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Using Dropbox and Outlook together E-mail
Saturday, 03 January 2009 02:12


I realize I should have probably elaborated on just how to use Dropbox with Outlook.  It's actually quite simple.  You will want to take the following steps on each of the computers you want to use the same Outlook data on:

  1. If you don't know where the Outlook.pst file is located, go to Tools > Account Settings > Data Files tab, and note the location for the "Personal Folders" file.  Close Outlook if it's open.
  2. Copy the file Outlook.pst from its current location to your "My Dropbox" folder.
  3. Once you've copied the file to your Dropbox folder, open Outlook, go back into the Data Files settings, and add the file you just copied by clicking the Add... button right under the Data Files tab.
  4. Once that's done, go ahead and select that file and click the Set as Default button up top, and you're done.  Optionally, remove the file that was originally the default from the list of files.

The thing to be careful about is, when you close Outlook, give Dropbox some time to upload the updated file.  And before opening it on another computer, let Dropbox download the changed Outlook.pst.  This is especially important if you're just starting up the computer and Dropbox hasn't had a chance to index files yet, because in order for the changed Outlook.pst to be available on another computer, Dropbox has to index and download it first.

Dropbox and Outlook

I'll be traveling soon, and while traveling I'll need to be working, which means I'll need access to e-mails in Outlook, which are on my second laptop, which I won't be taking with me.

After trying but not liking a couple of special software solutions, I got the idea to use Dropbox (referral link) - something I'm using already - to synchronize the Outlook Personal Folders data files between my two computers.

My e-mail is accessed via IMAP from Gmail, so that doesn't need to be synchronized locally, which leaves the other data stored in Outlook.pst.  So what I've done is make the Outlook.pst in "My dropbox" the main file Outlook loads up with on both machines.  As long as I don't switch between Outlook on the two computers every five minutes, the system seems to work pretty well.

If I do switch too soon, Dropbox ends up creating extra local copies because data is being saved locally faster than it is being synchronized.  But considering it's free, and how easy it is, it seems to be a good solution so far.