I have a home network of 3 desktop PCs and a laptop all running either XP Home or Vista Home Premium.
Currently, if we want to access our emails (using Outlook) we log on to our own area on the main PC. Our accounts are set up in such a way that we each only download our own mail.
We would like to be able to do this via any of the PCs on the network so that we're not all waiting for time on the one PC. I know this is possible because it is what happens at work - but I suspect this is a lot more complicated, or is it?
We're prepared to upgrade software/kit in order to do this.
Advice much appreciated.
It's different at work because they most probably have an email server, but without a server at home, you must resort to other means.
Most ISPs provide POP3 email to their home users, and the problem with POP3 is that by default, email are deleted from server once download is complete. While you can configure your email client to keep messages on server so you can download them again on another computer, your sent emails are kept only locally.
One way to do this is to edit your Outlook Profile to point to the same PST (Personal Folders) file shared across the network, but that would create problems if you take your notebook away from your network.
Consider this solution I have devised for a SME client. They have no budget for an email server, but they need to share a single email account for team collaborated projects, so I have setup a Gmail account for them and enable IMAP support on the account - they can read all received and sent email online, provided all emails are sent through their SMTP server. You don't have to use Gmail - any email service with IMAP access and with its own SMTP server should work just as well.
As esquire has said, if you use IMAP stores then all you have to do is set up the email accounts for each person on each computer, and they should work and remain synchronised between all of them.
If you require contacts/calendar synchronisation you can have a look at "Microsoft Office Outlook Connector" which syncs your contacts and calendar with Hotmail contacts: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=7aad7e6a-931e-438a-950c-5e9ea66322d4
Please be aware that versions of Outlook prior to 2007 cannot deliver email to multiple data files so if you have multiple email accounts set up in the same profile they will all be jumbled into the same inbox.
You mean email from multiple POP3 email accounts can be delivered to a folder on a different PST? While I do not have OL 2007 to check out this function, my OL has been delivering email to different folders in different PST by way of email Rules, so each account can have its own inbox.
The real problem lies with having only a single Sent Items folder - either configure OL to keep replies in the same folder as the original email (so all received and sent email are kept in the same folder) or create a new rule to move sent email according to the account through which it is sent, but OL cannot execute this rule automatically so one must remember to run it periodically.