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Group Policy

Outlook and Networked PST Files

Tuesday, June 29, 2010 in Technical Articles (Views: 2865)
Some things shouldn't be up for debate, like a preacher asking if it's wrong to steal money to buy drugs for his underaged mistress (can't even start with all the wrong in that one). This IT rant is brought to you by Outlook, and an unsupported by Microsoft "feature" storing PST files across LAN and WAN links.

For reference, check out this article: Personal folder files are unsupported over a LAN or over a WAN link

What does the term unsupported mean? It means a few things…

• Unsupported in some cases, doesn't mean "doesn't work". It could simply be un-tested. • It could be a very bad practice, or bad idea, causing the product in question to fail, or perform very poorly. For those who know Outlook, most know what a PST file is. It is a file that you can use to store e-mail, contacts, virtually any Outlook item to free up space on your Exchange server mailbox. For some home users, or people who don't connect to Exchange, PST files are the main medium for data storage.

Some people would use the logic of "if I store this PST on a network drive, I will have it in more than one location". This seems like decent logic, until you realize things like Windows Indexing Service, or just the simple reads and writes constantly across a network will cause performance to become almost intolerable on a LAN or WAN (more so on a WAN).

Stuck with this problem? There's a simple, but not so time efficient way out. Perhaps falling under the "get it right vs. get it done" principle, you would need to detach the networked PST, copy it to a local drive, and then reattach the PST. If you are using Outlook 2010, look at some additional info below.

Outlook 2010 changed some of the rules, which is good for those looking for a good archiving solution. With Outlook 2010, you can work your way out of the PST nightmare in the following ways:

• Disable new or existing PST files from being attached to a mail profile • Allow PST files in the profile but disable write access to the file (making this file truly for "archive" only) The above setting can be applied and enforced via Group Policy using the Office 2010 ADM templates.

I am a huge fan of email archiving – especially when the archive is transparent to the user and leaves a small footprint in the user's mailbox (like a pointer) to the actual message or item.


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