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Outlook 2003 for Windows and your Quota

Everyone is issued a maximum amount of email space and once this quota is reached at 100%, you will be unable to receive any other mail. This document shows you how to save your email to a local disk on your computer's hard drive and remove it from the mail server, thus conserving space on the mail server. At the same time, this also allows you to have a local archive of your email.

This document assumes you are using Outlook 2003 on a Windows OS platform. It is also assumed that Outlook 2003 has been configured to use the IMAP protocol.


The first step in reducing your disk space usage should be cleaning up your current email. Delete any emails that are no longer needed, especially emails with attachments.

Saving email

The Microsoft Outlook 2003 window is by default composed of three views. The first from left to right is the Navigation Pane, then the list of messages followed by the Reading Pane. Views can be added or removed by clicking View and choosing the desired pane. Since the Navigation Pane is where we will be working, ensure that it is active with a check mark. See the figure below.

The Navigation Pane on the far left is organized under sections that denote separated mail or storage accounts. The example below demonstrates two storage accounts. The Personal Folders account which is stored on the hard drive and the hdtest account which is stored on the UH server. The hdtest account with all the folders listed under it is an IMAP account. That means all the messages within that account is utilizing space on the server and therefore is being counted against the allotted quota. In the figure below, the messages in the Inbox of the hdtest account are the ones we are going to move offline onto our local hard drive to relieve disk space on the server. Depending on how Outlook is configured, there can be numerous accounts listed here but only one should represent the messages on the UH mail server for a particular user.

Create new local folder

Create a new local folder where you will store the email you no longer need to have online. To create a new local folder, go to the File menu, click New, and then click Folder. See figure below.

Next, give the folder a name, and then click on Personal Folders. Be sure to click on Personal Folders to ensure the new folder will be created on your local hard disk. Click on the OK button to create the folder. Note that there are plus signs in front of each account below. If there are minus signs, click on them to create plus signs and to collapse the list. This will organize the list and possibly prevent confusion especially if there are numerous accounts in your Outlook profile. In the example below, collapsing the list demonstrates there are only two accounts. 

Move email to new folder

Now, select the email you wish to move offline and have saved in your local folder. After clicking on the folder containing the messages within the IMAP account, you can choose Edit, Select All from the menu, you can click individual messages by holding the CTL key or you can click on contiguous messages by clicking on the first message, holding the SHIFT key and clicking on the last. Once you have chosen the messages to move off the UH server, simply drag them into the new local folder that was created in the previous step. In the figure below, six email messages from the inbox of hdtest were selected and moved into the new local folder, Saved E-mail.

Verify email has been saved

To verify that the email has been saved to your local hard disk, click on the new folder you created (saved e-mail). The saved email messages should be listed. See figure below.

Once the email messages have been moved from the UH server, a strike through line will be drawn through them. In the figure below, notice the strike through lines on the messages in the Inbox of the hdtest account.

Purge saved email from server

After saving all email messages to your local hard drive, it is time to purge the saved emails from the server. To do this, go to Edit and click on Purge Deleted Messages. See the figure below. This will remove the saved emails from the server and free up disk space. Note, be sure to verify that the emails have been saved correctly before doing this step.

That's it, you have successfully moved the selected emails off of the server and onto your local hard drive.

Moving email messages back online

There may come a time when you wish to move the emails you saved onto your local hard disk back online to be accessed from different locations. The process of moving the email back online is very similar to the process of saving them to your local hard disk.

Create new folder on server

Go to the File menu, click New, and then click Folder. Next, give the folder a name, and then click on your IMAP account. In the following example hdtest is selected. Be sure to click on your IMAP account to ensure the new folder will be created on the server. Click on the OK button to create the folder. See figure below.

Move email to new online folder

Now, select the email you wish to move online to be accessed from multiple locations. Simply drag the emails that are to be uploaded into the new online folder that was created in the previous step. In the figure below, the email messages from Saved E-mail was selected and moved into the new online folder, Upload E-mail.

That's it, your email is now back online. The email messages have been moved from the local folder and placed in the newly created folder online. These email messages now count against your quota, but they are able to be accessed from multiple locations.

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Article ID: 910
Created: Mon, 14 Apr 2008 9:29am
Modified: Mon, 30 Mar 2009 3:03pm