Where to Put Your Email Files

Written and published April 22, 1999

Before getting off on the Stationery tangent, I discussed the placement of data files. Data files, I wrote, "are what I call files that specifically belong to an application and are called on by that program to provide you with your information." I mentioned that I don't store my Consultant data file in the Consultant (application) folder, but in my own folder, called "Deb's Personal files" which I back up regularly. (Personal docs must be backed up because they can't be replaced.) And then came the issue of email data files... That's our topic of the week. Following the Eudora information, you'll find Emailer and Outlook Express info.

I don't use Eudora, so I asked if any of you could tell us where we might store Eudora's files. As soon as I asked responses poured in. I was quite impressed. Thanks to everyone who wrote in.

Eudora Folder Euphoria

Here's the story in the words of your fellow readers:

"On first activation, Eudora creates an Eudora Folder in the System Folder where it stores all the user's files such as mailboxes, filters, address book, etc. This folder can be moved to anywhere in the Mac. In order to activate the 'account' in that folder, the user should double-click the Eudora Settings file in that folder to start Eudora instead of starting from the Eudora application itself. An alias can be made of the Eudora Settings and placed anywhere for activation." - Kev

". . . If he makes an alias to it, he must make sure it is named the same as the original folder. Eudora will not Find a folder called "Eudora Stuff alias" when it's looking for Eudora Stuff." - Rob Thiemann

". . . If it's installed on a single user machine, I suggest moving the folder elsewhere (such as the 'Personal Files' folder you propose) and leaving an alias to the relocated folder in the System Folder." - Michael Edmondson

". . . Then, if you upgrade the System folder you won't run the risk of losing your files." - Andrew Treloar

". . . if you double-click or select and open the application itself, Eudora will look in the system folder. If, on the other hand, you double-click the Eudora Settings file to launch Eudora, [it] will use those settings and the mailboxes etc. that reside in the same folder as those settings." - Kenji Kono

". . . Eudora Folders can reside on any partition of any hard drive..." - Russ

". . . In my lab environment, I have multiple users supported on one machine by giving each user a Eudora folder in his/her personal Documents folder. Furthermore, I make an alias to the Eudora Settings in that folder and rename it "XXX's Email" then put it in a popup folder called Email that's on our desktop." - Matt Vaughn

". . . I install my Eudora on both my home and office machine, and I put the Eudora Folder on a zip. The trick is to open the "Eudora Settings" in the Eudora Folder instead of launching the Eudora application. This gets Eudora to use my mail settings and put the mail files in the correct Eudora Folder. This method also enables multiple Eudora users to use the same machine, each opening their own settings file." - Jiatyan Chen

". . . You can keep one copy of Eudora installed on each computer, and each user can have their own folder of settings to launch Eudora with." - Matthew Cox

". . . as long as the 'owner' of each folder remembers to launch Eudora from that Settings file or an alias of it. - Russ

". . . Qualcomm advises that you can move copies of your Eudora Folder out of the system folder to anywhere on your hard drive. But you must leave one in the system folder. These copies can then be configured differently than the one in the system folder to allow for more than one E-mail user or for multiple E-mail addresses on different servers (i.e. one at work and a personal one with your ISP from home.) I have gone one step further and have placed aliases to the various 'settings files' in an AliasMenu pull down menu. I simply choose the e-mail address I want to use from the menu and when I'm done I can choose a different e-mail address. This causes Eudora to quit and restart with different settings." - Stan Scott

To sum up Eudora:

"Probably the best thing someone can do to organize/move Eudora files around is to move the Eudora Folder out of the System Folder and place it where ever they want (in a "Documents" file/partition, for example). Then create an alias to that folder and move the alias to the System Folder, renaming the alias "Eudora Folder" (without quotes, and without the space at the end that people tend to leave when renaming an alias). Eudora will recreate the Eudora Folder in the System Folder if one is not found there unless Eudora is opened by opening a Eudora Settings file found elsewhere." - Hank Zimmerman (Hank is the author of The [Unofficial] Eudora Web Site.) He addresses this particular issue in detail at http://www.emailman.com/eudora/mac/eudoraf.html and also maintains the comp.mail.eudora.mac FAQ.)

OutLook Express

I use OE and can speak about it from first-hand experience. If you are an OE user, you will find your complete email files within the main Outlook Express folder, in a folder called "OE User(s)." If you are the only user, your folder is "Main User." If you have several people using your hard drive and OE, you'll find a folder with each person's name, as you named their usage. As with all of your work, you want to be sure to back up your email. You can make this simple by opening the "OE User(s)" folder, making an alias of your email folder (Main User, or another), then keeping the alias inside the "OE User(s)" folder and dragging the real folder into your personal files folder. OE doesn't care whether you call the folder "Main User alias," or "Main User." It also doesn't mind whether you change the alias name directly in the OE folder, or within the Change User dialog box that OE provides for changing users or creating a new user. Once the physical User folder is in your personal data files folder, you can back it up along with your other files. To launch OE, double-click the OE application as you normally do. If you're the only user, your email will open right up. If you have multiple users, OE will open as you've designated within the program. Although this isn't the place to get into this, you can even take your User folder to another person's hard drive (with OE installed) and place your folder, or an alias to it, in that OE User(s) folder to collect your email. Your messages will land in your folder. Of course, you'd need to copy that folder in place of the one on your hard drive at home just like you always need to replace old files with new.

Claris Emailer

Claris Emailer isn't as flexible as OE or Eudora. The program simply won't open if you move the Mail folder from the Claris Emailer Files folder and replace it with an alias, or if you try to alias the entire Claris Emailer Files. When I used Emailer, I simply kept the entire program folder outside of my Applications or Communications applications folder, then backed up the entire folder.

Other Mail Programs

I didn't hear from anyone about MailKeeper or Netscape's email. I'd still love to share knowledge on whether it is possible to move the mail files to an alternate folder for easy backup. PS: If you write to share ideas please let me know whether I can use your name and if you want your email address and/or URL printed.

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