How to synch Outlook files?
October 20, 2008 12:04 PM   Subscribe

What's the easiest way to synch two Windows machines on a daily basis?

I'm a tech ignoramaus and have no idea if this is even possible, so I thought I'd make AskMe my first stop.

I've just started a new job which will involve working part of the day in an office and then part of the day out in the field. When in the office, I need to work on a desktop computer, then in the field I'll be on a laptop. Is there a quick and easy way to synch Outlook between two PCs?

For what it's worth, I may be able to get permission from IT to use Thunderbird instead (if that makes any difference), but I will have to do all the setup myself so it would still need to have an easy to moderate degree of difficul, and very stable with very low risk (though of course I am a backup fiend).

For bonus points, is there a simple yet secure way for colleagues to share access to a folder (a bunch of Word docs), even when working remotely?

Please excuse my complete and utter lack of knowledge on the topic.
posted by different to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Does the company use an Exchange server for Outlook? If so, then Outlook will be sync across the various machines automatically. For a good-sized company, they likely have networked file storage space as well.

I think your first step is to talk to their IT people and see what the company's setup is for email and file sharing before coming up with alternative solutions.
posted by junesix at 12:13 PM on October 20, 2008

Should have added: it's a small company (hence not being able to get help from IT who are, in fact, in another country), and we don't use an Exchange server for Outlook. I just use it as a simple way to pull my emails from the company that hosts our domain name. Once they are on my computer, I can't access them from anywhere else, and neither can anyone else (hence my backup mania).
posted by different at 12:22 PM on October 20, 2008

Ask the tech people about IMAP.
posted by mandal at 12:31 PM on October 20, 2008

If you're using Outlook, go to the Tools menu, then Email accounts, then View or Change, then select your email account and click Change.

Click on the More Settings... button, then the Advanced tab. There you will find an option labeled Delivery at the bottom that will let you leave messages on the server forever or a certain number of days. Do this both on the desktop and laptop.

If you set this to, say 3 days, your office machine will retrieve the messages, then when you use the laptop the messages will still be there. Voila, you now have your email on both machines. The only caveat is you will only have the messages you send on the PC you sent them from. The work around for this is to BCC yourself, but that could make for a messy inbox.

There is a similar option in Thunderbird.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:31 PM on October 20, 2008

I should add that if you select the option to never remove messages from the server, your IT person will likely become very cross.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:33 PM on October 20, 2008

a long shot option. perhaps you could place your outlook email files in a dropbox folder? i do this with onenote files and it works quite well.
posted by ioesf at 2:02 PM on October 20, 2008

or foldershare for sharing docs, now owned by microsoft. drop box is easy to use also. google docs might be an option too?
posted by spyke23 at 2:18 PM on October 20, 2008

Sign up for a hosted Exchange account somewhere and use Outlook the way it was intended to be used.
posted by kindall at 2:20 PM on October 20, 2008

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