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When you use Microsoft Outlook 98 with the Microsoft Exchange Server Information Service, you have the ability to work with folders "offline." That is, you can use the contents of a folder without a network connection. This article discusses how you can create, use, and synchronize offline folders.
Offline folders are only available with Microsoft Exchange Server.
Offline folders are the quickest and easiest way to work offline with Microsoft Exchange Server. Offline folders make it possible to work with the contents of a Microsoft Exchange Server folder while not connected to the network and then when connected to the network, synchronize the folders.
Offline folders are stored in an offline folder file (.ost); the default location for the .OST is your current Windows folder. Like Personal Folders (PST), the .OST can be compacted to save space on your computer.
The difference between an Offline Folder file and a set of Personal Folders is that the Offline Folder file starts as a mirror image of your folders on the Microsoft Exchange Server and is updated by the server during synchronization. A set of Personal Folders, on the other hand, is simply a storage location on your hard disk or a server other than the Microsoft Exchange Server.
When working offline, you work with the contents of an offline folder exactly as you do with a folder on a server. For example, you can change and move items in your offline Inbox, send messages that are placed in your offline Outbox, and read your offline public folders. You will continue to receive new messages in your Mailbox. However, you will not be aware of these changes on the server until you connect to the network.
When you need to update the contents of the Offline folder you synchronize the folder with the server and then continue to work offline. The Synchronize command, connects to the server through Dial-Up Networking, copies the changes made, and then disconnects. Any item that you delete from either the offline folder or the corresponding server folder will be deleted from both after synchronization.
Creating an Offline Folder FileTo create an offline folder file, follow these steps:
All of the standard Outlook folders Inbox, Outbox, Deleted Items, Sent Items, Calendar, Contacts, Journal, Notes, and Tasks on the Microsoft Exchange Server are now ready for offline use. You cannot selectively choose which will be available for offline use and which will not be. To set Public Folders for offline use, see the "Working with Public Folders Offline" section in this article.
To set any user-defined folders for offline use, follow these steps:
NOTE: When you start Windows, do not press ESCAPE when prompted for the Windows password, or you will not be able to access the .ost file because the proper credential information has not been supplied.
The file <filename>.ost cannot be accessed because it has been configured for use with a different mailbox.
Working with Public Folders OfflineTo work with public folders offline, follow these steps:
When you synchronize, a log file appears as a message in your Deleted Items folder. This log file contains information such as the time you synchronized, the names of the folders synchronized, and the number of items added.
To synchronize offline folders, use one of the following methods.
Synchronizing a Specific FolderTo synchronize a specific folder, click to select the folder you want to synchronize, on the Tools menu, click Synchronize and then click This Folder.
Synchronizing All FoldersOn the Tools menu, click Synchronize and then click All Folders to synchronize all your offline folders.
Automatically Synchronizing All Folders When You Quit OutlookTo automatically synchronize all folders when you quit Outlook, follow these steps:
It is important to synchronize and download the Address book before you log off the Microsoft Exchange Server. This is particularly important when going on the road for the first time to ensure that all your offline folders will be updated before you leave.
To download your address book, use the following steps:
The Remote Mail feature is not available if you are set for Offline Folder use. For more detailed information about Remote Mail and how to use it, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
TITLE : OL98: (CW) Remote Mail, Offline Folders, and Working Offline
Setting Which Folders Are Available OfflineYou can control which folders in the exchange mailbox are available offline, and therefore, in your OST file on a folder-by-folder basis.
Synchronizing Two Computers To the Same MailboxIn order to synchronize two computers to the same mailbox, they must be synchronized individually. While multiple computers can connect to the same mailbox at the same time, only one can synchronize at a time. The synchronizations can be performed during the same session, but not simultaneously.