Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
The ability to send other files as attachments to email is very useful, but also results in bloated email folders and in Outlook's case, PST files.
I started using Outlook in May 2006. I have a big pst file, about 3.6 gigabytes. I archived and am compacting, so that should work. My question is about attachments, are they part of the pst file size? When I get an attachment I want, I click on save as and save it outside Outlook. However, does the attachment then still remain in Outlook? Is there a way to delete attachments while still keep the body of the emails?
Attachments are most definitely part of the PST file size. In fact, I'd hazard a guess that attachments are the number one cause of PSTs getting as big as they do.
And 3.6gig is a pretty big PST.
I have some cautions for you, and some steps you can take.
All attachments and embedded graphics and formatting are stored as part of the individual email within which they happen to appear. So if you get a 5 word email message with a 100 megabyte attachment, that's a single mail message that's over 100 megabytes in size. Actually, because of the way that an attachment must be encoded as text, that 100 megabyte file might well take up 120 megabytes or more of space in the email message, and as a result in your PST.
Saving an attachment doesn't remove it from the message, and hence does not remove it from the PST.
When you save an attachment, all you're doing is:
converting the attached file from its textual email encoding back to its original form
saving that converted form to a new file
You haven't changed the email at all. All you've done is made and saved a copy of the attachment.
Which, by the way, is also what happens if you double click to run or execute the attachment - it's decoded, a copy is written to disk, and that copy is then run or otherwise acted on.
You can delete attachments from the email you've received, and therefore from your PST.
Since the attachment is part of the email message, what you'll do is modify the message. Open up the message containing the attachment you want to remove, right click on the attachment, and click on Remove. That's all there is to it.
After you've removed a few attachments, you won't see the PST get smaller right away. You'll either need to wait to let Outlook compact the PST itself, or force compaction manually.
Now, I can't let that "3.6gig" go without comment. That's a huge PST. I hope you're using the latest version of Outlook - or rather the later version of the PST file format - since older versions will have problems when PST's exceed 2gig. Even if you are using the proper version, that big a PST makes me very, very nervous. I would absolutely make sure that it's being backed up regularly, and I'd seriously consider breaking it into several smaller PSTs.
Comments on this entry are closed.
If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.
If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.