Our Outlook PST Files are Too Big

Jason Dunn is a great friend:

Saw your blog post. Yup, 2 GB limit. Solution? Archive PST, just like you’ve probably always had for keeping your PST file size down. If there’s really 2 GB of data that you absolutely need on the server at all times, then yeah, I guess hosted Exchange isn’t for you (I don’t know if any solution is).

Myself, I run at around 1.5 GB in my OST. I have an offline archive, but I’ve found that deleting the attachments on some of my sent items (99% of the time they’re files that are already on my local drive) is a super fast way to free up storage. Slight hassle, but not too bad. Or you can just archive them. I have 24,735 messages in my sent items folder on the server, going back to September 2005. So I can search two years back, immediately…hard to beat that.

Yeah, try convincing Ponzi to detatch those attachments… you’d be the third person who isn’t me to suggest such a thing. 🙂

Oh, so this is a Ponzi issue…well that changes everything. 😉 Are you using Outlook 2007 Ponzi? You can configure it to auto-archive messages in your Sent Item folder older than “x” days, where “x” is the break-point for where you REALLY think you need to have it on the server and be searchable. I also find that if I go into my sent items and sort by size, I quite often see the biggest files are email messages I’ve sent that have the same content – my advertising information for instance. Deleting that has zero impact on my operations, because their response to that (without the big attachments) is the important part.

So, Ponzi finally jumped into the thread:

Oh, I guess an example would help. For instance – large item is our scanned documents of a potential house buy that fell through. There were several relationships around that transaction that I need to keep track of though they aren’t friends. I need to make sure I have each of the copies as each one has minor changes. Though if I move them from that email I can’t remember the conversation around what changes were made to that particular doc.

And Jason responded:

Sure – so this in case, I’d created a folder in your archive.pst file and move them down to the local hard drive. They’re still there for reference, but they’re not up on the server.

And Ponzi responded:

Oh my gosh, now this just got even stickier than I thought it would be. I hear I need to go through all my messages and unattach items etc. I’m so worried I won’t be able to find something, unless I can search by email. Are there any solutions that could help with this? Chris tells me to tag but I can’t always remember in the same ways as him so it’s harder to locate later. Without copernic desktop search (when we’re on the road) I like to search through email because it puts the item in context because I can see the conversation around that particular attachment. Any ideas how I can separate my large attachments but keep the context?

There’s no simple solution in sight, it seems. We’ll likely be getting some kind of network storage at some point in the near future, which may or may not help. Recommendations welcome.