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I have a user with an older version of Outlook (2016) connecting into Gmail via IMAP.

Everything is working as it should, but as expected Outlook has created a massive PST file on the machine where it is running. I suspect there is no way around this and probably as close as one can get to using Gmail via Outlook (without using the Gmail interface).

The cause of this question is the user's concerns about having a PST file of their entire mailbox sitting on the PC (laptop) they are using. Is there any way to avoid this (creation of the PST file)?

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    Please find out what the user's concerns are. I have had local PST files on my own computer(s) for many years. No cause for alarm. If the user is concerned about computer crashes, make sure the IMAP mail is maintained on the server.
    – John
    Oct 4, 2021 at 21:36
  • Thanks! I figured as much -- He's super concerned about privacy. Since it's a Windows box I suggested turning on Windows encryption (to prevent anyone from reading the drive if physically accessible). Beyond that, I can't say much else beyond, "This is how IMAP with Gmail through Outlook is intended to work." shrug
    – Romanulus
    Oct 4, 2021 at 22:12
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    As long as the computer is properly secured there should not be an issue - no more so than accessing online email.
    – John
    Oct 4, 2021 at 22:14

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[The user is] super concerned about privacy. Since it's a Windows box I suggested turning on Windows encryption (to prevent anyone from reading the drive if physically accessible.

Encryption works. Be certain the user keeps the encryption key. Some do not and all is lost.

Computer machine and BIOS passwords work. Exceedingly little chance someone could break into a computer secured this way.

Once running, make sure Windows itself and then Office / Outlook have strong passwords.

These steps will make a PST file on a local computer very safe. I have kept PST files on my own computer (secured as noted) and there has never been an issue.

Make sure the user has a good spam filter. All the security counts for little or nothing if they click on a bogus link. That is true for web based IMAP mail as well.

So the user can secure their computer and be safe.

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  • Thank you, sir!
    – Romanulus
    Oct 4, 2021 at 23:21
  • You are welcome. I am sure your user will be safe.
    – John
    Oct 4, 2021 at 23:22
  • Thanks for your sharing:)
    – Joy Zhang
    Oct 5, 2021 at 6:17

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