Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 20
  1. #1
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    Catching up on WWW today and ran across the instructions for maintaining Outlook's data files (5 November 2002, Vol 7 No 51).

    Thank you for providing the information, BUT...

    I neither chose nor installed Outlook - the it folks and others with suitable pay grades did. To the extent that I know how to use it, I figured it out for myself (and I don't like it much - I don't use it at home).

    This is the first time I've ever heard about maintaining email data files except for filing by subject and emptying them when full.

    I'm surprised this is not a bigger problem, and that Woody is surprised it is a problem at all. I don't think I've ever used a data file that didn't keep track of itself and the only data entry limits I've run across involved fixed field widths.

    If Outlook needs maintenance, it should let me know about it on some timely or regular basis - it's not bashbul aout being intrusive in lots of other ways.

  2. #2
    Silver Lounger
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Canton, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    1,716
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    If Outlook needs maintenance, it should let me know about it on some timely or regular basis - it's not bashbul aout being intrusive in lots of other ways.

    Maybe that is because Outlook will automatically archive if you ask it to do so. That way they may figure there might not be any user maintenance necessary. Hahaha!!!!! I almost forgot, it is Microsoft we
    H Lewton

  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    Posts
    9,508
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    You don't seem to have a question, but I'll make a couple of comments:

    OL is certainly useful to most of us in the business world;

    --after some time building contacts, it becomes a invaluable as a resource for such
    --for those of us in a deadlined-task and meeting environment, the task and calendar tools are invaluable
    --it's not the finest e-mail client, but for those of us who maintain corporate e-mail correspondence, keeping a record, even in archived format, is critical for CYA and legal reasons (gotta keep those lawyers fully employed)
    --the journaling feature is a pain except that lawyers (here I go again) find it very useful to track what they did to whom on which day <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    For many business people (especially in multiple offices where e-mail communication becomes part of the office culture), the size of an Outlook file can grow enormously due to correspondence volume and file attachments; a busy calendar and any kind of journalling accelerate file size considerably. Therefore knowing how to archive Outlook files and perform some maintenance is a necessity. Outlook has an automated system for suggesting that users archive files; if you turn this off, however (I turn it off), it does not "anticipate" some of the problems it could, especially with regards to exceeding the approx 2 Gb file limit.
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
    UTC -7ąDS

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
    Posts
    621
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    George

    I suspect you'd find that most of us find Outlook useful as well as a pain. <img src=/S/hairout.gif border=0 alt=hairout width=31 height=23>

    I'm curious - what mail client do you use at home? Does it really manage 2GB of files without any maintenance?
    In the physical world I find that most things I own - car, house, appliances ... also need maintenance.
    I dream of the day when things just work forever.

    I can confirm that few (no) Microsoft products have reached the stage of automated self repair - those that think they have are merely deluded.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    Thank you, all, for writing. I'm sure that Outlook is useful, even a valuable tool, and that it has features like auto archive. But....

    My complaint is not so much that maintenance might be needed but that Outlook is designed in such a way that, in typical environments, a great many users discover the requirement on their own. Maybe my environment is atypical, but I bet there are lots of people using Outlook because it's on the machine on their lap, and that they learn to use it the same way I did, by using it until it breaks. At that point, Murphy almost certainly has a strong hold on their lives.

    That would be like people discovering that cars need gasoline and oil changes by running out of gas and throwing a rod. Of course, some people do learn about oil changes the hard way - I worked in a garage when I was a kid and saw at least one example - but it's not the norm. Maybe the kid who goes to the college store to find out why a check bounced is a better example. The check couldn't have bounced because (drum roll) there were still checks in the book.

    The difference between these examples and software in general, Outlook in particular, is that software is capable (in principle) of reporting its own condition to each user. Outlook could provide a "Maintenance Required" note when the files get "too close" to full - this could apply to inboxes as well as data files for people who don't delete messages. The "Maintenance Required" message could include a check list of steps needing to be taken, like the list Woody provided last month. In my dreams, Outlook might even offer to follow a particular path, backing up the changes to the user's individual hard drive. There could even be a moderately draconian (move the whole file to backup on the user's hard drive) last resort that gets implemented automatically. Now that hard drives are huge, why not?

    Maybe that's what autoarchive does, but users still have to find the feature and, if that is what autoarchive does and it is truly convenient to use, it seems unlikely that Woody would have devoted a whole newsletter to it.

