Microsoft Outlook is one of the most popular email client programs. It is hands down, the most used email client in corporate IT. Because it is part of the Microsoft Office suites it has also penetrated the home and home office user market. It is a very good email client as it gives you great management control over you personal information. Concentrating all this valuable information makes you powerful, but it also makes you vulnerable.

Outlook keeps all your personal information in one big file, called the pst file. As you use Outlook, the pst file gets bigger and more bloated with use. this leaves you vulnerable to a corrupted pst data file, or to inadvertently deleted emails or contacts.

Other Email clients are similarly vulnerable and many of these tips will apply to these other programs.

Too many users never clean house and this just bloats the pst file, slows down Outlook, and sets us up for trouble. Here are some simple steps you can take to keep your Outlook data file in fine shape.

This makes Outlook more efficient, and makes you safer.

Things You Will Need

Installing a backup program for your Outlook pst will give you some automatic protection.

It takes just little time, on a regular basis to keep your personal information safe. a monthly or quarterly cleanup will reward you.

Book mark this article to use as a checklist.

Step 1

Dump your trash! Most of us like the idea that when we delete an email, it goes into a trash folder, so we can simply pull it back out of the trash. Not a bad idea, but it gets carried too far. Some users think of the trash folder as another part of their filing system! Periodically, empty your trash folder. At least delete everything over 90 days old!

Step 2

Keep your inbox clean. The inbox should be a place to look for new or recent messages. The inbox should not be used as a huge file cabinet. Many users keep every message that relates to any open item or project. Easy to manage if its all in one place? Wrong! Delete irrelevant or old messages. Move anything you want to keep to another folder. You can create folders within Outlook, if needed, but work at keeping your inbox clean.

Step 3

Trim your sent message folder. This one creeps up on us. We don't go there often, but are glad to be able to find a response we sent out. Just like the inbox, the sent message folder should only have current messages. Periodically move anything you have to save to another folder.

Step 4

Create a saved messages file folder tree on your PC. Don't use Outlook as your message file cabinet. This just bloats Outlook, which makes you vulnerable. Drag important message that can't be deleted from your Outlook folders to the saved message tree. You can save all you want this way, and keep your Outlook pst file healthy.

Step 5

Backup your Outlook data. What can you do if you permanently delete an important email message, or a mail list? Use the free Microsoft add-in, to save all that data, and give you an easy way to recover lost messages.

Step 6

Test your Outlook pst file. Use the Outlook utility, Scanpst, to scan and fix some errors that creep into your Outlook pst file.

Step 7

Archive your old data. Set your archive options to move important but old stuff into a separate pst file. As the old song goes, "... you don't know what you've got, till it's gone..." Do some preventative maintenance on your Microsoft Outlook on a regular basis and you will be rewarded. Outlook will run better, your information will be safer, and you'll have some peace of mind.

Tips & Warnings

Make a backup of your Outlook pst file before house cleaning.