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Jess M.
Jess M., Computer Support Specialist
Category: Email
Satisfied Customers: 6138
Experience:  Computer Software Support Specialist for more than 10 years
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I have Outlook 2007. When I access my hotmail account using

Customer Question

Hi:
I have Outlook 2007. When I access my hotmail account using Outlook, my categorires are visible. When I access my email by going to www.hotmail.com, by categories are not visible. Where did they go?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Email
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, welcome and thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I am glad to assist you today.

I am very sorry about your issues. Are you using Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 or 10?

Also, is this the first time that you noticed this problem? Or are your categories visible before but not gone?

Are you using Internet Explorer or Chrome to access your hotmail?

Please let me know by replying to me here so that I can help you further.

Best regards,
Jess

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply.
I am using XP. This problem has always existed. I use Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. The problem is that if I want to log into my hotmail account directly by going to www.hotmail.com, the categories that I would see were I to log invia outlook are not showing when I log into my email via www.hotmail.com
Thanks
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Are you stil there?
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi, thank you for writing back. Yes, I am still here and I am very sorry for the late reply. I believe this is an incompatibility issue with your web browser since you are using Windows XP and updates to browsers are limited.

Please try to use Firefox and then try to update your Firefox. This is done by going to Help => About Firefox. It will initiate the update and allow updates if there are any. Please let me know if Firefox is updated.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jess:
No, it's not my browser. I have the same problem with Firefox even after updates. It think it has to do with where the category files are stored in Outlook. When the OST file in Outlook sinks to information TO hotmail I don't think it sins over the Categories.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Also, if I access hotmail on a computer with the latest version of Windows, the categories are not there.
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Is your account added there in your Outlook as IMAP?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jess:
Thanks for all your help, by the way.
Could you tell me how I find out if my account is IMAP/
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Go to Tools => Account Settings

Then locate your email account information there and the server type shall show if it is a POP or IMAP

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
When I got Tools/Account Settings, I get a window with several tabs: Email is the first one. In the window to the right of my email address it says MAPI.
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for that information. Please check this for me:

  1. Click on Tools => Account Settings
  2. In the Email tab, that is where you saw your Hotmail account as MAPI. Please click on the second tab named "Data Files"
  3. Can you please tell me if your Hotmail is listing its data file location? If there is, please tell me the path of such file. Or is it showing "Not Available"?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jess:
It shows "Not available", but I know where the OSI file is:
c:/documents and settings/barry/local settings/application data/microsoft/outlook
This is where all my Outlook Data Files are stored including the OST file that syncs my computer with Microsoft's servers.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Still waiting, thank you!
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

Thank you for writing back with that confirmation and I am very sorry for the late reply. Unfortunately, since you are using MAPI account, and since you are using the "Category" from within your MS Outlook 2007 program, there is no way to push them or sync them to the webmail. By webmail, I am referring to your hotmail account being accessed from the web browser by going to www.hotmail.com. The "Category" and "Flags" in the MS Outlook program are features contained inside the MS Outlook program only, and it cannot be synced to the webmail since Hotmail (the webmail interface) also has its own features that cannot be pushed or synced to any email clients or programs like MS Outlook.

When you access your Hotmail on the web, there are also pre-defined categories and user-created categories. But these categories are "contained" only by the web interface and cannot be synced to any email program like MS Outlook. The main reason is because these properties (category, flags, etc) are NOT supported by MAPI or even IMAP protocols that MS Outlook is using. Therefore, though IMAP or MAPI accounts do a process called "sync", these internal features can never be synced to the webmail since they are NOT supported by the protocol and that these are designed only as a feature of the specific program -- MS Outlook 2007.

With IMAP accounts, and also with MAPI accounts like your Hotmail, the only information that you can sync to the Hotmail or Live servers are your email folder structure and their contents. Flags (in emails like flagging as Today, Tomorrow, Complete, etc.) and categories are retained as to where they were created. For instance, if you create the category in the webmail, they are only visible in the webmail; if you create them in MS Outlook, they will only be visible in MS Outlook as well.

