2005-12-21

Outlook + Outlook Express Archiving

I was trying to archive emails the other day. I was trying to figure out the best way to do it.
I tried using the save command. But there were naming issues - having to change the file name if the subject was the same. And it was very labor intensive.
I tried including the emails in one larger email and saving that (worked pretty well, but took a lot of time).
I had even looked at a few different programs on the net. Some of them helped. But there were different solutions for Outlook (I use at work) and outlook express (I use at home). And I was hoping for a method that would work for being able to view the emails in the original program or search/extract with a text method.
At work, I could not use an offline folder (*.PST) file, as this is locked out at work :(

Then a couple of weeks ago at work, I found something. Drag-and-drop. DOH!!
If you drag-and-drop from Outlook to a directory, it saves all the messages to .MSG files, and automatically deals with naming issues by appending (1), (2), etc. to the end of messages with duplicate subjects. You can drag-and-drop the emails back into Outlook to recover the messages and order.
The only thing I do is that I reverse the order of my emails before I drag-and-drop, so that the (1), (2), etc. come out in matching date order. While the files have some binary information, they are mostly text, and that works for me.

Then I tried this at home a couple of days ago with Outlook Express. It worked great! Drag-and-drop created files just like Outlook. But it seemed to work faster. And the text files were fully-text, no binary control blocks at the top like Outlook. And I could drag-and-drop back, just like Outlook!

And I noticed something else. Outlook must have a memory leak. When I do a bunch of drag-and-drops with Outlook - it eventually runs out of resources, and will not drag-and-drop any more files. I have to LOG-OFF to clear the problem (just shutting down Outlook is not good enough to clear the resource shortage).



Another thing I do with the messages after I archive them to files - I zip them. But I've found a way to zip them that is more efficient: I zip them twice. First I zip all the files to a zip with *no compression*. Then I go back and compress the zip with full compression. When I use WinZip, I'll have to create an empty text file to add with the zip, otherwise WinZip doesn't want to let me zip the zip, it only wants to do some sort of unzip with the file on right-click.
Why does 2 zips work better than 1? Because when you zip the files with no compression, it puts all this data in one file, and the emails often have a lot of redundant information from file-to-file - and by storing them first (no compression) it allows zip to tag the redundant parts of files that it cannot do when you zip all the files separately. And this method works better with the archive Outlook files as compared to the Outlook Express files.

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