We’ve had some recent posts in one of the SBS listserves asking how to manage Outlook archived PST files for users, and it was asked if the PST files could be stored on the server.
Microsoft’s KB 297019 specifically says that .pst, .ost, and .pab files are not designed to be stored on a network server and such a configuration is NOT supported. Additionally the Microsoft Exchange team has a blog post titled “Why Network stored PST files are a bad idea”.
Saying all that, some people are doing just that … placing the .pst files on a network shared folder. If this works for you, fine. But remember that your remote laptop users will not be able to access their networked .pst files, even if they connect via VPN.
You could look into offline synchronization to allow PST files to sync. But by default, .pst files are excluded from doing that. However, Microsoft KB article (KB 252509) documents a registry edit to change the default exclusion list if you wish to allow PST files to be sync’d (Thanks to Travis Creighton for pointing out this KB article!).
Finally, there is a Microsoft tool for Backing up Outlook Personal folders. The documentation for this tool says that it supports Outlook 2002 and 2003. I also found an additional article (KB 886589) that indicates that it should also work with Outlook 2007.
What’s your experience with all of this?
[Edited to include information on the tool for backing up personal Outlook folders]