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Improve Outlook 2002 performance in Windows XP

If you save most of your e-mail, keep the data file from growing to monstrous proportions with this helpful tip.

This tip was submitted to the Tip Exchange by member Chris Laimit. Let other users know how useful it is by rating the tip below.

If you save a majority of your e-mail then this tip will help keep your Outlook data file from reaching monstrous proportions (mine is 70 MB's and growing).

First, make a backup of your '.pst' file. If you make a mistake from this point forward, this will allow you to start over with the backup. It can be found by going into 'Control Panel > mail > data files'. The filename location will be listed here. And now, on to the tip:

  1. Organize Outlook so that your parent folders appear under your personal folder, and move all of your pertinent e-mail into them. Highlight 'Personal', right click and select 'New folder' and then name the folder accordingly. You can even specify the 'type' of e-mail items the folder will contain.

  2. Delete all unnecessary e-mail items, folders, etc.

  3. Make sure that you configure Outlook to delete all deleted your mail upon exiting. From the 'Tools' menu select 'Options', and then goto the 'Other' tab. Under 'General' select the box that says 'Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exiting.' In the future when you delete mail items, make sure that you want them to be permanently deleted because each time you close Outlook it will now empty this folder.

  4. Exit Outlook.
This next set of steps could take some time and use a high level of system resources, so don't run any other applications while you are doing them -- and you may want to disable your antivirus software as well.
  1. Compact your PST: From 'Control Panel', select the 'Mail' applet and then select 'data files.'
  2. Highlight or double click your '.pst' file and select the 'Settings' button.
  3. Click on the 'Compact Now' button. You will see a message box that says it is 'Compacting...'
The time it takes to compact your '.pst' file depends on how much you deleted and restructured it. If your '.pst' was over 100 MBs, and you deleted/moved a lot of items, please be patient! When it is done, you will see the "Personal Folders" box where you started before compacting.

Your reward will be an e-mail client that opens significantly quicker and is easier to use as a tool.

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