Archive for June, 2011

Help! My inbox is almost full!

Do you receive the “Your Mailbox is almost full” message far too often?  Exchange Extended Mailbox (EEM) is the quick solution!

The U.S. House of Representatives migrated to Exchange 2007 last year.  With this migration came several important changes to your email system. The change this post will focus on is the Exchange Extended Mailbox.  Exchange Extended Mailbox (EEM), also called Symantec Enterprise Vault (EV), is the software the House uses to automatically move older emails to secondary storage.

How it works: When your mailbox reaches the trigger point of 375,000 kb, EEM will kick in the following night and move mail messages older than 30 days to secondary storage until your mailbox is back under the limit.  This process is called moving to the vault or vaulting.  If you are at a PC, using Outlook or Outlook Web Access, vaulted messages appear in your Inbox (or whichever sub-folder you left them in) just like regular messages, with the exception of having a different icon.

If emails are vaulted automatically why are you still receiving “your mailbox is almost full” messages? Because your mailbox size surpassed the ‘trigger point’ during business hours and EEM’s automatic vaulting process only occurs overnight.

How do you solve this? Manual Vaulting

Manually Vaulting emails in Outlook 2007

1.  Open Outlook and arrange the emails in your inbox by size.  Click the View menu, click Arrange By and select Size

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2.  Select the largest emails in your inbox and click the Store in Vault button on the Symantec Outlook Add-In Toolbar.

Vaulting2

3.  Click OK to move the selected emails into the Enterprise Vault.

Step3

4.  The message icon for vaulted emails will change to indicate that they have been moved into the Enterprise Vault.

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Messages that have been vaulted no longer count against your mailbox size limit.

Limitations to Vaulted Messages

There are just a few limitations to messages which have been vaulted:

  1. You may have to wait an extra second for the message to open, though it is normally VERY quick.
  2. You will only able to see the first 4000 characters of vaulted messages on your Blackberry or on an Apple mail client.  You will notice this most commonly with message attachments not being viewable, but it will also apply to the text of very long emails. Anything over 4000 characters can be viewed by unvaulting the message or by clicking on the link included in the message – this will open the entire message in a web browser.
  3. Messages cannot be manually vaulted between 7:00 AM – 9:30 AM.
  4. Vaulted messages should not be moved to PST files (archive/personal folders) or exported via Outlook’s import/export wizard.  If you need to export vaulted messages to a file, to take with you to a new job or for backup purposes, please contact your HouseCall Systems Administrator assistance with the process.

These limitations can all be quickly overcome by unvaulting messages, saving all that time you previously spent archiving emails in PST (personal/archive folders) files.  

EEM is not a replacement for keeping a tidy inbox – you should continue to maintain an organized structure of inbox sub-folders and delete any unnecessary emails.  EEM is a valuable tool that will help keep you organized by allowing you to keep all of your messages in your inbox eliminating the need for those pesky PST files.  Note: Outlook does limit the number of emails that can be stored in a single folder so it is important to create inbox sub-folders.

The CAO’s full guide to EEM services can be found on HouseNet under: Technology/ How-To Library/Exchange Extended Mailbox Service Features Guide.

Tips for File Management

An office environment can be quite stressful.  Working under demanding conditions and short deadlines can lead you to cut corners in your work.  While it may seem you are saving time in the moment, it can (and usually does) lead to wasted time in the future.  A good example of this is creating computer files and folders without having an efficient system of filing.  A lack of structure and organization can lead to hours of frustration and more undue stress searching for files and folders that are lost among a mess of other documents.  Here are a few quick tips to help you manage your files better.

1.  Draw up a directory tree – This is helpful in visualizing the architecture and hierarchy of your folders and files. It also gives you a chance to minimize folder location paths within the tree by eliminating unnecessary files or folders, which can be a tremendous timesaver.

Example of a directory tree

Example of a directory tree

2.  Be consistent – It is important to develop a naming scheme that will help you quickly locate folders and retrieve files.

