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  1. #1
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    Some months ago, I discussed here transferring my Outlook 2007 file ("Outlook.pst") from my desktop (64-bit Windows 7 and Outlook 2007) to my laptop (likewise, but 32-bit Windows 7) temporarily, then back again when I return from an upcoming trip. The trip is next week, and the closer I get the more hesitant I am to do this, simply because my Outlook.pst file is far and away the most used and irreplaceable (yes, I do back it up but prefer not having to recover the backup) single file I use. That said, I am trying to overcome my paranoia about the risk and convince myself to make the transfer sometime before I board an airplane early next week. <sigh> It is my understanding, based on my previous string here that all I need to do is the following:

    1. Copy the "Outlook.pst" file in the desktop to the same directory and location in my laptop.

    2. Check the account settings, reenter if necessary, so mail will download normally. (Question: If I transfer the Outlook.pst file, won't these settings come with it?)

    3. Transfer Outlook.pst file back to the desktop upon return.

    Am I missing anything? If I transfer the Outlook.pst file, am I correct to assume all the self-created filters and mail filters will come with it and function normally? Before I try it, is there anything else I should know or do that is not specifically mentioned above? Please forgive my obvious paranoia about doing this, but if you knew how important this one file is to me, you would understand my reasons for wanting to make sure every "i" is dotted and "t" crossed before I try to make the transfer.

    I thank you in advance for any suggestions or advice before I jump out of the frying pan into the fire. :-(

    David E. Cann

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    I sympathize entirely, as I worry about the same things.

    One suggestion is to go (in Outlook) to Tools|E-mail Accounts|Internet E-mail Settings|More Settings|Advanced, and at the bottom you will find Delivery, with a box to Leave a copy of the message on the server and two other boxes with options as to how long you will leave them on the server.

    If you leave the message on the server (with your chosen options) then it is simple: you will receive the message on both (or more) computers, each independently of the other. That applies to mail only: calendars and all that have to be dealt with by other means. It also means that you must have an ISP that allows it, and I don't know myself how much that varies. It also eliminates any worries about 64-bit versus 32-bit. It does, however, mean that you actually have to check the mail (automatically or otherwise) on both computers within time span you have set the server to to retain it if you want to maintain an audit trail.

    In today's world you might also remember that when you go on the road there is nothing to stop you from leaving the home computer running (set to wake up, for example) and log on to it from a distance, using its greater computing power and resources to suit heavy-duty needs.

    Finally, we have The Cloud, for better or for worse. You can have a full suite of programs at your disposal free of charge, and I believe it is to be significantly upgraded by Microsoft within a couple of weeks. Now is a convenient time to set up an account, especially on a portable, whether you choose to use it or not.

    Edited to add: I guess I have slightly missed the mark by talking about email to the exclusion of all else. Don't forget that in copying the *.pst file you are indeed copying, and you will end up with the same contents on both computers. You are not moving anything - you are copying it, and I think it makes sense to maintain it on both computers. The only problem is in keeping them in sync once you have done it, and I have suggested a convenient means of keeping the email in sync without forcing the computers to talk to one another on that account, which lets you roam for as long as you like with you laptop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterg View Post
    I sympathize entirely, as I worry about the same things.

    One suggestion is to go (in Outlook) to Tools|E-mail Accounts|Internet E-mail Settings|More Settings|Advanced, and at the bottom you will find Delivery, with a box to Leave a copy of the message on the server and two other boxes with options as to how long you will leave them on the server.

    If you leave the message on the server (with your chosen options) then it is simple: you will receive the message on both (or more) computers, each independently of the other. That applies to mail only: calendars and all that have to be dealt with by other means. It also means that you must have an ISP that allows it, and I don't know myself how much that varies. It also eliminates any worries about 64-bit versus 32-bit. It does, however, mean that you actually have to check the mail (automatically or otherwise) on both computers within time span you have set the server to to retain it if you want to maintain an audit trail.

    In today's world you might also remember that when you go on the road there is nothing to stop you from leaving the home computer running (set to wake up, for example) and log on to it from a distance, using its greater computing power and resources to suit heavy-duty needs.

    Finally, we have The Cloud, for better or for worse. You can have a full suite of programs at your disposal free of charge, and I believe it is to be significantly upgraded by Microsoft within a couple of weeks. Now is a convenient time to set up an account, especially on a portable, whether you choose to use it or not.

