Monday, January 30, 2012

Recapture your sanity and get a handle on PST sprawl... Microsoft releases free "PST Capture" utility

Exchange Team Blog - .PST, Time to Walk the Plank

"Ask and ye shall receive, mateys!

As we announced in July, we are always looking for new ways to make your work easier - especially when your work involves ending PST proliferation. Today, we are happy to announce that PST Capture is now available as a free download.

PST Capture helps you search your network to discover and then import .pst files across your environment - all from a straightforward admin-driven tool. PST Capture will help reduce risk while increasing productivity for your users by importing .pst files into Exchange Online or Exchange Server 2010 - directly into users' primary mailboxes or archives.

In addition to all the positive feedback you have given us regarding the Archiving, Retention, Legal Hold and Discovery capabilities of Exchange, you made it clear that PST import is an important area for us to focus on moving forward. As we looked at the best ways to address this challenging need, we saw the great work that ISV partner, Red Gate, has done with their stellar solution. We determined that acquiring this product from Red Gate as a starting point was the best strategy to ensuring a quality product for you.



Microsoft Downloads - Microsoft Exchange PST Capture

Microsoft Exchange PST Capture is used to discover and import .pst files into Exchange Server or Exchange Online

Quick details

Version: 14.03.0016.004

Date Published: 1/29/2012

Language: English

PSTCapture.msi, 10.4 MB

PSTCaptureAgent.msi, 556 KB

PSTCaptureAgent_x86.msi, 548 KB

PST Capture is used to discover and import Outlook Personal Folder (.pst) File Format files into Exchange Server and Exchange Online. PST Capture helps an organization that wishes to gain more control over their email data repositories by placing them into Exchange. By optionally installing PST Capture Agents on target machines, administrators can determine where .pst files are located and who their file owner is via the PST Capture Console. Administrators can import .pst files via Import Lists to Exchange Server or Exchange Online. Data can be directly imported into the primary mailbox or associated archive mailbox.

System requirements

Supported Operating Systems: Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

  • Review the Technical Documentation prior to installation of Microsoft Exchange PST Capture
  • Exchange Server 2010, if used to import to Exchange Server 2010 mailboxes or archives
  • Exchange Online (Office 365) subscription if used to import to Exchange Online (Office 365) mailboxes or archives
  • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 or 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
  • Microsoft Outlook 2010 x64 (only required on the host computer where you install the Central Service and Console)

Microsoft Exchange PST Capture

"Microsoft Exchange PST Capture allows you to search for PST files on computers in your organization and then import those files to mailboxes in your organization. PST Capture works with both on-premises Exchange servers and Exchange Online.

This topic provides an overview of PST Capture. For details about how to install PST Capture, see Install PST Capture.

PST Capture Architecture

PST Capture is comprised of the following components:

  • PST Capture Central Service At the heart of PST Capture is the PST Capture Central Service. The Central Service maintains the list of all PST files found in your organization and manages the data as it’s moved to the Exchange servers or Exchange Online.
  • PST Capture Agent Discovery of the PST files is performed by PST Capture agents that are installed on computers in your organization. The agents also send the PST files they find to the host computer when an import operation is started on the PST Capture Console.
  • PST Capture Console The PST Capture Console is the interface you use to configure PST searches, specify the target mailboxes for PST files, and track the status of PST import operations and reports. You can also use the console to import PST files stored on network attached storage (NAS) devices, on which you can’t install PST agents.

For optimal operation, you should install the PST Capture Central Service and the PST Capture Console on a dedicated computer, known as the PST Capture host computer.

Communication between the PST Capture Central Service and the PST Capture agents is achieved through a polling mechanism. Each minute, all PST Capture agents poll the Central Service for configuration updates and any pending tasks by default. If necessary, you can change this polling frequency (for details, see Configure PST Capture Settings). When a PST Capture agent contacts the Central Service, it receives any pending actions, such as a PST search or import operation. The PST Capture Agent then sends status updates from previous actions to the Central Service.


Good timing on this release given it's LegalTech NY week (which probably isn't a coincidence...).

<rant> Now of course this only makes sense for organizations that have polices that allow for the store sizes that this would require. If you're in a place where Exchange mailbox size limits have forced you to move all your mail into PST's in the first place... sigh </rant>


If you're looking for a means to get a handle on PST sprawl and you have store polices that could support it, this looks like something you might want to check out.

[And if you don't have the policies to support this, you might want to rethink it. PST Sprawl is a huge risk... Once email is in a PST your organization has lost control of it, yet is still responsible its risk. And what's the risk and importance of what we have in email? And you're letting that information go unsupervised, un-accessible, un-discoverable, un-traceable and essentially un-secured? Think about it...]


Related Past Post XRef:
Ahh.... All those PST's on my network are killing me. I wish I could capture them all and import them... (hint: The Exchange Team has heard your cries and will have something for you soon)

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