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Outlook Express on a Home Network

By Graham Bennett ·
I have a home network of a desktop PC and Notebook connected by a cable router.

I read emails using Outlook Express on the desktop and would like to be able to read the same emails from the Notebook.

I have created a shared folder for the Mail. If I use the Notebook version of Outlook Express and attempt to change where to find the mail folders, the OK button greys out when I try to change to the network folder.

I have also attempted to run from the Notebook using a shortcut to the desktop OE program but that does not work.

I have also tried using Thunderbird without success.

Is there any way that I can view my emails that reside on the desktop PC from the Notebook?

Graham Bennett

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by Toivo Talikka In reply to Outlook Express on a Home ...

I'm afraid you are trying to bypass a fundamental application design principle. The Outlook Express mailbox data files residing on the desktop PC are meant to be accessed by the Outlook Express mail client application running on that particular desktop PC only. Even if you share the folder and manage to access the mail files, you will most likely to bump into all sorts of access right issues.

If you want both the desktop PC and the laptop to have access to the same messages, you should leave the messages on the mail server when you access your messages. You would have to access your messages at the ISP using the IMAP protocol instead of the usual POP3 protocol. All depends on whether your ISP supports IMAP and how much space you have on their server, before you have to transfer the messages to local folders in Outlook Express and delete them from the server.

On the other hand, if you need to access the Outlook Express mailbox on the desktop using the laptop in another room, you could simply stay with POP3, install the TightVNC server on the desktop PC and the TighVNC client on the laptop and access the desktop PC remotely, assuming that the person using the desktop PC does not mind you having full access and is not overly perplexed to see the cursor move all of a sudden by its own volition.

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by Graham Bennett In reply to

Partly acceptable. This explains my problem. Are you aware of any email software that can access shared folders on the PC from the Notebook?

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Outlook Express on a Home ...

While the above is certainly correct there is a workaround but it is messy and you need to be careful.

You'll need to follow the same procedure constantly and never deviate from it if you do this or you will miss some of the E-Mails on the NB. Setup Outlook Express to collect the incoming E-Mails and then open Tools, Accounts highlight your Mail account and click on Proprieties and then go to Advanced and tick Leave copy of messages on Server. That way you can download your E-Mail on the NB and leave it on the mail server until you log on with the Desktop machine which will then empty your mail box. But if you use the Desktop unit first there will be nothing for the NB to pick up.

There is one other Option and that is to share the E-Mail Folder on the Desktop and then Import across the network into Outlook Express using the Import tool.

If you use the former you'll be able to pickup E-Mail while away from home on the NB and not run the risk of loosing any e-mail if the NB gets damaged/stolen which happens quite a lot as it will still be there waiting for you when you get home.

The down side to this is that you have limited space in your Mail Box and if you do not use the Desktop for several days you'll be constantly downloading the same e-mail until you use the Desktop to empty your mail box. If you get a lot of incoming e-mail as well you run the risk of allowing your Mail Box to fill up and then you'll stop getting new messages as they are sent and those who send you messages will get a underivable message sent to them with Mail Box Full on it.


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by Graham Bennett In reply to

Partly acceptable. Sounds fiddly but will give it a try.

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by sgt_shultz In reply to Outlook Express on a Home ...

just map a drive to the oe store folder, then change the location in oe tools/options/maintenance/store folder location.
it'll work. if it doesn't, you just have to fiddle with the share until it 'points' the the right level.
if you only want to view emails that is.
if you want to be able to receive emails at both pc's remember to configure the server connection setttings on the account on one to 'leave copy of message on server, else you will get some email at one pc and some at another.
just compose email from one pc only to keep all your Sent stuff on one computer...

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by Graham Bennett In reply to

Partly acceptable. I have tried this but the OK button greys out as soon as I click on the shared mail folder on the desktop PC. I am not sure what you mean by 'fiddle with the share until it points to the right level'. I only want to view emails.

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by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Outlook Express on a Home ...

Well unfortunately they are your only two options as what you are attempting to do goes against everything that MS wanted to happen when they setup Outlook. It is there to get the incoming mail and not leave a trace of it on the mail server once it has finished so you can either chose to have one computer leave the mail on the server for the other to clear out or Import the E-Mail across the network once you have downloaded it using the Import command in Outlook Express and sharing the store folder for the mail that outlook brings in.

They are your only two options on the up side however if you do use the Import command you will not get several copies of the same e-mails appearing in your folders in Outlook Express.


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by TheChas In reply to Outlook Express on a Home ...

Outlook with the PST file stored on a shared drive on the PC with the notebook set up to map the network share is you easiest option.

As you have seen, OE is not designed to use a network share as a storage location. I have seen a work around posted, but it is difficult to keep it running.

I don't know if Eudora or one of the other email clients supports using a network share.

A twist on Colin's idea to leave your messages on the mail server is to switch from your ISP to G-Mail as your primary mail address.

You can set up gmail to download into OE, Outlook, or Thunderbird. From a quick check, it looks like it might not download messages to 2 different PCs.


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by TheChas In reply to

I knew there was another mail client that might do what you need.

Take a look at Pegasus mail and see if it fits your needs.

You may need to change how your home network is configured. But you should be able to store the mail files on a network share.


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