Using Outlook on a computer you share with other people

Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003
Microsoft Outlook® 2002


Family with computer

Many of us share a computer with other people, whether it is at home with the family, in a college dorm with other students, or in a small business with colleagues. This article explores several typical ways to share a computer.

First, there are a few concepts that should be made clear.

E-mail account    This is the account that you add to your Outlook profile by using the user name and password information given by your Internet service provider (ISP) (ISP: A business that provides access to the Internet for such things as electronic mail, chat rooms, or use of the World Wide Web. Some ISPs are multinational, offering access in many locations, while others are limited to a specific region.) or your Microsoft Exchange Server administrator.

Outlook profile    Your profile contains your e-mail account information, contacts, calendar, personal folders, and settings. You can have multiple Internet e-mail accounts in a single Outlook profile. You can have only one Exchange Server e-mail account per profile. Typically, you use only one profile, but it is possible to set up multiple profiles in Outlook.

Personal Folders file    This Outlook data file has a .pst (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that stores your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for e-mail messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.) file extension and stores your e-mail, contacts, calendar, and other Outlook data.

Windows user account    This Microsoft Windows® operating system account allows users to have their own individual desktop, Windows settings, Microsoft Internet Explorer Favorites, History, and My Documents folder. Each user account can be protected by a password known as a Windows logon password.

Notes about passwords

Which is your scenario?

The way you want to share your computer with others depends on how secure you want your Outlook data to be from intrusion by others.

ShowI want the most secure configuration: Multiple users with their individual Microsoft Windows XP user accounts and e-mail accounts

Create Windows user accounts

This article assumes that you are using Microsoft Windows® XP Home Edition on a computer that is not a member of a domain.

To create user accounts, you must log on to Windows as the Computer Administrator. During the Windows XP installation, the user name that you entered is used to create the Computer Administrator account by default. It is best to password protect this account, so that no one else can log on to your computer as the administrator.

A Computer Administrator has full access to all system resources and can do the following:

  • Install programs and hardware
  • Make system changes
  • Access and read all non-private files
  • Create and delete user accounts
  • Change other people's accounts, including changing an account logon picture and creating, changing, or removing a password for an account

A user account is one of the following:

  • Limited User Account     Users can change their own account logon pictures and create, change, or remove their own passwords.
  • Guest Account     Intended for those who do not regularly use the computer, the guest account must be activated by the administrator before a guest can use it.

New user accounts can be added during or after setup, but passwords are not assigned during setup. After the user account is established, the individual user clicks User Accounts in Control Panel and then clicks Create a password.

 Important   The administrator can change a password for any account in case someone forgets the password. However, the administrator cannot see what someone else's password is.

ShowWindows XP (Category view, the default)

  1. In Control Panel, double-click User Accounts.
  2. Click Create a new account.
  3. Type a name for the new account, for example, the person's name.
  4. Click the type of account you want this person to have.
  5. Click Create Account.

ShowWindows XP (Classic view)

  1. Click Start, click Administrative Tools, and then click Computer Management.
  2. Under System Tools, click Local Users and Groups to expand it, and then click Users.
  3. On the Action menu, click New User.
  4. Type the appropriate user name and password information in the dialog box. Read the Notes section first.
  5. Depending on your situation, select or clear the check boxes for:
    • User must change password at next logon
    • User cannot change password
    • Password never expires
    • Account is disabled
  6. Click Create, and then click Close.

 Notes 

  • A user name cannot be identical to any other user or group name on the computer that is being administered. A user name can contain up to 20 uppercase or lowercase characters except for the following: " / \ [ ] : ; | = , + * ? < >
  • A user name cannot consist solely of periods (.) or spaces.
  • In the password and confirm password boxes, you can type a password that contains up to 127 characters. However, if you are using Windows XP on a network that also has computers that are running Microsoft Windows 95 or Microsoft Windows 98, consider using passwords no longer than 14 characters. (Windows 95 and Windows 98 support passwords of up to 14 characters.) If your password is longer, you might not be able to log on to your network from those computers.
  • Always lock your computer when you leave it unattended. Either press the Windows logo key+L or enable a password-protected screen saver in the Display section of Control Panel.

 Tip   Fast user switching is a feature of Windows XP that makes it easy to switch accounts without logging off. Click Start, click Log Off, and then click Switch User. When you use fast user switching, any open programs remain open, so it's easy to switch back and pick up where you left off. Fast user switching can be disabled by the administrator and may not be available on computers that are part of a larger Windows network.

To share documents across user accounts, drag them to the Shared Documents folder. For more information about Windows user accounts, click Start and then click Help and Support.

Keeping your Outlook data separate and private

In most households, you usually have one copy of Outlook for the computer where each person with a Windows user account can start Outlook and add his or her own e-mail accounts, calendar, and contacts. This Outlook data is stored in Personal Folders files (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that stores your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for e-mail messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.) that are unique to that user. The password-protected user account helps to make sure that this information is kept separate and private from the other users. This also means that individuals cannot access the same calendar or contacts data.

If you need to share your Contacts among family members, you have the following options:

ShowLess secure: Multiple users with separate e-mail accounts and not using Windows user accounts

Persons who use the computer can do the following:

ShowLeast secure: Multiple users all using the same e-mail account and not using Windows user accounts

If your Internet e-mail account is POP3, each person can choose to download a copy of new e-mail messages and not delete items from the POP3 e-mail server. If you are using an HTTP or IMAP Internet e-mail account, this happens automatically. After the messages are downloaded to the Inbox, users can create their own Personal Folders file and move their messages to it. Also, they can password protect the .pst file.

  1. If you have not already added your POP3 account to your Outlook profile, add it now.

ShowHow?

  1. On the Tools menu, click E-mail Accounts.
  2. Select Add a new e-mail account, and then click Next.
  3. Select POP3, and then click Next.
  4. In the appropriate boxes, type the information given by your Internet service provider (ISP) (ISP: A business that provides access to the Internet for such things as electronic mail, chat rooms, or use of the World Wide Web. Some ISPs are multinational, offering access in many locations, while others are limited to a specific region.) or e-mail administrator.
  1. Set up your POP3 account to retrieve messages, but not delete them from the server.

ShowHow?

  1. On the Tools menu, click E-mail accounts.
  2. Select View or change existing e-mail accounts, and then click Next.
  3. Under Name, select the POP3 account you want to change, and then click Change.
  4. Click More Settings.
  5. Click the Advanced tab, and then under Delivery, select the Leave a copy of messages on the server check box.

You can also select whether to automatically remove messages from your e-mail server after a specified number of days, when you delete the item on your computer, or when the Deleted Items folder is emptied. These settings may help prevent you from exceeding the mailbox size limit that your ISP has set.

 Note   Most ISPs set a size limit on your POP3 mailbox. If you do not remove items from the server, your account will eventually exceed the amount set by your ISP, and you will not be able to receive additional messages. Also, you may incur additional charges. For more information, contact your ISP.

 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2003