    Edited to add: I guess I have slightly missed the mark by talking about email to the exclusion of all else. Don't forget that in copying the *.pst file you are indeed copying, and you will end up with the same contents on both computers. You are not moving anything - you are copying it, and I think it makes sense to maintain it on both computers. The only problem is in keeping them in sync once you have done it, and I have suggested a convenient means of keeping the email in sync without forcing the computers to talk to one another on that account, which lets you roam for as long as you like with you laptop.

    Peterg,

    Thank you for the quick response and your cautions, but that does not answer my original question. Can I simply copy the Outlook.pst file to the same location in my laptop, then continue downloading and receiving email from that location, not to mention returning the same file to the original location in my desktop afterwards and doing the same? That is my understanding, but it sounds almost "too easy to be true" and before I do it and risk damaging a VERY important file I want to make sure of what I am doing and that I am not somehow missing a step or two.

    David E. Cann

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    Quote Originally Posted by decann View Post
    Peterg,

    Thank you for the quick response and your cautions, but that does not answer my original question. Can I simply copy the Outlook.pst file to the same location in my laptop, then continue downloading and receiving email from that location, not to mention returning the same file to the original location in my desktop afterwards and doing the same? That is my understanding, but it sounds almost "too easy to be true" and before I do it and risk damaging a VERY important file I want to make sure of what I am doing and that I am not somehow missing a step or two.
    To the best of my knowledge, yes, but let me re-emphasize that you are copying, not moving, and nothing is at risk on your source computer. At the same time, however, you may be using different software entirely on each computer for the handingly of your of your mail - you might be using Kasperski to scan and filter email on one computer, and a different utility on the other. If you want them to be identical then that aspect of it must be identical, with exactly the same rules, and you might encounter a difference between 64-bit and 32-bit on that account (I would be interested in the answer to that one myself). If you are going to run the two simultaneously, as I suggested, then the big question is What is the best way to keep them in sync? (There should be lots of information available on that.)

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    I had better correct myself to say that I believe you have to set up Outlook itself on the second computer to match the first, because the PST files only contain your data -- the program and settings must all be in place to receive it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterg View Post
    To the best of my knowledge, yes, but let me re-emphasize that you are copying, not moving, and nothing is at risk on your source computer. At the same time, however, you may be using different software entirely on each computer for the handingly of your of your mail - you might be using Kasperski to scan and filter email on one computer, and a different utility on the other. If you want them to be identical then that aspect of it must be identical, with exactly the same rules, and you might encounter a difference between 64-bit and 32-bit on that account (I would be interested in the answer to that one myself). If you are going to run the two simultaneously, as I suggested, then the big question is What is the best way to keep them in sync? (There should be lots of information available on that.)

    They are NOT going to be run simultaneously, quite simply because I will not even be here to use the desktop. As I noted, I am leaving for a trip and intend to move my Outlook.pst file to my laptop in order to use it while I am on the trip. The desktop will at the very least not be used until my return, and may likely be shut off, so there will be no simultanous usage of my email accounts. I intend to reverse the process when I return, and reinstall my designated master Outlook.pst file back into my desktop and hopefully continue using it as such. My main concern is the transfer, and doing this with a file meaning so much to me since I have never done this before, and I guess before I ignore my paranoia and do it I just want to assure myself that that I am not overlooking something or forgetting a step somehow.

    David E. Cann

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    There is no need to ‘move’ the data, much less the setup, that is on your main computer. Simply leave it all in place.

    You want to set up Outlook on the laptop to match that on your desktop, especially with respect to accounts and passwords. Then you copy the *.pst, which contains all of your saved data, to the laptop, and at that point both computers will have the same data in Outlook. You may say that it does not constitute ‘simultaneous’ use when one computer is turned off and the other is on, but note that you have both available to you, and you can use either at any given time.

