University of Botswana History Department

Using MS Outlook for UB email
including how to access your email from home

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How to set up Personal Folders on your own hard drive

One aspect of the new system which causes some confusion is the fact that whereas most email systems download messages to your computer, where they are stored, the mopipi Microsoft Exchange system leaves the messages stored on the central computer. You can create various new folders and move messages to them, but they are still on the central computer. This leads to two problems:

  1. If the server is not working, then you cannot access your old messages even though your computer is working.

  2. The storage space on the central computer is limited, which forces the system administrators to limit the storage of your messages. On 15 February 2000 a circular email was sent to all mopipi users stating:

    For those already on MOPIPI, please clean your mailboxes. Delete any mail that you don't need. You can copy some of the mail to personal folders in your machine. Leaving bulk of messages undeleted is consuming a lot of the server's storage. We are imposing quotas on user mailboxes - all unread mail which is 10 days old will be deleted.

The solution to these problems is to copy your messages to a Personal Folders file. This is a file which MS Outlook treats as a folder, allowing you to access old messages just as before, but which is stored on your computer rather than the central one.

Screen shot of MS Outlook showing folders

The screen shot to the left shows the part of the MS OUtlook main window showing mail folders. All the folders shown are located on the central computer system, not on the user's hard drive.

Screen shot of MS Outlook showing how to create a Personal Folders file To create Personal Folders on your own hard drive, start Outlook, and on the File menu select New. A side menu will open. Select "Personal Folders File (.pst)"

A box then opens asking you define a file name. It will already have written in a suggestion such as "Personal Folders(2).pst" You can accept this by clicking the "Create" button. Note that this name doesn't matter much as it is not the one you will see on the Outlook screen.

Outlook window seeking details for new Personal Folder

After you click the "Create" button, another box opens (see illustration).This asks you for a name for the folder. The default name ("Personal Folders") in the "Name" box is highlighted; change it to something more meaningful as this is the name which will appear when you use Outlook. E.g. if it is a folder for University correspondence, you might call it "UB". However, note that when you see the list of folders in Outlook, it is not very obvious which folders are local folders on your own hard drive and which are on the central computer. We therefore suggest that you adopt some convention in naming your personal folders. For example, they could all start with "(L)" for local. Thus your main folder could be "(L) Main", your UB folder could be "(L) UB", etc.

Note the file defined in the "File" box. This gives the actual file location on your hard drive. You should leave this as it is.

The box also asks you to define a level of encryption. This enables you to encrypt the contents of your folder, so that a password is required to access it. You can choose "Compressible encryption", "Best encryption" or "No encryption". Which should you choose? Encryption means that a password must be entered to read the data (without it, the data is stored in an unreadable form) This has some advantages if your office is not secure. BUT!!! The great danger with using encryption is that you may forget the password. (If you leave the password next to the computer, there is no point anyway, so you will need to rely on your memory.) If you choose "No encryption" then the file can be read, in the event of some emergency, without the aid of Outlook by using a text editor. Use encryption only if you really think it is necessary. (It is worth noting that email is not a secure medium anyway, and you should not be using it for anything really sensitive unless you are using a serious encryption program like PGP.) If you choose to use encryption, then you will then need to set a password.

Notice also the box for "Save this password in your password list". If you check this box, then you do not need to remember the special password; the computer will remember it and use it for you when you need it. A good idea? Well, perhaps not. This will mean that anyone who happens to be in your office and gains access to the computer will be able to access your encrypted messages - which rather negates the whole point of having a password in the first place. So we recommend that you do not check this box - assuming you need encryption at all.

Click "OK" and the new folder will be set up.

Outlook window showing personal folders

Your personal folders will now be displayed by Outlook in the folder window. The illustration to the left shows this: the folders which begin "(L)" are all local folders on the hard drive. The others are located on the central computer.

To move messages from one folder to another you can simply drag the message icon from the list of messages to the folder you want to move it to. Another method is to select the message, go to the "Edit" menu, and choose "Move to Folder".

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How to read UB email at home

If you have a computer with Internet access at home, you can access UB email at home. This is done through a web-browser. We are not sure what the minimum requirements for the browser are. (We tested it on Netscape 3 successfully, but that was a while ago and the Outlook system has been updated which may make it more demanding.) It works well with Mozilla and Netscape 7 - in fact they give a better user interface on a 600x400 screen than Internet Explorer. (However, from time to time Outlook refuses to connect to these and will only work with IE.) We have also successfully accessed mopipi email using the "Off By One" browser (see the software page), although in this case there are a number of minor bugs and the system demands the password every time you open a message. Incidentally, some users find that they are asked for the password every time they open a message even when using Internet Explorer. The reason is not yet known. In the screen shots below, we are using Internet Explorer 5.5.

Note: as well as using this to read email at home, it is also valuable when you want to access your email from some other office. Also, this method of connecting with the email system often continues to work even when Outlook is unable to connect. So if you cannot use Outlook, try connecting through your browser.

Start the browser, and go to
(Note the secure connection https rather than the normal http)
It will then ask for your name and password. The exact sequence seems to vary: sometimes it also asks you for the network name, which is "nxauxau".

Sometimes a message will now be displayed reading "Your current password is about to expire in 0 days. To change your password, go to the Options page after you login." Ignore this - your password is not expiring. This seems to be a minor bug in the system. If it comes up, just click "OK" again.

The Outlook mail window will now be opened. It is very similar to what you see when using Outlook on your computer at UB.

Outlook remote access window

Log-out iconTo log out, scroll the bar at the left of the screen down until you see the icon labelled "Log out". Click it.

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Copyright © 2000 University of Botswana History Department
Last updated 14 August 2003