Email maintenance

Welcome to Computing Matters 6 – Email maintenance

Republished newsletter from February 2008.

Please forgive me for not being emailing in January 2008 – it was a busy month for me.

My colleagues and I have also launched a new venture after more than two years of planning and development. is a site for any person who arranges an event or gathering requiring payment for tickets. It can be for a charity party, a weekend away or a cookery class. This site allows you to sell tickets and collect payment to your PayPal account and it takes just 5 minutes to post an event on the site. In addition to this, it is completely free, so if you know anyone arranging an event this year, please pass on this web address!

The New Year is always a good time to do some email archiving. This is really important if you use Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express.

The more emails you store, the more likely they are susceptible to cause problems.
For example: Outlook 2003 has a maximum acceptable file size of 1.8GB. After it reaches this size (without any warning), emails will simply stop coming in! I had to deal with this issue as many as ten times in 2007. In my work I come across many corrupt outlooks which could have been avoided with some routine maintenance (regular email backups also help and I will talk about this another time).

How to routinely maintain Outlook (or Outlook Express / Windows Mail) – two solutions:

1. Delete large emails from 2008
Firstly, order all your emails by size and delete all emails over 1MB that you really do not need. Most of these will be attachments and many will be jokes. If you really want to keep them, consider saving them to “My Documents”. If you have more time, look at all emails over 500K also. Also, please remember to check your sent items. If you send five emails with the same content to five different recipients, do you need to keep all five?

Once you have deleted all large emails, it is crucial to compact the email program. In Outlook, you right click on “Personal Folders” on the left hand side of the screen, then click on “properties”, then “advanced” and finally click on “compact now” (note that this could take a few hours but you can always stop and start another time).

2. Archive all 2008 emails
Create a new outlook file (known as a pst) and I call it Outlook 200x. Within this, I create an “inbox archive 200x” and a “sent items archive 200x”. I then drag all emails (month by month) to the relevant folder. This can take some time. Finally it is essential to compact the original pst as described above. I personally carry out this method, but day to day, I am very harsh wist the emails I choose to keep in Outlook.

I hope this concept has not been too technical. You can of course call me for advice or to manually archive your emails for you. I cannot stress how important this is to keep your Outlook healthy.



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