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I use a shared computer and it is my understanding that anyone with access to my account folder (so any computer administrators) can access my Outlook files and therefore my emails. I would like to connect several Gmail accounts to Outlook on this computer, but I'm wary of doing so because I don't want the emails to be accessible to anyone but me (even if my account password is changed and someone is able to access the computer as "me").

Is there a way to set up some sort of encryption at the computer level for Outlook archives? Specifically, I'm on Windows 8.1 Enterprise (x64) and Outlook 365/2013.

Edit: This is different from the suggested duplicate as I was looking for encryption in general, whereas the possible duplicate given is asking specifically whether .pst files are themselves protected.

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  • This only works if you move your emails to a local .PST archive file. BUt you can set a password that will be required to be provided before access to the file will be allowed. If you save your passwords then a password to protect the archive file is sort of moot. Sounds like you shouldn't use your shared computer for personal emails.
    – Ramhound
    May 19, 2015 at 16:19
  • @thims: It isn't clear that the suggested duplicate is asking the same question, or that an answer to the question necessarily answers this one.
    – fixer1234
    May 20, 2015 at 3:07

3 Answers 3

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1: You cannot prevent it.

If someone has admin access to the computer then there is nothing you can do to make it safe. You can make people work for it, but the person with admin rights can always win. It is just a question if they want it badly enough.

Having said the last: Why on Earth would an admin read your email?

Legally it is doubtful (that will differ per country, but over here in the Netherlands it would be illegal).


2 Making it clear what is private:

Just create a folder called 'private'. No admin would read that unless they got explicit permission from you personally.


3: Passwords on the .psts

You can disable off-line mode and delete the .ost files. Then download all email to a PST, which can be protected by a password. I am not aware if this is a strong protection or if it can be cracked in a few seconds. But it will at the very least signal to other people that these are not public folders and that they should stay out.


4 Encrypted filesystem

There are several programs which allow you to encrypt a folder or a filesystem. Store the email on that. (As per point #1 an admin could still install a keysnooper and thus recover the password).


5 Store the information elsewhere.

E.g. save the files on a pen drive. When you leave take the drive with you.

Or do not store them on the computer at all. E.g. connect to your own (safe) server and read the mail there. Putty/ssh and mutt/elm/pine are your friends.

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  • Perfect, exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!
    – vaindil
    May 19, 2015 at 18:36
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You may use EFS: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/what-is-encrypting-file-system#1TC=windows-7 . But domain admins may have access to your emails (but not other people, even if they will have direct access to your PC!). But domain admin is person whom you should trust, I believe.

You also may use PGP: https://kb.iu.edu/d/azmz In this case no one will have access to it. But if you lose your key you will not be able to recover it.

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If you can not prevent Network or Admin level privileges from accessing your computer than you cannot protect the data. Anyone that has admin rights can do whatever they want on the computer regardless of your efforts. The only thing that would prevent their access is to password protect a specific file, but then Outlook would not be able to open it. If you don't own the PC you may also be breaking the law, but that may be a stretch.

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