Bohl's Blog

my digital life

Moving into the cloud...

For years (must have been ten years I suppose) I have been running my own private "cloud", namely an Exchange2003-server. It was a virtual-machine running on a Linux-box. Over the years, I had used different hardware, different Linux-versions, but still the same virtual machine. For the last two years I had it happily running on an Intel-D510-board (Atom D510); which was real fun because of its low power-consumption. I was able to use Outlook-Web-Access through an Apache-Proxy, I loved the "Public Folders"-features, the calender worked flawless and I was really happy with it. The only trouble was: loss of power (or other crashes, but loss of power was the prevalent problem). If the server (for whatever reasons) came down there was always the element of uncertainty whether the virtual machine would boot up and operate again. Yeah, I did what I could in order to create backups, but it became clear very soon: I am not an Exchange administrator and lacking the resouce in both time and money to become one. With a lot of luck and a lot of twiddling I was able to keep it running for 10 years and quite a lot of hard shutdowns. Until recently... The virtual machine seems severly broken (it complains about something wrt ActiveDirectoy is broken etc.). Furthermore - the most recent backup of the virtual machine also has troubles, which is beyond me.

So, I decided, maybe it is time to give up with my private 24/7-home-server and move into the "cloud". The features and conditions of HotMail seemed to fit my needs, so I decided to give it a try. After all... who cares about privacy these days? I was always proud that my email archive is private and that I haven't lost a single email in those 10 years, but... is it still worth the effort, the hazzle and the costs? I do not have a good answer to this, I can just say - I am ready to give up privacy for convenience at this point.

My email archive is around 10GB and this should work with HotMail. I started with exporting my emails from Outlook into a pst-file. This went smooth - after finding the export-function, which hides on the File-Tab under "Open" and "Import":

 

I have to admit, this wasn't the first spot where I was looking for it...

Now, setting up and configuring the HotMail-account was easy. The hard part was (and still is) uploading my email archive into HotMail. At first it seemed straighforward - install the Hotmail-Connector for Outlook, then import the emails from the exported archive into the Outlook-HotMail-account - and hit "Send/Receive All Folders". This works like a charm, the problem is - the upload is very, very slow. Something like two or three emails a minute I guess. Furthermore, several times Outlook has crashed after working for a day or so uploading the emails. I have no idea why it is so slow - whether it is intentionally or if there is something wrong. I am now thinking of using my 24/7-private-cloud-server over the course of the next year in order to upload my email-archive...

Meanwhile I got the idea that uploading might be faster if I use Windows Mail. The trouble is just... there seems to be no easy way of transfering the emails from the pst-archive into Windows Mail. Somewhere I got the idea that I need some third-party-tool in order to achieve this - I am now trying MailStore Home. We will see if that works out (and if Windows Mail can upload the emails faster than Outlook).

All in all - so far not too pleasant an experience. What adds to the suffering - I have no idea how I can purchase a HotMail-Plus account (which promises no ads and more storage, and what is well worth the money for me). All I get is this error message (and I haven't found any address to contact or something):

 

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