I understand that this is not the answer that you like to hear and I hate to be the bearer of this bad news to you. But it will be unprofessional for me if I will not give you the real score or the truth about the matter. It will also be unfair to you if I will not provide you factual answer on this and give you false hope.

At this point you placed a deposit. I will only get credit for this if you rate positively (3 to 5 stars/faces). It is up to you if you want to credit me for my time and help or not. You can always request for a refund if you wish not to pay for this question, I will truly understand that. But please do not rate me negatively (1 to 2 stars/faces) if you want to request for a refund.

Here is the link about refunding:

http://ww2.justanswer.com/help/how-can-i-request-refund

Again, I am sorry if this is bad news to you. But I hope at least I have shed some light on your situation and save you some time.

Thank you for using our service.

Best regards,

Jess

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jess:
Before I rate you, I have a question that is very important.
Is there a way I can back up my OUTLOOK OSI file that contains all the categories in OUTLOOK so that in case my computer crashes I can restore OUTLOOOK WITH THE CAREGORIES intact?
I was thinking to just copy the OSI file to another hard drive. What do think?
Thanks.
Barry
PS: By the way, great answer on the previous reply!!!!
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barry,

Thank you for writing back with that information. I believe you are referring to an OST file (not OSI). OST means Offline Storage Table and this is used by Exchange Server accounts like yours since your Hotmail in your Outlook is a MAPI account and it is using Hotmail Connector that syncs your Outlook with the Microsoft servers. This OST file is the offline table that allows you to view your emails while offline. When Outlook fetched new emails this OST file is updated to reflect the changes. For instance, you initially have 1000 mails, after doing a Send/Receive you have 1100 emails. When you lost your internet connection, you can still view these 1100 emails because of the OST file.

Unfortunately, Outlook stores category information is a PST file but you are using a MAPI account with no PST (You only have OST). So your only option to save your master category in an external file so that you can restore it anytime to another computer even to another email profile. The entire export process is discussed in details in this link:

http://www.extendoffice.com/documents/outlook/1371-outlook-import-export-categories.html

I hope that helped.
Please remember to rate my service positively (3-5 stars/faces) if this helped. Tips are always highly appreciated!

If you need further assistance, please do not rate me negatively with 1 or 2 faces. Instead, please reply to me so that I can help you further.

Thank you!

Best regards,
Jess

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jess:
I am not talking about the Master Category list, by the way. I am talking about where the information is stored that shows what caregory is assigned to a specific email. It can't be a PST file because I don't have any PST files. In the foder whee my outlook files are stored, the only file I have is the OST file corresponding to the email address I am referring to. So, for example, were I to work offline, as you said, I would be accessing my OST file on my hard drive that is in the Outlook folder where my Outlook files are stored. I would be able to access my categories. I would be able to do a query of my emails by category which would return those emails that are CONNECTED to the category I chose to do a query on. Therefore, the information that shows which emails are connected to what categories must be stored somewhere OTHER than a PST file because there are NO PST files that exist. So where is the information of these connections between categories and emails stored. If I know that, then maybe I can back up this information. The problem is that if I OUTYLOOK crashes and I have to reload it, then the imnformation is going to come from the Microsoft Servers which will not have the Categries themselves nor the information regarding the connections between categories and emails. But, when I initially log into Outlook NOW, the categories and the connections between categories and emails does load. Since these 2 things DO load and since there are NO PST files in the Outlook folder,my assumption is that this information is in the OST file. If this is correct, does that mean that I could just copy the OST file to another drive and then access that OST copy from another computer? If you tell me that the categories and the information regarding their connections is NOT stored in this OST file and I am telling you there are no PST files, then we must conclude this information is stored somewhere else. The question is: where?
Thank you.
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barry,

By category, are you referring to the color-coded category that you can rename? For instance, Category Blue and then the message has the small blue square and then you can then rename the "Category Blue" to something like "Family Connection"?

Another thing, can you please tell me the modification date of your OST file? When you see the OST file listed, there is some column there name Date Modified. What is the "date modified" entry for your OST file?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jess:
Yes, I amreferring to the Categories that have a color and a name. I cancreate categories, which I have done.
The OST has a modification date that is the same as the last date I opened up Outlook. So, if I open Outlook today and then look at the modification date, it will betoday's date.
Thank you.
Barry
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi Barry,

Thank you for writing back with that confirmation. So you are using color categories. Your only option to back these color categories is through the procedures in the link I gave you. You need to backup these categories as an EXTERNAL file (the output in the process is a .msg file) and you can then use this output file (.msg file) to restore your categories in case your system crashed.

Please follow the procedures in this link:

http://www.extendoffice.com/documents/outlook/1371-outlook-import-export-categories.html

Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do or make use of in your OST file. Definitely, the categories are not stored in the OST file and the only way to extract these categories is through the procedures in the link I gave you since these categorization is not stored in a single file in your Outlook. That is, the OST file only contains offline emails and folder structure that are synced by Outlook to the email server. And unfortunately, the color categories are not synced from Outlook to the server and that is the reason why you are not seeing these color categories when you access your email using a web browser.

So once you have done the steps in the link I gave you, you will have a .msg file that will contain all your color categories and you can use this file to restore them when your system crashed.

I hope that helped.
Please remember to rate my service positively (3-5 stars/faces) if this helped. Tips are always highly appreciated!

If you need further assistance, please do not rate me negatively with 1 or 2 faces. Instead, please reply to me so that I can help you further.

Thank you!

Best regards,
Jess

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Jess:
Thank you for your reply.
The backing up of the categories themselves is not the problem. I know how to do that. But backing up the category NAMES just gives me a list of the category NAMES.
It is the LINKS of those ccategories to a SPECIFIC email to which I am referring.
For example let's say I have a contact named ***** ***** and create a category called "***** *****".
Then I send an email to ***** *****. I then go to me send folder and assign the category I created called "***** *****" to the email I sent to ***** *****.
Now let's say ***** ***** replies to my email and I take that email reply and assign the category I created called "***** *****" to the email I just received FROM ***** *****.
Now I have 2 emails that are CONNECTED to the category I created called "***** *****."
If I want to find those 2 emails quickly I perform an "Advanced Find" by category of my SEND folder and my INBOX AT THE SAME TIME chossing the category "***** *****" to search by. The query will return the 2 emails ASSOCIATED with or CONNECTED to the category "***** *****".
It is this ASSOCIATION or CONNECTION between CATEGORIES and EMAILS that I am looking to back up.
This ASSOCIATION or CONNECTION must be stored somewhere because when I retrieve Outlook all the CONNECTIONS between Categories and their ASSOCIATED emails are there.
So the question is, WHERE IS THIS INFPORMATION STORED?
AND HOW DO I BACK IT UP?
It can't be in a PST file because I do not have any PST files.
Thanks.
Barry
Expert:  Jess M. replied 1 year ago.

Hi,

Thank you for writing back with that explanation. After a thorough research on this matter, I have confirmed that it will work with your OST. The main reason is that, the OST file stores the email tables (not the actual emails unlike the PST since emails will be mapped or linked to the Microsoft Exchange emails in the server, thus OST file is dynamically changing) and tags which serves as links to your categories. The OST does not contain the categories in itself. So the procedures I gave you still apply:

  1. Backup the color categories using the steps I gave you
  2. Backup the recent OST file

Only these 2 files are needed to restore your categories in case your system or Outlook crashed. As a workflow, when your Outlook crashed and you need to reinstate it, and add your Hotmail account there as MAPI, you can then expert or place the OST file to where it is located by default, and you shall see your emails again. And when you import your categories using the steps I gave you, the email tags will then apply and your categorization will then be restored.

Here is the link for the procedures:

http://www.extendoffice.com/documents/outlook/1371-outlook-import-export-categories.html

I hope that helped.
Please remember to rate my service positively (3-5 stars/faces) if this helped. Tips are always highly appreciated!

If you need further assistance, please do not rate me negatively with 1 or 2 faces. Instead, please reply to me so that I can help you further.

Thank you!

Best regards,
Jess

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