Skip to Content

Vanderbilt IT

Home > Services > Messaging > Vmail > bp > Email Best Practice

Email Best Practice

The purpose of this message is to provide a small list of tasks, as well as justification, for removing un-needed and out-dated messages from your Exchange mailbox. By performing the simple tasks listed below on a weekly basis, e-mail access time will be improved for all, and critical disk space will be more available. Below are some basic and easy to follow instructions for optimizing your mailbox, and ensure it does not contain any unnecessary or out-dated mail.

Remove "Deleted Mail" from your mailbox.
Mail is not completely removed until you empty out your Deleted Items folder.

You may not realize that when you delete any mail, it automatically moves it to your Deleted Items folder, but does not remove it from your mailbox. To completely remove your deleted mail, right-click on your Deleted Items folder and select Empty "Deleted Items" Folder. To automatically remove your deleted items when exiting Outlook, select Tools/Options from the menu and click the "Other" tab. In the "General" section, select the option "Empty the Deleted Items folder upon exit" and click OK.

Delete obsolete or unnecessary copies of sent mail from your Sent Items folder.
You may also not realize that when you send a message to someone, a copy of that message, including any attachment, is saved in your Sent Items folder. If you need to keep messages in your Sent Items folder for archive reasons, consider using Personal Folders for this purpose. Simple instructions on how to setup and user Personal Folders are at the end of this message. To disable the automatic saving of sent mail, select Tools/Options from the menu, select the "Preferences" tab and click the "Email Options" button. Deselect the option "Save copies of messages in Sent Items folder" and click OK, then click OK again.

Delete obsolete or unnecessary email from your Inbox and other folders.
While viewing messages, you can click on the Date column header to sort your mail in ascending or descending order by when it was received. You can also click on the Size column header to view messages largest to smallest. This allows you to view and remove the larger emails, which takes up most of the space in your mailbox. If you need to keep messages for "archive" reasons, consider using Personal Folders for this purpose. Simple instructions on how to setup and use Personal Folders are at the end of this message.

Please go into your Inbox and/or Sent Items folder and remove any mail with large attachments.
While viewing messages in any folder, you can click on the Size column header, or the column header with the paper-clip, to view large messages or those containing attachments in ascending or descending order. Removing messages with large attachments greatly reduces the size of your mailbox.

Instructions for setting up and using Personal Folders:

By using Personal Folders, you have full on-line access to your messages, but they are stored on your PC instead of the mail servers. This offers you faster access to these messages, but these messages ARE NOT backed up since they are on your PC rather than the Exchange server. With help from your LAN Manager, your Personal Folders could possibly be stored on a networked drive. Although not stored on your PC, using a networked drive will allow your Personal Folders to be backed up on a regular basis. To create Personal Folders on your system, please follow the instructions listed below.
  1. From Outlook, make sure your Folder List is present down the left side of the page. If it isn't, click on View, then click Folder List.
  2. Click on Tools, then click Options.
  3. Click on the Mail Setup tab, then click the Data Files button.
  4. From the Outlook Data Files window, select Add.
  5. From the New Outlook Data File window, make sure Personal Folders File (.pst) is selected and click OK.
  6. From the Create or Open Outlook Data File window, verify the file name is Personal Folders.pst and select OK.
  7. In the Create Microsoft Personal Folders window, keep all defaults and select OK.
  8. In the Outlook Data Files window, select Close.
  9. In the Options window, select OK.

From the Folder List in Outlook, you will now notice the new entry Personal Folders under Mailbox - "your name". If you right-click on Personal Folders, you can create new folders and name them accordingly. From your mailbox, you can drag and drop messages to any folders you create under your Personal Folders. Within Outlook, it is very important to note that any mail under your Mailbox is stored on the Exchange server, and any mail you have moved to your Personal Folders is stored on your PC. Again, please remember that anymail stored on your PC is not backed up.

Thanks again for your cooperation.

Last Modified: 2014-06-10