External Outlook Mail Files

Outlook can store mail messages in a personal .PST file which you create. This .PST mail file can be on a USB thumbdrive which you can lock away for security of confidential data, for example.

Procedure to create an external Outlook mail file on a USB thumbdrive:

  1. mount an appropriate USB thumbdrive
  2. create a folder in an appropriate place on that thumbdrive
  3. start Outlook (if it is not already running)
  4. use Outlook to open that folder and create a new PST file
  5. use Outlook to move or copy appropriate mail mesasges to the new mail folder
  6. exit from Outlook
  7. dismount the USB thumbdrive
  8. lock the thumbdrive away somewhere safe.

Procedure to access an external Outlook file on a USB thumbdrive:

  1. exit from Outlook if it is running
  2. mount the thumbdrive
  3. start Outlook
  4. use Outlook to open the external mail folder

How to create external Outlook mailbox files (details)

This procedure describes how to create an external mail folder. It will be on a thumbdrive and separate from the folders in your main personal mailbox on Cornell's Exchange server. An external mail folder is kept in an Outlook .PST file which you must create.

  1. Mount an appropriate USB thumbdrive (perhaps as F:)
  2. Create a folder on your thumbdrive which you want to be used to hold email files. This is done outside of Outlook.
    1. Double-click on "My Computer"
    2. Navigate to your thumbdrive.
    3. Right-click in that window and create a New Folder named (perhaps) usb_mail
  3. Start Outlook (if it is not already running)
  4. Use Outlook to open that folder and create a new PST file
    1. Select the menu item File --> New --> Outlook Data File... (at the bottom)
    2. In the new grey popup window, select the line "Outlook Office Personal Folders File (.pst)" (this is the default)
    3. Click on OK
    4. A new file browser window opens, titled "Create an Open Outlook Data File". In that new window, browse to your thumbdrive:
      1. Select and open (double click on) "My Computer"
      2. Select and open double click on) your thumbdrive
      3. Select and open (double click on) the folder that you created above (perhaps named usb_mail)
      4. At the bottom of the window, in the "File Name" field, change "Personal Folders(1).pst" to something more appropriate (perhaps usb_mail.pst) Note: You can choose any name but it is easier to keep track of it if it has the same name as the folder.
      5. Click on OK
    5. A new window opens, titled "Create Microsoft Personal Folders"
      1. Change the contents of the "Name:" field to be similar to contents of the "File:" field. This "Name:" is what will appear in Outlook's list of folders. You can use any name, but it should be memorable and recognizable. The default "Personal Folders" is neither.
      2. Ignore the password field. Outlook's PST passwords are easily recovered/broken. PGP should be used to encrypt the contents of the USB thumbdrive if that is necessary..
      3. Click on OK
    6. The newly created folder should appear in Outlook's "All Mail Folders" list. If it doesn't appear, open the PST file:
      1. Select the Menu item File --> Open --> Outlook Data File
      2. Navigate to the location where you just now created the Outlook .PST data file and Select (double-click on) it.
  5. Use Outlook to move or copy appropriate mail mesages to the new mail folder. Use the normal Outlook procedures to create folders inside it, if necessary -- perhaps to correspond to the original email folders in your main Outlook folders.
  6. Exit from Outlook (If you don't exit, you won't be able to dismount the thumbdrive.)
  7. Dismount the USB thumbdrive: right-click on its icon and select the menu item Eject
  8. Lock the thumbdrive away somewhere safe.

Note: Outlook will always list the mail folder that you have created using this procedure, whether or not the thumbdrive is mounted. However, if you try to access the folder when the thumbdrive is not mounted, Outlook will generate an error popup, complaining that it can't find the file. When you want to read the messages stored in that file, you should exit from Outlook, mount the thumbdrive, and then restart Outlook.

-- SeldenBall - 2010-05-06
Topic revision: r1 - 06 May 2010, seb
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