    Underlying all of this particular rant is a much deeper anger at the burden current poor software design practices impose on users. Microsoft is the best target only because it is ubiquitous; it has many colleagues in the mud pits. Programs like Outlook may be wonderful, but they do not, as far as I can see, use the kind of good design and testing practices taught in computer science, architecture, other courses for decades. I'm sure they are used at some level, but they never seem to reach the incredibly annoying, time wasting, frustrating, mad-making, ... design problems mentioned so frequently in Woody's newsletters and here.

    George

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    May 2001
    Location
    Washington, USA
    Posts
    750
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    Ah, well: Microsoft has been accused of many things, but making great software has never been one of them.

  7. #7
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Roanoke area, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    3,729
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    At what point do you feel the user (or admin) is responsible for the files they have? Most power users don't like any thing automated - they don't want any program watching things for them. They want to be in total control. If they want to backup files, they'll use a backup program they choose, not something hacked into an email or word processor - something that is out of the realm of the program's reason for being.

    if it's corporate training, talk to your admin, if you are using Outlook in your home, there are many great books and resources available to help you learn how to use it.

    Personally, I would not trust outlook to back my files. I won't even use autoarchive. I can and will do it myself. I don't want a bloated Outlook, filled with features i don't want or need. As for oversized psts, Outlook 2002 will warn you, I think one of the updates for OL2000 might as well. If you use an old version that doesn't you can choose to upgrade.

    What email program do you use that does any of this?
    <hr>Outlook could provide a "Maintenance Required" note when the files get "too close" to full - this could apply to inboxes as well as data files for people who don't delete messages. The "Maintenance Required" message could include a check list of steps needing to be taken, like the list Woody provided last month. In my dreams, Outlook might even offer to follow a particular path, backing up the changes to the user's individual hard drive. There could even be a moderately draconian (move the whole file to backup on the user's hard drive) last resort that gets implemented automatically. Now that hard drives are huge, why not? <hr>

    BTW - where are these files stored in your dreams, that you need to back them up to the users hard drive? In a networked enviroment psts should be local, when an exchange server is used, pst = bad and should not be used. Osts are just a local copy of the mailbox and users control what is synced to it - they can create folders to store older or larger files in the mailbox so they don't sync. (Use OWA if you need them when working offline.) Or they can add a pst to the local profile and drag messages from the ost to the pst - however, they will no longer be backed up by the server backup program once thye are in a local pst.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    Users are ALWAYS responsible for all of their files and for everything that happens on their machines. We can't delegate that. Most power users don't like having things done for (or to) them without choice. Asking software to report that a limit is approaching gives up no control. Besides, most users are NOT power users and any software designed on that assumption is defective by definition. My argument is that MS (and other software providers) SHOULD

    a) design products for basic use by non-power users that protects from predictable limits without crib sheets and

    [img]/forums/images/smilies/cool.gif[/img] fix design "features" that increase the probability attacks by "Murphy" on a priority basis just below security flaws and bugs that prevent the software from giving correct results.

    "Corporate training?" What's that? I doubt I'm the only person required to use software product X in a setting where "We don' need no steenking training... " is the operative if unstated policy. Less than half the training I have had went beyond the help files anyway.

    We might not trust X to back up files but wouldn't we be better off learning that some action is needed before something crashes and ruins our hour, day, ... ? Remember, for purposes of this discussion I'm not a power user of any software and I'm for sure not a power Outlook user.

    Lots of software is plenty bloated and we can expect more in the next version. I think providing information about approaching limits, etc. is pretty benigh, though. Compared to the continuing redevelopment of Clippy or the changes to the way Word's tables handle graphics that come with every version change, this would be cheap and take little space.

    Upgrades: new bugs, new bloat, changes for no apparent reason to features I use several times a day ... I limit upgrades I pay for to those with at least one new feature that I expect to use regularly in my own work.

    I don't know of any software with the features I'm suggesting should be standard. That's why I'm ... annoyed.

    Now that machines come with hard drives designed to store video while most of us work with word processing documents and spreadsheets, there's acres of space for backups. As long a user whose files get backed up to his/her hard drive is told that has happened and provided with ways to deal with the backup, what's the problem? That's just a safety net for the great majority of users who go through each day hoping their individual machines, networks, and the internet don't crash so they can get their work done.

    As the person who posted just before you did wrote, no one ever accused MS of selling high quality software.

