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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

By Sean Wyatt ·
I have a user that runs Outlook on a desktop PC and a laptop. We are running Exchange 2000. The user insists on having all emails available on both machines all the time. Currently this is done by keeping the .pst file in the briefcase and synchonizing this. Then the desktop keeps messages on the server instead of moving them to the .pst file and the notebook downloads these. Sent items must be copied back and forth manually.
removing personal folders and keeping all messages on the server will not work as the notebook goes all over and cannot reach our server outside the LAN. Even implementing VPN would not work well because the user wants to keep EVERYTHING and opening a huge message store over a dial-up Internet connection would not work so well. I have considered Outlook Web Access, but am not yet willing to open up this server to web access.
I need a nice easy way to keep this user's messages together regardless of which PC he uses.

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by DKlippert In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

Here are some references:

www.slipstick.com/outlook/sync.htm
www.slipstick.com/outlook/olshare2.htm

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by Sean Wyatt In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by TimTheToolMan In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

Hi,

Ummm, am I missing something here? Why cant you simply synch up each of the personal folders on the laptop to the message store and ensure that your client doesn't remove anything from the server?

Whenever your client logs onto the networkwith his laptop, the folders will be synchronised and all will be well...?

The Desktop obviously has access directly to the server through your LAN so it shouldn't be an issue for your client to not have personal folders on the desktop.

Of course that could be painful for your client if synchronisation tried to happen when he dialed in so you'd need to show your client how to turn it off.

Better still, script up an automatic turn-off if there is no network present on boot. And turn-on if there is.

Cheers,
Tim.

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by Sean Wyatt In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

Remeber if I keep messages on the server message store, the laptop has no access to them when he travels. Currently when the laptop travels, it recieves messages via POP3 protocol, which requires a .pst file. Do you suggest that I use the .pst file when the notebook travles and manually sync this with the server message store when the notebook is attached to the LAN?

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by TimTheToolMan In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

Hi again,

"Currently when the laptop travels, it recieves messages via POP3 protocol, which requires a .pst file."

Are you saying the Laptop gets its mail from a different server when he travels? If thats the case then you should be able to set up a folder on the message store and synchronise the "special .pst" folder back to it when he connects back to the network.

But thats not what I think you mean... I'm suggesting synchronising all his folders. Inbox included - which is probably the special .pst file you are referring to.

That way he'll have fast local access to the documents he needs (by the local folders which are synchronised everytime he reconnects, remember) but still get his new mail at reasonable speeds through yourserver. Also he will have offline access.

Maybe I'm still missing something about your problem...

Cheers,
Tim.

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by Sean Wyatt In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by timwalsh In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

How about a hardware solution (this is presupposing that the desk top doesn't have any capabilities that the laptop can't match and that the laptop hard drive isn't about to burst):

Get this user a docking station for the laptop. Hook up a full-size monitor, keyboard, and mouse to the docking station so there aren't any complaints of tiny screen, keyboard, "I hate the touchpad or eraser-head mouse", etc. Ditch the desktop computer. The user is left with one computer with one set of files and 1 .pst file and no need to synchronize anything.

Would I be correct in assuming this user is a "management" type, maybe your boss. This definitely sounds like several that I have worked for. I've managed to push thish solution with several of them. Although there usually was some resistance at first, once they found out that essentially the only change was that the laptop was replacing the desktop box, resistance usually disappeared.

Good Luck.

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by Sean Wyatt In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

This is what I convinced him of. Now if Dell will sell me a notebook with a French keyboard.............

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by LordInfidel In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

A couple of things and hopefully somewhere in here you will find the answer.

First, if you are using exchange, then at no time should anyone be using POP3 to retrieve e-mail.

for my rant and security reasoning on this go to http://www.techrepublic.com/forumdiscuss/thread_detail.jhtml?thread_id=90164&message_id=543993

Next for my users that have laptops, you can have synchronization to a .ost file (not .pst). This is done by allowing Offline Synchrinization.(msp?)

They can use their desktop and before they leave, synchronize their laptop. It may take a while if they have lots of mail.
(quick note, my users use one or the other, desktop or laptop, not both!, waste of resources and IT effort)

As far as OWA, 1: do not put it on the exchange server, for every OWA connection it spawns a outlook process. 2: Install on standalone server, create a bogus CA on that server, and issue yourself a cert for the OWA site, require SSL connections. Read my rant above for the reasoning why.

If you are going to allow POP3 access to your exchange server, you might as well get rid of it and use a different mail server.

There is NO WAY to synch up pst files. It is not designed that way.

Setting up offline access is quite easy, but there is a common misstep and that is in the tools/options/mail support area. You need to configure synch there and select the interval and folders.

With .ost's you can connect to the exch server via vpn, and it will only download stuff that you do not have. VPN is preffered for security reasons. Read my post above for a detailed explanation on exch, pop3 and security.

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Keeping Outlook current on two PCs

by Sean Wyatt In reply to Keeping Outlook current o ...

POP3 is for retrieval only. Users cannot send mail when hitting the server from outside. Thanks for the heads up on OWA. That would have tanked the server for sure.

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