Import Rules requires manually resetting "Move To Folder" options; PST file size WON'T COMPACT afte

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I migrated from WinXP, Office 2003 to Win 2007, Office 2007. I wasn't happy about having to reinstall all of my favorite apps but what the heck, I got through it. I set up Outlook and opened the PST file I saved from the 2003 version. I was very pleased that it went well...but I realized that WOW! I had some really huge PST file sizes. My archive.pst was enormous and very generalized, and my (outlook) personal.pst was just as bad.

A couple of years of poor management of email (my neglect) was the problem, so I decided to set up a lot of subfolders in my Inbox and make rules to sort the msgs so related ones would be grouped together in one place and I could evaluate and delete them by folders instead of msgs. I would feel secure in knowing that the most important ones were saved into specially labeled subfolders.

My archive.pst was a total train wreck because there were of course no subfolders in it either. So, I decided to consolidate the archive.pst back into my personal.pst file, then run the rules to sort all the mail back into the new various subfolders. So, I closed the archive folder in the left panel. I then moved my original archive.pst to a neighboring location and reopened Outlook. Then, I imported the Inbox of the original archive.pst back into my current Inbox, including subfolders, and no duplicates allowed. It took some time for all the 40-plus rules to run because these datafiles were huge. I consolidated an archive.pst file of over 7.4gb back into an already personal.pst file of over 5gb. Some msgs were 8mb with their attachments and graphics. Now that's power! inside this little laptop of mine.

I was proud of my rules and the way they MOVED msgs TO specified FOLDERS. Those that didn't get moved on the first go just needed a few more subfolders and rules to move them out of the Inbox and into the folders. I then deleted the folders full of msgs that were no longer needed...and emptied the Deleted Items folder many times. After I was satisfied that I had trashed all the msgs that I didn't want to keep, I then ran the Archive process several times on the Inbox and its subfolders so I could create an archive2008.pst, then and archive2009.pst, and then archive2010.pst (6 months). I archived my Sent folder accordingly as well.

New file sizes were then separately manageable. I will use my autoarchive feature now!!

Here's the problem: Outlook 2007 is designed not to reduce the original personal.pst file size when one deletes a bunch of msgs. Although I deleted/archived nearly 80% of my original personal.pst file, the program doesn't release that disk space. So, my personal.pst file was still at more than 5gb. It actually was less, but the space was taken up by Microsoft's design flaw. Okay, there is a COMPACT NOW button that is supposed to compact the PST after you delete a bunch of msgs...BUT THAT DOESN'T WORK efficiently at all. At best, it recovered about 1.8gb. So then what? If the COMPACT doesn't work, you improvise...

I exported my 40+ rules to the " .rwz" file, moved my new personal.pst file to a neighbor location, restarted Outlook. It couldn't find my personal.pst so I told it to create a new one. Fine, it was void of all my email, contacts, tasks, and all because they were in that PST that I moved over to the neighbor location. I clicked on File, Export and Import, and imported from my neighboring PST. Just like I hoped, it all came back in, msgs, folder structure, contacts, etc. but NO RULES. They were in that " .rwz" file, so no big deal I thought.

So I clicked on tools, rules, options, import, and imported that " .rwz" file. Okay, my wonderful rules appeared to have come back in... I recognized them in the little window and clicked OK to go on. BUT a message pops up that " some of the rules don't have options set" and that's where it blew up. I clicked to go on and save the rules, but then they show up in red ink and the " Move To Folder" is now nameless and shows " specified folder" instead of the folder I originally set for every one of the 40+ rules. So then I try a couple of different approaches to import the rules as they were when I first exported them to that " .rwz" file. But it comes down to this: I have to go back into every rule, select edit, and point it to the folder that I want the messages moved to, then click finish. I have to repeat that sequence for 40+ rules because each one is an independent rule.

It's really not a terribly big step to have to go in and edit them... fortunately the basic rule is there, so the parameters for the " move to" function to act upon are still intact. I'm grateful for that. BUT the question I have is: Why couldn't Microsoft's engineers go that one little teeny step further and make it save the rules as they are first imported? They come in beautifully, but when I clicked the dang window to OK and move on, the program rips out the option! I can fix my problem, but I am certainly glad I didn't have a hundred rules with multiple options set.

Any suggestions as to how we can export rules and then import and save them intact?

I also hate it that I had to work around and import my PST file in order to reduce its file size. Copying it or just opening it from inside Outlook causes it to retain its size so recreating a profile and opening in a new profile would still make it more than 5gb. After I did the shuffle and imported it, the file size came back to less than 1gb.

Okay, I gotta go now... I need to reset my rules' options AND I must go through every darn folder and reset my preferences and turn OFF the reading pane for each one (no global switch to turn that OFF, how dumb!!!!)

Roady [MVP]

Well the issue lies in the way that moved around all your data by importing, relocating and recreating pst-files. Your cleanup method wouldn't have been mine ;-)

Anyway, the exported rules file (rwz) will work just fine when you use it with the pst-file that you exported it from. It will not work when you import it in into a newly created pst-file since the folder identifiers would be different or the folder could not exist at all. That is the reason why you had to reassign the folders again in your rules with newly created folders.

Compacting will also work automatically in the background when Outlook notices that more than 5% of space in the pst-file is white space. You're computer will need to be idle at that time though.

The manual compacting process is usually the way to go after a big cleanup like you did. You might need to run it several times to free up all the space. Still, the pst-file will remain larger than the sum of its individual items as there is also " hidden data" in the pst-file which could take up quite some space. Add-ins such as Xobni can add a lot of hidden data which usually is left the even when you uninstall that add-in.

As for your views and disabling the Reading Pane; modify the default Messages view instead of modifying each view manually. This will let you disable the Reading Pane for all folders in one go. For details see;

Applying custom views to all folders at once

Robert Sparnaaij



KUDOS!!!! Thank you for helping out. I find very useful information on these forums if I have the time to search through them... no fast way though.

Again, thanks!
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