Outlook Offline Folders

February 1, 2003
by Lisa Steed
Microsoft has provided a way to access your Outlook/Exchange mailbox folders even when you are not connected to the network or Exchange server. The process used in offline folders is called synchronizing. Offline folders are useful in situations when a connection to the network or Exchange server is not readily available, or when traveling. Offline folders are basically a mirror image of your last Exchange mailbox sync. Using Microsoft Outlook, you are able to configure offline folders that will allow you to work with your email messages, contacts, calendar, and other folders (if desired) without being connected to the Exchange server. By default, offline folders are configured to see all of Outlook's original system folders. You must configure other sub-folders that you may have created for offline use manually. Offline folder information is stored in a local file on your computer's hard disk (with an .ost extension) and is available even when you are not connected to an Exchange server. The .ost file can even be compacted to save space on your computer.

Offline folders allow you to add, delete, and modify the contents of any offline folder exactly as you can with a folder on Exchange server. For example, you can change and move email messages in your offline Inbox, create new email messages, look up contact or calendar information, and send messages that are to be placed in your offline Outbox. Meanwhile, you will receive new messages in your Inbox on the server, but you will not be aware of these changes on the server until you synchronize by logging back into Outlook/Exchange server. Once you have logged back into Outlook/Exchange the contents of your offline Outbox will be sent to the intended recipient.
For assistance with configuring offline folders for your current version of Outlook please visit http://www.baylor.edu/its2/index.php?id=4020. Here you will find various Outlook documentation (offline folders included), or simply contact the Help Desk at 4357 for further assistance.
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