Outlook default archive folder storage (Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010)

mgedlaman used Ask the Experts™
I look after a small-med. enterprise.  The users are instructed to save their archived email to a network drive that is redundantly backed up.  However, some users still have archived .pst files that are stored locally on their computers (not backed up).

I would like to accomplish the following, but am not sure how:

1. Change the default archive storage directories on all of their computers (some use terminal server, some users use Outlook locally on their PC; Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010 are all present)

2. Move their current archived .pst files that are on their local hard drive to the network drive and tell outlook where to look for the file next time it opens (I'm hoping to do this on a volume basis and not have to do these individually).
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How many users would be doing this?  Unfortunately .pst files on a network location is actually unsupported because of how inefficient Outlook is at attaching to these files.  Not saying not to do it just because it is unsupported, but just a few dozen users connecting to .pst files on a share at the same time can bring a file server to its knees.


On Windows 7 systems one option might be to make a Windows backup of directories containing the .pst files and then copy those backups to a central location on a schedule.


Thank you for the replay tjs:

Sorry, the network drive is an iomega ix-400d unit.  gigabit lan connection.  etc.

I have 75+ users doing this with no problems that are described in the KB article...I wonder if the article is geared towards just the primary "inbox" file?  These TS clients and AD clients are all using .ost files as their primary "inbox", and the .pst files are all the archive files.  

If the KB article is talking about all the archive files as well, then I'm not sure how to create an archive file in outlook as a .ost?

Otherwise, making a copy of all .pst files on their local machines up to the network storage location is not an option as 30-50% of the users are mobile and take their equipment home for the night, and sometimes do not return to the office for a day, week, month or so, depending on their situation with the company (cannot work in the office for physical reasons, are mobile workers and travel the globe, etc.).

Right now, I'm thinking about moving to a solution where their network drive is "available offline" so they can get their archived email on the road, and when they connect back to the office, their new data is updated on the server.
The solution is both not recommended and complex as you would need to modify everyone's  (or create a new) outlook profile with a new archive location, script the move of all archive files and somehow consolidate them, however some may have many archives...
Having the users do some of the work by redirecting, resetting the archive location once you've moved them will not stop new installations from deciding on a local default location nor guarantee that users will correctly complete all steps. But it may get you off the hook if you can get everyone to co-operate.

I would manually search and source all archives initially and look at setting up archiving on the server if it is that important. I'd prefer to use exchange store only and ban pst's and ost's altogether.

Maybe this will help if your prepared for the pain:


debuggerau, sorry, I was on holidays.  Back now.  
I like the sounds of using the exchange store only, can you point me to a resourse where I can learn about how to do that?  Will that impact users in a radio office on a slow WAN link to the server in the main office?


I agree that storing archived .psts in a NAS and having the users loading that .pst and reading/writing to it there is a bad idea (especially if the users are connecting remotely).  

However, finding a way to accomplish this properly sounds like it's going to be more difficult than I thought...funny though, there's a pile of administrators here, yet no one has a proper solution for something I would think is pretty standard.

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