Stop Outlook Messages From Hogging Disk Space
Attention, Outlook users: A space hog is consuming your hard-disk real estate. Outlook logs your e-mail, appointments, contacts, and notes in a continuously expanding.pst data file. As the file grows, it eats up lots of hard-disk space.
The solution is to archive the Outlook data file. The AutoArchive feature in Outlook 2000 and 2002 moves your aging items to a.pst archive file automatically. Before you enable automatic archiving, adjust your default settings: Choose Tools, Options, Other, click the AutoArchive button, and modify the settings there to your liking. Next, choose View, Folder List and decide which folders you'd like to archive differently from the default method (you might want to leave your Notes folder unarchived, for example). Right-click each of these folders, choose Properties, click the AutoArchive tab, and modify the settings as you wish. Finally, choose File, Archive, select Archive all folders according to their AutoArchive settings, and click OK. This will start the AutoArchive process immediately, which is why it's important to set up the global default and individual custom folder settings first.
I prefer to move data around manually. I usually leave the last 9 to 12 months of e-mail unarchived, and then archive everything up to a certain date into a single file with a memorable name, such as "2001 Outlook Archives.pst." To do this, click File, Archive, select Archive this folder and all subfolders, choose the folder to archive (selecting the top level--Personal Folders--will include everything Outlook knows how to archive), select the latest date for items to archive, and choose the file location (see FIGURE 1). Click OK to start the archiving process.
The final step is to compact the original.pst file to reclaim the space used by archived items. In Outlook 2002, choose File, Data File Management, select the Personal Folders file in the list of data files, click the Settings button, and choose the Compact Now button. In Outlook 2000, right-click Personal Folders, select Properties for "Personal Folders", and click Advanced and then Compact Now.
If you later need to see a message or other item you've archived, simply choose File, Open, Outlook Data File (in Outlook 2002) or File, Open, Personal Folders File (.pst) (in Outlook 2000); then browse to the archive file you created and double-click it. You'll be able to view the file's contents just as you would the contents of any other folder, and even to drag and drop items from the archive back into your Personal Folders file.
Send your questions and tips to firstname.lastname@example.org. We pay $50 for published items. Scott Spanbauer is a contributing editor for PC World.
Secure Instant Messages
Online chat is addictive, but it's not just for teenagers. Increasingly, businesses are using instant messaging to stay in touch with customers and employees. And while it may seem safe enough, IM can be as dangerous to your privacy as any other Internet technology.
Most instant messenger clients lack the encryption features found on e-mail programs, so everything that you send and receive travels as easily readable plain text.
If your instant messaging activity involves sensitive information, consider encrypting the contents of your messages with IMpasse Systems' $20 (free for the first 14 days)). IMpasse allows you to conduct 448-bit secure encrypted conversations with other program users via AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, and Yahoo Messenger; and IMpasse Systems reports that ICQ support will be coming soon.
Windows, your firewall, and other Internet-related software often require both an IP address and another mysterious set of numbers called a netmask. The netmask is a filter that reduces how many of the billions of possible IP addresses your data transmissions broadcast to. Since the first three numbers (known as octets) of a network segment's IP address are usually identical (192.168.0, for example), the last octet is often the only one that matters. A netmask of 255.255.255.0 (the most commonly used value for most of us) masks out the first three octets, preventing unnecessary network traffic.