05-06
Hello Experts,

I have a problem. I'm the IT guy for a rapidly growing small business. A year and a half ago we had 4 people (including me) now we are up to 20 employees and a whole lot of emails going back and forth. We deal with customized promotional promotional so alot of the emails going back and forth have artwork and logo attachments for approval and revisions. As you can imagine the pst files grow VERY quickly. I have 2 perticular employees that fill up the 2 gig pst limit within a month. I know how to archive emails and split the pst files into archived files and trying to keep them under 2gigs (we all run office 2007). However here's my dilemma. I store all active (main) pst files on windows 2k3 server for easy backup, there's a daily/weekly/monthly backup schedule on the server. I keep archived pst files on users local machines to minimize network traffic. Local users machines do not get backed up and there are times when they really must be accessed. What I'd like to know is what other people use for a retention time. What would be a good standard to implement beyond which emails are no longer stored. And lastly what do i do with those employees that absolutely must keep their emails as far back as possible such as order processors that deal directly with suppliers and need to be able to pull up an email with attachment from 2 yrs ago at a whim.
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Question by:iPromoExpert
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by:MrMintanet
ID: 24110960
What version of outlook are you using?
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by:MrMintanet
ID: 24110969
Sorry.  I missed it.  Um... .pst files in Outlook 2007 can get up to 20GB.
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by:MrMintanet
ID: 24110979
I would also suggest getting an exchange server.  Who is your ISP?  Why aren't you keeping copies of your email on the ISP server?
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by:iPromoExpert
ID: 24111095
20 gigs from what i'm gathering is a theoretical number, most users experience very very slow search and indexing speed when pst files get over 3 gigs. My bosses pst file corrupted at 3.10 gigs and i'm having a hella time trying to restore it, turned out that his pst file was not part of the back up procedures... DOH :( we are not using an isp for our email i actually have a qmail server running on a dedicated linux machine offsite and i do store emails there for 1 yr, however there they are no indexable by outlook and quick search by order number to find artwork is what we are after. Will exchange solve all my woes?
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by:MrMintanet
ID: 24111162
Yes.  It sounds like you've got a bit of planning to do.  IMHO, you sound very disorganized.  I would strongly suggest consorting with some personal friends to physically survey the site and help you come up with a better solution.  Once you have the basis for what you're going to do to restructure this, I will be more than happy to review it.  
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by:iPromoExpert
ID: 24111164
by the way scanpst.exe did nothing to restore the corrupted file. I am currently trying Kernel for Outlook it seems to be restoring it, but its been running on a quad core machine for almost 8 hours and is not even 10% done.
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MrMintanet earned 500 total points
ID: 24111202
I would highly suggest getting an Exchange server established ASAP.
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by:iPromoExpert
ID: 24111506
As this was a two part question, are there any standards for email data retention time?
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by:MrMintanet
ID: 24111606
It completely varies depending upon users, bandwidth consumption, and many other variables.  Use MXLogic.com for data archival.  They're very cheap.
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