  9. #9
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
    Posts
    9,508
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 6 Times in 6 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    My car doesn't tell me when it needs an oil change, except by catastrophic failure.

    But then no-one ever accused any auto dealer on this planet of selling high quality vehicles.
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
    UTC -7ąDS

  10. #10
    Super Moderator
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Renton, Washington, USA
    Posts
    12,560
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 4 Times in 4 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    Being a "Economics Prof " why don't we have self repairing or automatic warnings that the Economics is goin to <img src=/w3timages/censored.gif alt=censored border=0> and beyond. I would like to see from you a perfect world that will NOT lose any of my <img src=/S/money.gif border=0 alt=money width=17 height=15>.
    Just my <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> worth.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  11. #11
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,089
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    <hr>a) design products for basic use by non-power users that protects from predictable limits without crib sheets<hr>
    That's exactly what the trend has been. If you think the operating system and software you are using now is tough, I encourage you to find a copy of DOS and work with it. Or Linux, in its many forms. Perhaps a copy of OS/2 or Windows 3.x? Apple has a decent and user friendly OS, but even it isn't perfect.
    <hr>Less than half the training I have had went beyond the help files anyway.<hr>
    It sounds to me like you've been in the wrong training courses. However, the simple fact that you read the help files puts you in a distinct minority.
    <hr>Lots of software is plenty bloated and we can expect more in the next version.<hr>
    If users would just quit asking for this and that feature <img src=/S/sarcasm.gif border=0 alt=sarcasm width=15 height=15> software bloat would not exist. As a developer myself, I can assure you that I make every effort to write the leanest code possible. In fact, I strongly doubt that any developer who takes pride in what they are doing adds extra lines of code just to bloat their software - they do it because the user(s) are asking for the product to perform a set of functions.
    <hr>Upgrades: new bugs, new bloat, changes for no apparent reason to features I use several times a day<hr>
    See previous rebuttal. And if you have run across any software that is bug free, please let me know where you found it, because to my knowledge it doesn't exist.
    <hr>Now that machines come with hard drives designed to store video while most of us work with word processing documents and spreadsheets, there's acres of space for backups.<hr>
    What happens when:
    <UL><LI>A malicious virus destroys the hard drive's partition table or erases data?
    <LI>The mechanics of the drive fail and the read/write heads grind into the platters with mucho noise and smoke?
    <LI>An innocent mistake is made and the backup is destroyed unintentionally?
    <LI>The file on that drive becomes corrupted an unuseable?[/list]Backups on the disk are fine, but they are far from safe. There are two types of computer users: those who have lost all of their data, and those who will. There is no substitute for backups made to CD, tape or other removeable media - or even a second physical drive in the same machine.
    <hr>As the person who posted just before you did wrote, no one ever accused MS of selling high quality software.<hr>
    Microsoft may have their faults, but again - without their leadership in the industry, computing as you and many others know it would not be what it is. If you think that shareware and open source are consistently better software products, you haven't used them. Some are, some aren't. Microsoft won't make any money on their products if there are better solutions elsewhere.

    Quite frankly, computers are complex devices, although they have gotten easier to use over the years. I believe the user is responsible for understanding that simple fact instead of complaining all the time when things are not exactly the way they want them.
    -Mark

  12. #12
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    Dave,

    Good point! Nobody, and no profession, is perfect.

    One point in favor of economics is that economies are not designed starting from a blank sheet of paper ... whoops, a new, still blank, computer file. If nothing else, all those darn people keep doing things without telling the rest of us and the warning system from the ethereal plain has been down since the Prophet Muhammad at least. Karl Marx was the only person I know who claimed to know how to set up a perfect economy, and the results of that product test are in.

    By the way, did you hear the one about the preacher, the engineer, and the economist? They were the only survivors of a plane crash on a desert island. The plane was carrying tons of canned food to a country that had suffered a natural disaster, the island offered lots of fresh water and downed wood for fires, and the group had matches but no can opener. (The engineer had to give up his Boy Scout pocket knife at the gate.) The preacher said, "Let us pray ..." The engineer looked for a sharp rock. The economist said "Assume a can opener ..."

  13. #13
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA
    Posts
    12
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    Mark,

    Gosh, I didn't expect to be quoted so extensively until finals next week.