- Try using abbreviations when dealing with long words. Also, try to keep the character count under 25
-Try to select a meaningful name that will provide context to the computer user
-When dealing with files that require similar names, try adding the date and time for added distinction (MMDDYY_HHMMSS)\
-Do not use spaces in your file names. If necessary, use an underscore (_).

Whatever you may choose to follow as a scheme, it is most important to be consistent.  Once your system is committed to memory, you will be surprised how quickly you can navigate through your files and folders.

3.  Keep it small – It is ideal to maintain a folder structure that does not require you to do a great deal of down scrolling.  With each window you open, you will want to be able to see its entire contents without the need for scrolling.  To do this, try separating your folders by year or broad subject matter, e.g. Fiscal Year 2010, Proposals, Invoices, etc. Doing this could create a lengthy file structure, however, the benefit of knowing where your files are should outweigh the drawback of extra folder clicking.

4.  Save in one root location only – This will save you a lot of search time when you know all of your documents are saved within a folder structure in “drive A” as opposed to some being saved in “drive A, drive B and drive C”.  This can make using the windows search tool easier and time saving.  In addition, most office network infrastructures provide network drive locations for each user to save documents to. It is good practice to utilize the network drive as the primary location for saving documents and folders as the drive will more than likely be backed up on a regular basis, thus, minimizing the risk for data loss.

5.  Save often – When creating or dealing with a document, you should immediately save it in its proper location and frequently save your changes. It can save you time in selecting the location after you finish.  Also, should the application prematurely shutdown and an auto recovery backup isn’t an option, this can save you the time of retyping the document.

6.  Clean up – Be sure to delete obsolete files.  It helps to keep your folder structure from being cluttered with unnecessary documents and folders. It also helps to free up necessary drive space for new files and folders to be added.

By following these guidelines, you will save yourself several future headaches. Not only that, you will notice an uptick in your productivity and a decrease in your stress levels!

Outlook 2010 Tips and Tricks

With the new release of Outlook 2010 Microsoft has again changed how things look and has moved a few icons around. Since Outlook has become such an essential part of everyone’s work workflow we decided to post a few tips and tricks to help smooth the transition and increase your productivity.

One of the efficiency features you can use in Outlook 2010 is called Quick Steps. Quick Steps will allow you to program a multi-step task so that you can repeat it with a simple click of your mouse.  You are also able to customize Quick Steps or add new icons to the taskbar that will allow you to keep the actions you need to perform readily available.

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The first time you click on an icon in the Quick Steps are, Outlook will ask you a few questions that will allow you to customize the icons.  For instance, the “Move to :? ” icon will allow you to move an email to a folder of your choosing in one step.

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When clicking on the icon it will allow you to choose the folder you wish to use and what actions you would like to have happen at the same time.   After configuring the icon it will be in the Quick Steps section for the next time you want to move an email to that folder.

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If you would like to create another Quick Step, click on the Create New icon option.

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Create a name for the Quick Step, choose an action for the icon, and then complete the steps for that action.  There are many, many available actions that can help speed up your daily, repetitive Outlook tasks.

One particularly helpful Quick Step is the “Team Email” icon which  allows you to create a email group for all of your team members or office group.  Another is the “Done” icon which can be setup to move emails to a folder and have the email marked as read. It can also be set up to move the emails to the deleted items folder if you would so desire.

You can also manage you Quick Steps by clicking on the little drop down arrow in the bottom right of the Quick Step tray. This will bring up two choices New Quick Step and Manage Quick Steps. Manage Quick Steps will allow you to edit, delete, and change the order of the icons in your Quick Step tray.

The following are some keyboard shortcuts for tasks that you might use frequently.

  • To create an e-mail message – CTRL+N
  • To send an e-mail message – CTRL+S
  • To reply to an e-mail message – CTRL+R
  • To reply all to an e-mail message -
  • To forward an e-mail message – CTRL+F
  • To mark an e-mail message as read – CTRL+Q
  • To print an e-mail message – CTRL+P

AppleInsider – Federal Government Embracing Apple

Check out this very interesting article about the recent shift in government technology spending. Courtesy of AppleInsider.