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#2535606 - 06/19/08 02:18 PM Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive  
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Joe Offline
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I recently finished building/converting an old system to a home server, and putting together a new desktop. I would like Outlook Express on my new desktop to use files that reside on the server. The server uses a RAID 1 array, so any files there are backed up.

Server
WinXP Home SP3
750GB RAID 1, 2 partitions (C = 25GB, D = 725GB)
D drive is shared on the network

Desktop
WinXP Home SP3
Outlook Express
A folder on the server's D drive is mapped as the Z drive



When I go to change the Store location in Outlook, any drive and/or folder that is local to the desktop is acceptable, but whenever I click on the Z drive, or inside ony folder on the Z drive, the OK button greys out. Clearly Outlook Express does not want its files going on a networked drive. Any way I can do what I want?

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#2535610 - 06/19/08 02:24 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: Joe]  
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Even if you can, it is probably unsupported, much like placing PSTs on a network drive, they're prone to internal corruption due to network issues.

#2535616 - 06/19/08 02:34 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: Rilex]  
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Agree with Rilex, PSTs or DBX on a server are a problem either way.

Easier maybe to script a backup copy job that moves the files from your drive to the server when you shut down windows.

How fast is your network, and how large are the files? If we're talking multiple gigs here, it would take a while, but you could move old mails to a separate archive and only copy the current sent items and inbox. Also maybe only copy every week or so.

I can help you with the script if that solution sounds practical to you.

#2535617 - 06/19/08 02:35 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: Rilex]  
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"prone to internal corruption" - that doesn't sound good.

At the office we all have our PSTs on a networked SCSI RAID 5 array that id backed up daily. Should we not be doing this?


For my home server issue, should I instead set up an automated copy of my Store folder to the server RAID 1 array daily? Safely backing up my email is one of my main server applications - I would be royally screwed if I lost all my email.

#2535631 - 06/19/08 02:53 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: Joe]  
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No, you shouldn't be doing that.

Yes, set up a daily robocopy or something like that. Unfortunately since you are not using Vista, you don't have the advantage of using VSS so you'll need to make sure OE is closed before the backup.

#2535640 - 06/19/08 03:04 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: Rilex]  
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We've been doing the "PST on a Server" thing for three years now in a small branch office. But these are backed up daily, monthly archives... even if something gets corrupted, the user can go back to the previous day.

Also, it can slow down Outlook (or hang the whole system) if it doesn't find the share.

So, with "full" Outlook, I'd say you give it a try, as long as you have a daily backup to another medium (from the RAID drive to tape or a different disk). If something got corrupted, you can revert to the day before.

But since OE doesn't give you the option anyway, a scripted copy will be the smarter solution. I'd hook it into the XP "scripts to run on shutdown" part, so OE will be closed and it won't cost you productive time. With a more elaborate VBS script, you could even check date or week and only do it occasionally so the shutdown is fast most of the time.

#2535653 - 06/19/08 03:17 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: RSColonel_131st]  
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Sorry, RSC, I missed your first post. The network is 100MB, and the desktop and server are connected through a DLink router. So, fast enough. Both computers are always on, though, so a script would have to close Outlook Express (if it's open), then copy all of the .dbx files to the server drive. Ideally the script would then open Outlook Express if it was open previously, or do nothing if it was closed previously. I would appreciate scripting help; I know what I want to do conceptually but don't know how to go about it in actuality.

There are problems with simple copies, though, aren't there? Say I delete a folder in Outlook Express, then that night I copy all of my local .dbx files to my server. The folder I deleted still exists on my server. If I ever have to restore my email, that folder will "come back from the dead", won't it?



Rilex,
Thanks for the link. At the office there are six of us on this server. That's it, that's the whole company. I comprehend the issues discussed in that link, but is it really a problem for such a small application?

#2535676 - 06/19/08 04:01 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: Joe]  
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The problem with simple copies is true. My OE never had more than two or three additional folders, so that wouldn't have mattered to me, but if you are using an elaborate folder structure, and each is it's own file, that may be rough.

