Share emails with separate user accounts under XP?

Dennis Faas's picture

Not long ago, Barry M. from Africa sent me this email:

" First off, thanks for all the great info!

You've helped me come a long way with my PC confidence and knowledge. Much appreciated! I am running Windows XP Professional. The multiple user profile feature of XP is really handy, but I don't want to have separate email accounts in my Outlook Express. If it is possible, I would like all users to access the same information from their XP login accounts.

At the moment, if I receive e-mails into my inbox while logged on under my profile, then those e-mails won't be visible to the next user when they log on under their own profile. Any ideas? "

My response:

Before I get into the details of how this would be done, there are a few things worth pointing out. Barry mentioned that he wasn't able to access his emails in Outlook Express when logged into another Windows XP account ... and there are a definitely a few reasons for this: two of which I will mention below.

RE: XP user accounts and levels of organization

Utilizing separate Windows [login] accounts help to ensure that email correspondence is kept private: the Windows account requires a password, as does the email login. Without the appropriate password(s), email cannot be intercepted.

Secondly, having more than one XP user account maintains a higher level of organization. All incoming emails are downloaded to the appropriate Windows account, which is saved to a folder on the computer. This is a convenient feature, unless all XP user accounts are sharing the same email address.

The fact is that many families on the Internet share the same PC and use the same email address, which may also correspond to Barry's predicament.

On the other hand, it is also possible that Barry's family PC *does* have separate email addresses and user accounts, but he wishes to keep all emails under a watchful eye. In that case, he would need to store all emails in the same folder on the computer.

Aggregating the data

As I mentioned, it is possible to share the data among all user accounts. This is done by manipulating the Store Folder setting under Outlook Express.

  1. Login to Outlook Express for each Windows XP account.
  2. Click Tools -> Options -> Maintenance.
  3. Look for the Store Folder option, and choose a common path. For example: Create a Folder on the C drive and call it "emails" (no quotes). Change your Store Folder to c:\emails to have all user accounts point to the same Folder.

Once this has been applied to all Windows user accounts, the modification is complete.

Note: any previous emails from each user account will be abandoned once the Store Folder has been changed, unless you a) note the current location of the Store Folder for that user account, and b) import the old emails into the new Store Folder using File -> Import -> Messages option under Outlook Express.

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