Moving your .ost file with Outlook 2003

Anyone that has read my blog before will know that I recently switched to Ubuntu as my primary OS however what I haven’t mentioned is that I also have a Windows XP virtual machine running for the sole purpose of running Outlook for my work email.

When I set up the virtual machine I was a bit too tight on the amount of space I gave to the primary hard disk image and have very quickly go to the point where Windows is complaining of a lack of space on drive C:

Firstly I moved the swap file to another virtual hard disk which solved the problem for a time but not for long. So I did some searching for files that were taking up space and found my Outlook offline cache file (outlook.ost) was fairly sizable so I wanted to move that too to the other virtual hard disk I’d set up, moving a file should be a straightforward task right? not if Microsoft has anything to do with it. Here are the steps you’ll need to follow in order to move your outlook.ost file.

  1. Close Outlook
  2. Move (or copy and delete the original at the end if you’re paranoid like me) the outlook.ost file from it’s current location (usually c:\documents and settings\{user}\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.ost) to a new location
  3. Open the mail settings applet either from the control panel or by right clicking on your Outlook link and selecting properties.
  4. Click E-mail Accounts…
  5. View or change and existing account and click next
  6. Highlight your exchange email account and click Change…
  7. Click More settings…
  8. Uncheck the Use Cached Exchange Mode and click apply
  9. Click Offline Folder File Settings…
  10. Click Disable Offline Use and agree with the pop up dialog message.
  11. This will close the Offline Folder File Settings dialog so click the button again
  12. You’ll find this time that the File: text box can now be edited. Click browse and locate the outlook.ost in its new location and click OK.
  13. Check the Use Cached Exchange Mode again and click OK.
  14. Click next and then finish.
  15. Close the mail settings applet and launch Outlook again.

Your outlook.ost file is now being used from it’s new location. Only 15 steps to move one file, and some of those steps I’ve doubled up on to be kind!

I understand that this has been improved in 2007 but I haven’t got a copy of that on hand to verify.

As always, I appreciate your comments. Let me know if this did or didn’t help you.

Flash plugin with Ubuntu

I recently installed the latest and greatest version of Ubuntu, version 8.04 aka Hardy Heron, from Vista (which was pre-installed when I bought the laptop)

I managed to switch quite happily, replacing many of the applications I used daily (Notepad++, FileZilla, TortoiseSVN, Winamp) with either their linux counterparts or alternatives (Bluefish, Exaile and I’m going with the command line for SVN) one thing that was becoming annoying was the swfdec-mozilla plugin for playing flash content in Firefox, it only kinda worked for me. Google analytics graphs wouldn’t render, YouTube videos were occasionally very slow and worst of all I couldn’t watch the latest installment of Zero Punctuation!

I went to Adobe’s website and downloaded the nonfree version of the flash plugin, ran the install script, restarted FF, then restarted Ubuntu but swfdec persisted.  I couldn’t find any way to replace the default flash player in Firefox so then I had the bright idea of removing swfdec-mozilla.

Launched Synaptic, searched for swfdec, marked swfdec-mozilla for removal, shut down Firefox and hit apply. Less than 30 seconds later I’m launching up Firefox again and listening to Ben “Yahtzee” Croshaw deliver his opinion on Gods of War: Chains of Olympus and another 30 seconds later I have a huge smile on my face, thanks Synaptic and thanks Yahtzee.

Resetting a MySQL root password

It happened, I forgot a password. I normally pride myself on my memory for things like passwords but this one was gone so I went searching for a way to reset it. I found this very concise entry at that sorted me out. There were many others like it but this is the one that I followed to reset the password (it’s also written by a guy that works for the hosting company I use, Bytemark)

In short my own version of the process:

  1. Stop the MySQL process.
    /etc/init.d/mysql stop
  2. Start MySQL manually with the –skip-grant-tables parameter.
    /usr/bin/mysqld_safe --skip-grant-tables &
  3. Run MySQL from the command line, logging in as root with no password.
    mysql --user=root --pass mysql
  4. Update the user table, setting the root user’s password.
    UPDATE User set Password=PASSWORD('newpass') WHERE User = 'root';
  5. Flush the privileges cache.
    flush privileges;
  6. Exit MySQL.
  7. Restart the MySQL service without skipping the privileges tables.
    /etc/init.d/mysql stop && /etc/init.d/mysql start

Redirecting a former employee’s email in Exchange

Let me start with a brief disclaimer I’m not a formal Exchange administrator but I’ve been using it enough years to get my head around it and basically understand how to get it to do what needs to be done.

A fairly common task I have performed in the past is to redirect a former employee’s email to their replacement or senior and in the past I have achieved this by disabling the old account and adding the old user’s address to the list of addresses of the new user. I never felt happy with this solution and it always left me feeling a little bit dirty.

I’ve since found a much better solution after some very quick googling and I’m posting it here as a reminder:

From Active Directory Users and Computers find the old user, right-click and select properites. On the Exchange General tab select Delivery Options. In the Forwarding Address box select “Forward to:” and then enter another Active Directory user or contact by clicking “Modify…”. Finally click OK on all open dialogues and you’re done.