    We might argue about how steep the trend in software improvements has been but my main concern is that, as far as I can see, there has been no change in software providers (MS and others) attitudes toward users. Promote it on the basis that its the best thing since Moses came off the mountain, sell the product to the consumer (individual or organization), and then insist that the producer has no responsibility at all for product usability or quality. Include error messages written in bafflegab and help files that lead in circles without ever explaining what the error message meant or answering the user's question. Ignore users who point out accuracy and usability problems through several upgrades, each one claiming to be the ultimate whatsit.

    Actually, I like DOS a lot except for the 64K memory limit. But that design "feature," I'm told, was based on one person's assertion that no one would ever want, let alone need, more than 64K of memory. I'm sure I haven't got the words exact, but something like that statement is attributed to BillG. What was nice about DOS, and probably UNIX although I have no experience with it, was that it was possible to understand what the operating system was doing. I have no idea what Windows does except that it wants more resources, especially memory, every time I turn around and it took at least fifteen years to get out a version that approximated the claims made for version 1.0 back in 1985, I think.

    As to training, Users get no choice. Their employer provides any training they may get and the training I have gotten has been ... marginally useful. Let others speak for the wonders of their training experiences.

    Yes, software bloat comes from features users ask for but, as far as I can see, software providers use a very coarse screen when they sort the features that lots of people would use from those that make good demo or marketing points and there seems to be a pretty good case for the argument that, since machines have more memory and bigger hard drives, after all, there is little or no effort to write compact code.

    Of course, there is little or no bug free code. John Glenn is reported to have thought, as he waited for the liquid fuel rocket he sat on to ignite, "Everything here was built by the lowest bidder." The stuff in those rockets worked until Challenger, though, and that wasn't a software problem.

    New bugs would be tolerable if the new features were useful and the existing features I rely on weren't changed for no apparent reason, version after versioin.

    And in the end, none of the concerns I raised and none of your rebuttals matter because no one (except Microsoft) ever said Microsoft sold perfect software. Sheesh.

  14. #14
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,089
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    The original post concerned the need for Outlook to notify users. Back to that idea for a moment, it's something that can be explained using an old cliche: you can please all of the people some of the time or some of the people all of the time, but you can't please all of the people all of the time. You yourself have noted the "features" and "bloat" in current software. For Outlook, or any other product, to add functionality on this level would be yet another bloated feature that someone would surely scream about. 'What is this nonsense??' They would ask. Further, that new 'feature' and others like it are part of the reason we have bugs every time software is released. When it comes to putting software on the market, it's never really out of beta....it just gets to apoint where you have quashed enough of the bugs and anomalies that you can freeze the code and ship it.

    At the risk of being called a Microsoft patsy, they spend millions on research and development, and they conduct extensive user/usability testing. They also have a history of hiding things and denying the obvious, something I attribute to clueless management that is concerned more with protecting their market share (and in turn their shareholders) than schlocky design practices. In the end it's not 100% ignorance of their users, it's down to the bean counters: what are the ramifications of this action? Still, they wouldn't get anywhere without their user base. Linux scares the hell out of Microsoft (and me sometimes but for different reasons. <img src=/S/wink.gif border=0 alt=wink width=15 height=15>)

    I accept bugs as part of using a computer and its software. That's just the way they are. But believe me, George, it doesn't mean I like them any more than you do! I do think our concerns are worth discussing, and that they matter. Tempering differing vantage points and experience is the best way to get a coherent message across to the makers of these products. I am certain that you, better than I, understand the motivating factors of a corporation the size of Microsoft: <img src=/S/money.gif border=0 alt=money width=17 height=15> and the board of directors. The same motivational factors that apply to nearly every industry.

    Now, if you want to talk about an organization that never listens, there's always Capitol Hill..... <img src=/S/evilgrin.gif border=0 alt=evilgrin width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/jollyroger.gif border=0 alt=jollyroger width=29 height=18>
    -Mark

  15. #15
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Roanoke area, Virginia, USA
    Posts
    3,729
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Maintaining .pst .ost files (Any)

    The newest versions of Outlook will notify you when the pst grows too large - what version are you using and have you installed all the updates for it?

    Buy a book if you want to learn how to use it - Woody has a few good ones - although i think an Outlook-only book is better than the general office ones. Why expect MS to do everything for you? Educate yourself.

    outlook is a powerful tool - downgrading to it a level newbies can handle without reading a book would ruin it for the power users. If you want easy, use OE.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •