Friday, October 1, 2010

Overcoming PST storage, attachment, and hidden file issues


By Joe Dolittle

Reader Julie has a couple of questions that we'll do our best to answer. Her first pertains to managing attachments:

I am a vineyard owner in northern California and work alone most of the time. I've gotten myself into a fix with Outlook because I've saved my emails with attachments in email files in Outlook. I constantly reach the limit of storage and have to go in and delete files. Now I'm learning to save the attachments in another folder on my hard drive but that makes it hard because I don't have the trail back to the sender and the email.
I would like direction on how to save emails with attachments so it doesn't blow my storage capacity. Do you have any ideas?

Actually, we have a bunch of ideas. You didn't tell us what version of Outlook you're using, but since you're reaching the end of the PST file's capacity, I'm assuming it's an ancient, Outlook 2000-era vintage file. You need to upgrade to at least Outlook 2003. But that, alone, won't fix your problem. You then need to create a new PST file with the larger capacity and move your data over.

Second, there's the issue of attachment management. Doing it all on your own is difficult. Fortunately, there are some great tools for managing attachments.

Now, that brings us to Julie's second question, which is a little tougher to decipher:

My second question concerns a second shadow set of my Outlook folders. When I look at the icons, I have Outlook with a house/clock symbol and then Archive Folders with a set of folders and then Outlook again with a set of folders and this contains a replica of all of my Outlook files. Can't seem to delete this.
Could this shadow file be taking up a lot of space? It contains exact copies of all of my files. How do I delete this? I would greatly appreciate any time you can spare helping me resolve this issue. My computer tech here in Ukiah knows nothing about Outlook and I haven't been able to find a person to help with this. They all know other things more important to networking, etc.

Unfortunately, Julie didn't say where these folders are located. Outlook stores quite a lot of data, and it tends to be scattered in a variety of locations in Windows. The best we can suggest without a lot more detail is:

Good luck and keep those cards and letters coming!