Buying Outlook - lots of questions please help!

  Help me please 17:56 05 May 2009

Hi I'm a techno-phobe, please help me!!

I have a 2 person business, I have a Compaq laptop and my business partner has a Toshiba laptop, we both work from home in seperate locations. We have a website and business email addresses.

We currently use and have been using for the last 3 years Outlook Express but DESPERATLY need the Out of Office assistant that Outlook gives you now that we work in seperate locations. My questions:

* Which is the Outlook version we need for out of office is it 2007?
* Will it be compatible with both our laptops - do I need to give you any more information about the models?
* I read somewhere "out of office will only work with microsoft exchange server" - what the hell does that mean
* My business partner also works from her home computer - she has outlook on that one but not the out of office tool, so basically she can get her emails from both her laptop and her computer. If she installs Outlook on her laptop only and goes on hol will out of office work (bearing in mind she also has an outlook working on her home PC....thats probably a dum question - but like I said I'm not very clued-up about IT)
* What shall I buy and where are the best deals?
* Would we have to get rid of outlook express to install outlook, we want to still get into our files we have stored in express. I know I can just change the smtp codes so if we opened emails wouldn't come flooding into express, but I mean in terms of how much space we have on our systems. We're both Windows XP. Do you need to know how much ram etc we have


  Forum Editor 19:29 05 May 2009

We'll start at the end:

No, you will not have to get rid of Outlook Express when/if you install Outlook, it will be unaffected, and no, we don't need to know about RAM on the machines involved.

Now for the bad news:

You can only use the Outlook out of office facility if your mail server is running Microsoft Exchange, and yours isn't. I've taken a look at your website, and I'm guessing that your email is handled by the company that's hosting your site - the same one that designed it, is that the case?

Outlook is part of Microsoft Office, but you can buy it as a standalone product. There may be other solutions to your problem, but I can't really advise properly until I have a little more information - why exactly do you need the out of office facility?

  Help me please 12:09 06 May 2009

Firstly thanks for helping.
Ok our email and website is hosted by an IT friend how now lives in Holland. But let me know if you need any details about that.

We used to have an office but my business partner moved up North so we only work at our business address together every 3rd week. We need out of office because when one of us goes on holiday the laptop is going to be at the location of the others home, so we wouldn't be able to check each others emails and we both look after different clients. So we need to let the press and clients know that we are out of the office and please contact bla bla

Also I am looking to start a family, another reason why we now work alot from home so when the day comes I'll need out of office on my laptop for maternity leave

So are you saying because our computers aren't connected to this microsoft exchange server out of office wouldn't work? Yes we just want to buy outlook on its own

Is there anyway round this? we'd be willing to change who hosted our email and website if it meant we could get this facility as its imperative to our business now


  wee eddie 14:13 06 May 2009

that there are other programs, other than Outlook, that may do the Job and also give you added advantages, such as the ability to view each others Schedule/Diary.

I am not in a position to help as I'm a One Man Band!

  Help me please 14:25 06 May 2009

Cant' think of a better subject title other than that. Thanks wee eddie. We don't need all the other stuff, just literally out of office but if there are other packages that offer this then I would be interested indeed! I'll await FE's reply

  Forum Editor 00:52 07 May 2009

You can certainly set up what's called an autoresponder message in Outlook without Microsoft Exchange, but that would have to be on your own computers - they would have to be left running all the time, and be connected to the internet.

That's OK if you're just nipping down to the shops for a couple of hours, but it's not the answer when you're on holiday - that's when Exchange comes into its own. It's really for corporate situations however, and a far simpler solution is to set up an autoresponder on your POP mail server via your web-host's control panel. That's why I asked about hosting - most good hosts provide this facility as a matter of course, but your IT friend in Holland might not be in a position to do it.

Using that facility would be far easier for you, because a) you wouldn't have to buy Outlook, you could continue with Outlook Express, and b)you could set up the autoresponders yourselves whenever you went on holiday. All inbound emails would then receive a response from the mail server, and you could configure the message they received to suit yourselves. You could switch the autoresponders on and off at will, via a web-based control panel.

If you think this sounds promising, and you need to move to a new host, post back here and I'll make some suggestions.

  Help me please 10:34 07 May 2009

Great thanks, I'll ask our guy to see if this is something he provides, if not I'll come back to you for a recommended host

Thanks Jo

  Help me please 10:37 07 May 2009

..and I'm not even going to ask him, I've been thinking about changing hosting anyway to someone who is regulalry available, a reputable company that isn't going to go bust etc. What happens if they did? what would happen to our website etc?

So can you recommend a company to host our site and email and offer this auto-response service - thanks! This sounds like the best solution all round


  PC Advisor Fan 11:25 07 May 2009


I that that you should use a ' hosted exchange' this means that the server is in a data center and when you check your emails it connects to it and you can also access it on any computer via outlook web access

checkout the link below for more infomation

click here

  Forum Editor 17:23 07 May 2009

that I will recommend Heart Internet click here

I have a reseller account with Heart, and I host many of my business clients' sites there. I've been with the company for several years now, and have been very happy with the level of service they've provided, and the available facilities. In the past I tried most of the big hosting providers, but I settled on Heart. I recommend the company because of my personal experience - others may have their own preferences.

The autoresponder solution will almost certainly be the best for your situation - it's easy to set up, can be infinitely varied, and allows you to refer people to an alternative email address/phone number, etc. with a minimum of fuss.

Your site can be easily and rapidly moved across from your existing host to the new server, and setting up your mail server is a piece of cake. If you need any help with that, or with any other aspect of your move just ask. If you have questions that involve discussing anything that you would rather not post in a public web forum please don't hesitate to email me at: [email protected] and I'll try to help.

  Help me please 17:41 07 May 2009

I shall contact Heart, I've heard of them before too. Many thanks for all your help and shall mail you if come across any further problems. Where would I be without forums like this! Thanks again

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