Saturday, February 20, 2010

MS-PST file format specification released. Yep, the full and complete specification for Outlook PST’s is now just a download away.

Interoperability @ Microsoft - New Office Documentation Now Publicly Available

“…Ever since we released Microsoft Office 2007 SP2, we have been releasing tools and publishing tens of thousands of pages of documentation to help developers (including competitors) interoperate with the various products in the Office suite. Today we took another big step in our commitment to open access and transparency, delivering some highly anticipated documentation we’ve promised over the past year or so:

  • More documentation for Microsoft Office 2010. In July 2009, when Office 2010 was still in technical preview, we published thousands of pages of detailed technical documentation for the protocols used by our products to communicate with Office 2010. …
  • Brand new documentation for Microsoft Outlook files. Data portability is increasingly important for our customers and partners as more information is stored and shared in digital formats. One particular request we’ve heard is for improved 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. Last fall we promised to release documentation that would make it easier for developers to read, create, and interoperate with the data in .pst files across a variety of platforms, using the programming language of their choice. After seeking input on the documentation from the community, today we delivered on that promise (here's the link to the documentation on MSDN:


MSDN - Open Specification Center - [MS-PST]: Outlook Personal Folders File Format (.pst) Structure Specification


From the [MS-PST];



This document specifies the Outlook Personal Folders File Format, and provides the necessary technical information required to read and write the contents of a Personal Folders File (PST). This document also specifies the minimum requirements for a PST file to be recognizable as valid in order for implementers to create PST files that can be mounted and used by other implementations of the protocol.


This document is not for the faint of heart, as the Table of Contents alone, of this 203 page specification, continues for 6 more pages.

This specification is a complete reference for the PST file format and is meant for a very few, highly technical people and companies. But for those few, this will be a godsend. The PST format has been a black box for so many years that having this could open the floodgates for EDD/ESI/eDiscovery and utility vendors.

We are now on the cusp of not needing Outlook installed to create, open, view, parse, extract from and use PST’s…

(via The Road to Know Where - Microsoft Releases Documentation for "Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst) Format Structure Specification")


Related Past Post XRef:
PST File Format Documentation coming…
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...

No comments: