Monday, October 26, 2009

PST File Format Documentation coming…

Interoperability @ Microsoft - Roadmap for Outlook Personal Folders (.pst) Documentation

“Data portability has become an increasing need for our customers and partners as more information is stored and shared in digital formats. One scenario that has come up recently is how to further improve platform-independent access to email, calendar, contacts, and other data generated by Microsoft Outlook.

On desktops, this data is stored in Outlook Personal Folders, in a format called a .pst file. Developers can already access the data stored in the .pst file, using Messaging API (MAPI) and the Outlook Object Model—a rich set of connections to all of the data stored by Outlook and Exchange Server—but only if Outlook is installed on the desktop.

In order to facilitate interoperability and enable customers and vendors to access the data in .pst files on a variety of platforms, we will be releasing documentation for the .pst file format. [GD:Emphasis added] This will allow developers to read, create, and interoperate with the data in .pst files in server and client scenarios using the programming language and platform of their choice. The technical documentation will detail how the data is stored, along with guidance for accessing that data from other software applications. It also will highlight the structure of the .pst file, provide details like how to navigate the folder hierarchy, and explain how to access the individual data objects and properties.

This documentation is still in its early stages and work is ongoing. …”

Awesome! This will be huge for EDD/Forensic/etc software and service providers.

Yet I can’t help but imagine what a beast this document is going to be. Still better a beast we know, than one we don’t…

(via - Microsoft opens up PST file format)


Related Past Post XRef:
The Microsoft Office Visualization Tool (OffVis) – Spelunk (view, browse, peek into, etc) Microsoft Office Binary Format files
Microsoft Office (DOC, XLS, PPT) Binary File Format Specifications Released – We’re talking the full technical specification… (The [MS-DOC].pdf alone is 553 pages of very dense specification information)
DOC, XLS and PPT Binary File Format Specifications Released (plus WMF, Windows Compound File [aka OLE 2.0 Structured Storage] and Ink Serialized Format Specifications and Translator to XML news)
Microsoft Office Binary File Format Specifications Coming to a Download Near You...


Jim Monty said...

Greg Duncan wrote:
Yet I can’t help but imagine what a beast this document is going to be. Still better a beast we know, than one we don’t…

But it only takes a few ambitious beast slayers to write open source DLLs/assemblies/cmdlets/modules to abstract away all the gory details of the complex proprietary file format. Hopefully, you and I won't ever have to read the beastly document ourselves, but we will nonetheless soon be able to compose and decompose PST files all day long, sans Outlook.

Have you ever read the TIFF spec? How about the PDF spec? Unicode? Nah, you just use libraries with fine reputations -- useful software you trust.


Jim Monty said...

A post to the litsupport mailing list led me to a discussion of the Microsoft announcement on Slashdot. A post there then led me to libpst. Check out the man page outlook.pst, which documents the Microsoft .pst file format.

Who knew there was an open source utility named pst2dii to "extract email messages from a MS Outlook .pst file in DII load format"? Yes, that's DII as in a CT Summation eDII file. Cool?

There's at least one reference to computer forensics in the Slashdot discussion.


Greg said...

libpst I think I've heard of but not pst2dii...

Thank you my friend!

Magento Themes said...

@ Jim ...thats good,

thank you sharing nice post.