Log In

Come Join Us!

Are you a
Computer / IT professional?
Join Tek-Tips Forums!
  • Talk With Other Members
  • Be Notified Of Responses
    To Your Posts
  • Keyword Search
  • One-Click Access To Your
    Favorite Forums
  • Automated Signatures
    On Your Posts
  • Best Of All, It's Free!

*Tek-Tips's functionality depends on members receiving e-mail. By joining you are opting in to receive e-mail.

Posting Guidelines

Promoting, selling, recruiting, coursework and thesis posting is forbidden.

Students Click Here

A pro-plexing problem...

A pro-plexing problem...

A pro-plexing problem...

Hi all,

Appologies in advance if this sort of post has been put up here before. I did post earlier about this, but well, the spec has changed.

I am trying to work out if its possible to setup an outlook client in the following way. The business that I work for has 8 different email acounts across 3 different domains. At the moment the setup is using a .pst file and POP3 email accounts, these can be switched over to an IMAP account. However presently the size of the .pst file is 12 gigs. Clearly there is a lot of things that need to be archived locally.

However I am tasked with problem of providing a single unified inbox across 2 PC's using Outlook - without an exchange server, and also to be able to provide access to some of the email accounts (inbox, sent mail, some archive data) remotely utilising the IMAP feature of our hosting. Only one of the accounts really needs the remote access presently.

Essentailly I am looking for opinions/other options I have stumbled across. At the moment I see the following options and I am just looking for advice really:

1. Forward everything to a single Gmail or hotmail account - although this would result in a single unified inbox, a large amount of IMAP storage, I am correct in thinking that sending emails from the different accounts (and not through the gmail account) would result in multiple sent folders (a folder for each email account used?!)

2. Utilize the IMAP feature on the email accounts. However I carn't find an easy way to configure outlook to present a unified inbox - not even sure if its possible?

3. Use a third party piece of sync software to sync the .pst file between the two office PC's - and use then look at configuring the imap features on other devices - iphone/ipad?!

I am trying to resist using the gmail / hotmail idea, mostly as I see it as a single point of failure, and I don't think it actually would result in what I have been tasked to achieve. The way I see it in this day and age, hotmail/gmail are aiming this feature really for home users not businesses (although I am sure that many businesses are using it out there - I guess thats the idea of office 365). More importantly I am not convinced that they are secure and if something seems to good to be true it usually is - IE they are not offering if free they must be gaining something from it.

Anyhow, any ideas welcomed. As per usual the business I am working for wants to do it as cheeply as possible, so any freeware recommendations are welcomed.

Thanks in advance,


RE: A pro-plexing problem...

You need a server, what you are trying to do is impractical and risky from the data integrity point of view with PST files. They are intended for Personal STorage only, are very easily 'broken' and do not lend themselves to shared access.

Your only logical recourse is for every account to be using IMAP and all messages remaining on the server so that every user can see ALL messages that have been sent or received by any other user.

Without going down the M$ Exchange route take a look at Zimbra

Or if only mail access in the office is required, you could run a local Linux server with PostFix or Exim (SMTP), Dovecot or Courier (IMAP and POP) with 'Fetchmail' polling the hosting server to collect mail.
If you need Calendar and appointment collaboration etc. Horde has a myriad of extensions that beat M$ Exchange hands down and hooks into IMAP servers for reading and composing mail.

Or if you don't fancy a Linux server MailEnable is a excellent mail server that runs on Windows and has everything that M$ Exchange has apart from the price tag and the licensing mess.


Indifference will be the downfall of mankind, but who cares?
Time flies like an arrow, however, fruit flies like a banana.
Webmaster Forum

RE: A pro-plexing problem...

Hi Guys,

Thanks for the reply and sorry for the very very very late reply. Its a bit random, but I don't really get to use a computer every day, and actually spend most of my days fixing small sailing dinghies...I digress.

Ok, so in the end the only logical solution (unforuately) was to look at cloud based service. So far I have ended up doing this using a Gmail account. So all the email is being forwarded to one account (less than ideal and represents a single point of failure).

The plan at the moment I thought would be to migrate towards a paid for service (gmail or equithliant). I was thinking about looking at using Microsofts 365. Has anyone got any experence of it or recommendations? Am I correct in thinking that you get the features that you would get from an exchange servers, but without the hassle of administrating it?

At the moment, the service thats being used seems quite slow - I guess as its all coming down from the net (and its a basic ADSL connection I think). I do wonder if a paid for service would be better in terms of bandwidth.

Outlook as also been setup with all of the email accounts registered (so that you can send through them). Ideally the users want to still be able to send through the accounts, but not actually to have them cluttering up the desk space. I am guessing this is something that you can only do using an exchange server or similar?

Anyhow any help or posts or comments welcomed.

Thanks again,


Red Flag This Post

Please let us know here why this post is inappropriate. Reasons such as off-topic, duplicates, flames, illegal, vulgar, or students posting their homework.

Red Flag Submitted

Thank you for helping keep Tek-Tips Forums free from inappropriate posts.
The Tek-Tips staff will check this out and take appropriate action.

Reply To This Thread

Posting in the Tek-Tips forums is a member-only feature.

Click Here to join Tek-Tips and talk with other members! Already a Member? Login

Close Box

Join Tek-Tips® Today!

Join your peers on the Internet's largest technical computer professional community.
It's easy to join and it's free.

Here's Why Members Love Tek-Tips Forums:

Register now while it's still free!

Already a member? Close this window and log in.

Join Us             Close