I found info about robocopy here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robocopy

It has a mirror mode, so actually will delete files in the target if they are no longer present.

To close OE, you can simple use this script I found (enter the appriorate process/.exe name)

[QUOTE]' ProcessKillLocal.vbs
' Sample VBScript to kill a program
' Author Guy Thomas http://computerperformance.co.uk/
' Version 2.7 - December 2005
' ------------------------ -------------------------------'
Option Explicit
Dim objWMIService, objProcess, colProcess
Dim strComputer, strProcessKill
strComputer = "."
strProcessKill = "'iexplore.exe'"

Set objWMIService = GetObject("winmgmts:" _
& "{impersonationLevel=impersonate}!\\" _
& strComputer & "\root\cimv2")

Set colProcess = objWMIService.ExecQuery _
("Select * from Win32_Process Where Name = " & strProcessKill )
For Each objProcess in colProcess
objProcess.Terminate()
Next
WSCript.Echo "Just killed process " & strProcessKill _
& " on " & strComputer
WScript.Quit
' End of WMI Example of a Kill Process []/(QUOTE]

The third and fourth line from the bottom are the message window, you can delete them. Worked for me just fine with internet explorer.

So, easiest is to save this as "closeOE.vbs", then create a batch file or .cmd file in which you call the script, then call the robocopy job, then call OE from it's full path again.

If you can do that over night with both machines running, then mail size won't be that much of an issue. For me, I do this stuff during shutdown of windows, so I would have to be aware of the copy duration.

#2535761 - 06/19/08 05:51 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: RSColonel_131st]  
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Yeah, the whole shebang will run overnight. Thanks for the script; I'll try it out when I get home. Is a .vbs file just a text file with the appropriate extension?

Killing a process isn't the same as closing it, is it? Sometime you close Outlook programs and they give a "hey, wait a minute" type message.

Robocopy's mirror function is exactly what I need; thanks to both of you for pointing it out. Wikipedia says Robocopy "was part of the Windows Resource Kit", then included in Vista. So, what exactly do I need? Windows XP Service Pack 2 Support Tools? Windows XP Service Pack 2 Deployment Tools? Something else?

#2535792 - 06/19/08 06:09 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: Joe]  
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 Originally Posted By: Joe
Rilex,
Thanks for the link. At the office there are six of us on this server. That's it, that's the whole company. I comprehend the issues discussed in that link, but is it really a problem for such a small application?


The same rule applies to one person and one PST.

#2535799 - 06/19/08 06:22 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: Rilex]  
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Killing OE/Outlook == very bad. This can lead to data corruption. Yes, just rename txt to vbs. To gracefully close OE/Outlook, you have to use the Outlook object model. Much more painful to write, but closing it can be done gracefully.

Search for robocopy on download.microsoft.com.

#2536277 - 06/20/08 01:58 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: Rilex]  
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If he's doing a daily backup of the files on the server, to a different medium, then data corruption on the local drive or even server drive would not be such a large issue.

I know you're going by the bookm, Rilex, but we use the same solution for years now with that 5ppl branch office (networked PSTs even) and never anything bad happened. I think closing OE "gracefully" is the least worry.

#2536318 - 06/20/08 03:39 PM Re: Getting Outlook Express to use Store files on a network-mapped drive [Re: RSColonel_131st]  
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I googled "Outlook Object model" and my head hurts. I'm not a computer programmer.

I think data corruption on the local drive would be a big issue. If the data corrupts when Outlook in closed, and then that corrupted data is immediately copied to a server, overwriting yesterday's un-corrupted data, then that backup is a failure and all copies are bad.

I found thos, which says the following will close Outlook if inserted into a VBS script:

 Code:
Set objOLK = createObject("Outlook.Application")
objOLK.quit 


Is this different from killing the process? Can the above be modified for Outlook Express instead of Outlook?


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