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  1. #1
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    archive emails (2003)

    If there is a link to this on the forum I apologize for not finding it in my search.

    What are people doing to preserve sent and received emails?

    We are a small consulting firm with a peer to peer network, so each person sends and receives their own email. We need to be able to keep project related emails, both sent and received. Our projects can run for several years with multiple people involved. Like many firms, it is easier for us to find a 1993 memo (paper, sent by snail mail) than it is an emailed memo from last year. At some point, this lack of a

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    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: archive emails (2003)

    <P ID="edit" class=small>(Edited by JohnBF on 05-Dec-06 10:27. )</P>I hope I'm not missing the point of your question.

    If your personnel are not using Personal Storage Files, they should be. Here's an overview: <!mskb=208480>Microsoft Knowledge Base Article 208480<!/mskb> Personal Storage Files (PSTs) are created at the user level; they are not intended to be an entity-wide storage sink.

    Personal Storage Files are the ideal receptacle for messages (and other Outlook items). They can be organized by folder/subfolder (using customer, or project, or topic, or what you will) and also by Category (ditto, and there may be multiple categories per item). I keep about 20,000 messages in my corporate PSTs (yes, a user can maintain more than one PST), organized by Folder, and I'm able to retrieve messages by using Outlook's Advanced Search capability.

    Loungers in this forum will be happy to help you with more detailed questions. There are also a few old threads about PSTs in this Forum, such as <post#=498,347>post 498,347</post#>, <post#=372,436>post 372,436</post#> and, ah, somewhere there is a good discussion with DaveA about using multiple PSTs, but the thread title is not obvious.

    Note that within PST capabilities, there is a separate Archive feature (as separate from a PST being a sort of archive). It can be set to run automatically, it can have settings that are folder-specific, and so on. I tend not to Archive anything until the need is clearly past, so I archive manually (usually lost customers <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15>).

    I regard to your last question, each individual is responsible for electing to retain messages; the future business value of the message is my yardstick. Outlook provides some capabilities with automatically organizing messages, and using Rules to automatically file messages.

    When you get a server, assuming it is Exchange (such as SBS), investigate Public Folders.
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
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  3. #3
    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: archive emails (2003)

    Some companies save messages to the file system, either in Outlook's native MSG format or in text/rtf/html. The latter do not include attachments, which must be managed separately. Obviously there's no handy Inbox-style display with this approach, but it might be okay for archiving because you can import MSG files back into a PST for further handling.

    A mail server probably is a better choice. Exchange Server offers public folders, where users could copy the "important" messages into project folders. An inexpensive or free IMAP server offers another option, to create shared mailboxes and copy from Outlook there. (I haven't used IMAP in Outllook, so I don't know how seamless it is to copy between a set of local folders and the server).

    A third possibility is a document management system. These range from the free (open source products) to the comes-with-Windows-server (Sharepoint services components without adding on the portal) all the way to insanely pricey. We use WORLDOX, which you can read about at http://www.worldox.com/. What appears in its email pane is personal to you, but you can copy messages into the shared document store and assign whatever permissions you like.

    Added: Regarding automation of saving, as you point out, most software cannot distinguish between important and unimportant messages. Given that most messages are not very big (in bytes), especially if you avoid embedded logos and background images, it probably makes sense to capture everything and not worry about disk space. (But my colleagues in the litigation department might say: you should have a consistently applied policy of saving what you need and discarding what you don't.)

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    Re: archive emails (2003)

    thanks to you and JohnBF for the food-for-thougt

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    Re: archive emails (2003)

    One of the ideas we're now kicking around is to add an email address for each project number; e.g. ABC-001@abcd.com. For email sent, the project number would be a cc or bcc. For email received, it would be forwarded to the project number. One computer would be dedicated to receive this email. This would necessitate setting up email addresses and a rule to direct emails to the correct folder. Adding additional email addresses is not a big problem with our ISP.

    Is there anything conceptually silly about this idea?

    The initial setup of mail accounts and folders would be a bit tedious. Is there a way to automate or semi-automate this process?

    Thanks.

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    Re: archive emails (2003)

    It is a good idea if you are sending messages outside the company. Custom Categories, such as project names, can easily be broadcast within the company, but they will be lost if messages are passed through outside ISPs that don't honor MS's extra data in the message. Public Folders will also be helpful if you move to an Exchange server. Once we get into server stuff I'm out of my depth, but you could use addresses in the format: myname@myproject.mycompany.com
    -John ... I float in liquid gardens
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