Quite often the support desk processes calls that are regarding Personal Folders and/or storage limits in an email box.
Usually the conversation goes something like this:
Caller: Help! – I got this message that says I am over my limit but I need all this stuff and I don’ t have time to mess with this right now.
Agent: Ok – lets see what we can find… ohh wow – you have 9 million sent items – do you really need all that in there?
Caller: Well… not really, but from time to time I need to go and find something I sent to the customer or to Human Resources, or to Billing, so I am just afraid to get rid of anything.
Agent: Wow… I cannot imagine actually finding an email in this long list, how do you do it?
Caller: Well at one time I put them into folders here in my Personal Folders.. but then one day that stopped working, and I have been meaning to call you about that, do you think you can help me there too?
Agent: Sure… but we may need to restore some files or it may take a few hours to repair this personal folder file… lets see what we can do.
What happens here is we kick the can down the road a bit, and try to help the caller get back to business as quickly as we can. The problem actually begins with the feeling that we cannot get rid of anything, so we keep it all. I am guilty of it too.. you hang onto those things that you are not sure if you will need – and its so easy to do that it actually takes no real thought to keep it all. At some point though a group of hundreds of people all keeping everything becomes a burden on the resources of the systems we have to ensure we can backup, replicate and recover all that information.
Then we find ourselves having to enforce limits… and nobody likes being told they cannot do something they really want to do – and to be honest we don’ t like it either. So the cycle begins of IT telling you to get rid of things and the mailbox owner having to make tough decisions, and potentially not make the best use of their time – cleaning the trash out.
So how to solve this problem??
We have a service that some know about and others do not.. it is called Mailmeter. This service makes copies of all in and outbound email. This service acts as a compliance and discovery tool for us from time to time but its real strength is in the fact that it allows the mailbox owner to get access to their email anytime – deleted or not.
You mean when I delete an email it is still there? – Yes it is there… and searchable for you to find whenever you need it.
For how long??
The limits vary in the organization based upon job function, but the lowest amount of time we keep any employees email is 18 months. This means for at least 18 months you have access to search and find any email you send and get it back into your inbox if you need it. There are some roles such as fleet managers, department directors and other necessary roles in the company that have longer retention – some permanent.
How do I do this??
There are a few ways this can work, but the easiest way is just using Internet Explorer. You will actually find a shortcut in Internet Explorer already there for your use: Favorites – FirstFleet – Mailmeter Email Archive Search .
Clicking this link will display a page like seen below.
There are a couple of fields to pay special attention to so that your search has the best chance of working quickly.
- Received by Sent By YOUR NAME – This determines if you are looking for stuff you sent or stuff you received. Check the boxes accordingly.
- Find Text – In this box you enter words you are looking for and the search corresponds to the boxes you have checked to the right. Think of the box as what you are looking for and the checkboxes as where to look.
- Email Address Contains – This field is nice because you can use the name, email address or even part of the email address to search. So if you are looking for all email you sent to Kroger.com with the truck number 12345 you could search like this image below.
It is important in this field that if you are going to put a domain in that you wrap it in double quotes like below .
- Date Range – You can specify a unique date period if you desire to restrict the results.
- Here you see a simple search of messages I sent to Kroger.com, and I am limiting to the most recent 1000 messages.
- Once the search returns you can click on the message subject to read the contents of the message and fetch the attachments.
- You can also click the envelope icon in the top right to restore the email to your inbox.
So what does this mean for you? It may well mean you don’ t need your personal folders. It may mean you can empty your trash with confidence. It may mean you can daily dump your sent items. It may mean you feel just a bit better about pressing that delete button. I encourage you to take a look at this service we offer and think about how you keep up with “ things” – maybe mailmeter can find a home in your frequently used tools.