Q: Is there a shortcut method to saving Microsoft Outlook e-mail to a personal folder on your hard drive?
A: The easiest way to back up entire Outlook e-mail files, including the entire inbox of messages, is to install a utility that Microsoft does not include in Outlook. It is, however, available for download in Microsoft's downloads area at www.microsoft.com/office.
Go there and use the search term Personal Folders Backup. This takes you to a list of the backup tools for the various versions of Office, including 2000, 2002 and 2003. Click your version and you'll get a download page. The download is tiny at 160 kilobytes and it alters your software to add a Backup command under File.
Henceforth a user can select a mailbox, then click on File and Backup and point toward any part of the hard drive or a removable storage device to receive the backup copy.
Don't ask me why this isn't built into the software instead of merely offered as an optional add-in. Maybe they don't think their customers can handle the process of finding a folder to use for backups?
Most likely though, it's done so that corporate computer managers can regulate whether employees are allowed to make their own copies of a company's incoming (or outbound) e-mail. Whatever the reason, the fix is a snap but must be done by hand.
Jim Coates can be reached at jcoatestribune.com or Chicago Tribune, Room 400, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60611. The Chicago Tribune is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.