    In other words, when you are back from your trip you will be able to use either computer at any given time to perform the functions of Outlook, which is normal practice for any user who has more than one computer. If you alternate between them, then you will have to sync the data by one means or another, and there are means of accomplishing that. Outlook is an important business tool, and much too important to confine the data to just one computer.
    You can go around the world with your laptop, download or otherwise add as much data as you wish, and you will be adding data to what is already there from your main computer, assuming you want that data available to you. The data pool keeps growing as you add to it, and your *.pst file keeps getting bigger. When you get home, you can (after backing up, please) overwrite the *.pst file on the desktop with the now larger *.pst file from the laptop, provided you have not independently added data to the desktop Outlook.

    You may find it preferable to use the Import/Export function under Files, which lets you import and export specific folders within Outlook, such as Inbox, Outbox, Contacts, and all the rest of it, separately.


  8. #8
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decann View Post
    2. Check the account settings, reenter if necessary, so mail will download normally. (Question: If I transfer the Outlook.pst file, won't these settings come with it?)
    Account settings are stored in the registry. They are not stored in the PST file.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jscher2000 View Post
    Account settings are stored in the registry. They are not stored in the PST file.

    So, what are you saying? Do I need to reenter all of the account settings after copying the Outlook.pst file, or what? Please let me know. I've never done this before, and this will be the first time I have even used Outlook 2007 in my laptop.

    David E. Cann

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    David,

    I"ve been sharing a .pst file across my Desktop (Dual boot XP w/Office 2003 & Win 7 32 w/Office 2007)& Laptop (Win 7 64 bit w/Office 2007) for several years w/o problems. Once setup the way I did it it was easy to just copy the file or use SyncToy to do the job. It also made making backups much easier since I moved the .pst file to my data disk (G vs on the C:. I've attached a word document with the steps I went through. You won't have to worry about the dual boot stuff but treat the two machines as if it were one that was dual booted. I hope this helps the instructions are somewhere between cryptic and easy to understand and they refer to Vista (just think 7).
    Attached Files Attached Files
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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decann View Post
    So, what are you saying? Do I need to reenter all of the account settings after copying the Outlook.pst file, or what?
    I suggest you create a second mail profile on your laptop for your work email (e.g., using the Mail control panel). Once that is set up with account settings and a blank PST, you can close Outlook and switch in the PST file that contains actual data. You might have to rename it to match (e.g., Outlook1.pst or whatever). You can start up to the profile selection screen to choose between personal and work email.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    David,

    I"ve been sharing a .pst file across my Desktop (Dual boot XP w/Office 2003 & Win 7 32 w/Office 2007)& Laptop (Win 7 64 bit w/Office 2007) for several years w/o problems. Once setup the way I did it it was easy to just copy the file or use SyncToy to do the job. It also made making backups much easier since I moved the .pst file to my data disk (G vs on the C:. I've attached a word document with the steps I went through. You won't have to worry about the dual boot stuff but treat the two machines as if it were one that was dual booted. I hope this helps the instructions are somewhere between cryptic and easy to understand and they refer to Vista (just think 7).

    I think I've got enough information to make it happen, hopefully. :-) Now, if I can just get enough nerve to jump in and give it a try. I'll probably do it Tuesday morning, since I'll be spending Tuesday night near the airport for a 6:00 AM flight on Wednesday (yawn!) across the country.

    David E. Cann

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    Quote Originally Posted by jscher2000 View Post
    I suggest you create a second mail profile on your laptop for your work email (e.g., using the Mail control panel). Once that is set up with account settings and a blank PST, you can close Outlook and switch in the PST file that contains actual data. You might have to rename it to match (e.g., Outlook1.pst or whatever). You can start up to the profile selection screen to choose between personal and work email.

    Why??? What is the reason for the second profile rather than cloning the first one??? I'm retired, so have no "work email" any more, and this is a personal trip I am making.

    David E. Cann

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decann View Post
    Why??? What is the reason for the second profile rather than cloning the first one???
    I assumed your laptop already was set up with an Outlook profile containing a different account. If not, then it would just be one matching profile. Sorry for the confusion.

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    This does leave us with a thread without an explanation of how best to synchronize all of your Outlook data on two personal computers. To the best of my knowledge there is no easy way to accomplish this without a third-party utility, or else the free ‘cloud’ versions offered by Google and others. (The single file for dual boot does not strike me as adequate for two computers, although it is reasonable to assume that most of us have networking capability.)

    I, for one, would be interested to hear what the experts have to say on this. I have read that Microsoft offers no ‘native’ capability to accomplish it.


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