Software

TR Dojo Challenge: How do you merge two or more Microsoft Outlook .PST files?

Microsoft Outlook users can archive email within a .pst file. If you know how to merge two or more .pst files, you could earn some TechRepublic swag?

Outlook personal storage table (.pst) files are used to archive old email, calendar, contacts, tasks, notes, and journal data. You'll often find .pst files in organizations where the email system administrators place size restrictions on users' mailboxes. Microsoft also refers to .pst files as "personal storage folders."

In Outlook 2002 (Office XP) and earlier, .pst files were in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) format and had a 2 GB file size limit. Exceeding this limit caused the file to become unusable. To regain access to the file, you would often have to crop the .pst file using Microsoft's Pst2gb.exe tool. In Outlook 2003 and later versions, Microsoft began using the Unicode format for .pst files and increased the maximum file size to 20 GB.

A TechRepublic member recently asked me an Outlook question related to .pst files, and I think it would make a worthy TR Dojo Challenge. The member has three .pst files that need to be merged into one.

So, here's the question: How do you merge two or more Outlook PST files?

And to make the problem slightly more challenging, the member would like to know if the files can be "merged" without having to open both files and manually copy and paste the data from one file to the other. I'll give credit to the first person that explains how to manually merge multiple .pst files and to the first person that describes a method that doesn't involve copying and pasting the data.

About the TR Dojo Challenge Series

I publish a question designed to test the technical skills and IT prowess of our TechRepublic members. You can submit an answer to the question by posting it within this post's discussion thread.

I'll accept answer submissions for one week after I post the question. At the end of the week, I'll consider the question closed and review the answers. The member, who submits the first best answer, will be featured in a follow-up TR Dojo Challenge article, posted the following week. For being featured on the site, they will also earn themselves a bit of TechRepublic swag-a coffee mug and laptop sticker.

The rules:

  1. Only answers submitted within one week of the initial question's publication date will be considered for the follow-up article and swag.
  2. All answers must be original and must consist of more than a link or links to third-party resources.
  3. I will choose the correct response from the answers submitted and my decision is final.

Good Luck!

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

64 comments
boardtc
boardtc

Did you choose a best response on merging pst files?

ndean.jones
ndean.jones

Elmers glue or duct tape... Outlook is gone..

noddlesng
noddlesng

Hello All, I also came across the same problem in my establishment and i did the following to solve the problem. 1) I created a new .pst folder and made it the default mail folder (that's, outlook loads from there.) 2) I import the mails from the other .pst into the new default .pst folder. 3) Then i archive the new default mail folder (this helps in reducing the size of the mail folder). 4) I continue the above steps for all other .pst files. By the time i'm done importing and archiving, i delete all other .pst files, which means i will now have just one folder containing my recent mails and another one containing my archived mails.

d.gore
d.gore

There are several Utilities that merge Outlook PST files - such as the one here... www.pstmerge.com

cirodman
cirodman

I would think that the simplest and most user friendly method would be to open each pst within Outlook, by adding it as a mailbox. After adding the pst files, manually copy all mail needed for the merge. This method, i would think would be the easiest to apply remotely, and should not be version (outlook) specific.

alihaidar
alihaidar

Alas, till now did not face this type of issue but i used to add another pst file then move messages in one inbox.

mousejn
mousejn

File Import & Export Import from another program or file Personal Folder File (.pst) Select file select duplicate option Select Include subfolders and where to save data

BiggestDawg
BiggestDawg

The process is very simple with in Outlook. This is written so as to explain to someone who has basic computing skills. 1) The first step is to know the location of the .pst's that you wish to merge. There are a couple of methods that will work to locate them. You can either search for them through Outlook, though this can be cumbersome if they are in multiple locations. Or you can use the Windows Search for files and folder. It can take a little longer to run but it will find all of your pst's when doing a search use *.pst so that you will find all files. 2) Create a copy of the desired pst's to a single folder. You can do this by creating a new folder in your my Documents folder and calling it Outlook. You can then copy the pst?s to this folder from your search folder with the right click drag and drop. 3) Open Outlook. Create a new Personal Folder by going to File -> New -> Outlook Data File. As long as you are using a newer version of Outlook choose the default selection of Outlook Personal Folders File (.pst) and click Ok. Type a file name that is easy to remember and copy that name. 4) In the Create Microsoft Personal Folders dialog that comes next paste or type the name of the file you just created so that you will have a pst with the same name both in Outlook and on your computer. This will make finding the PST easier later. Note: It is not important to have each pst that you want to import from open. Outlook will do this as part of the process. 5) Click on File -> Import and Export to launch the Import and Export Wizard and choose "Import from another program or file" Click Next 6) In the Import a File dialog box scroll down and select "Personal Folder file (.pst) and click next 7) In the Import Personal Folders dialog click on the Browse button and navigate to the location of your Personal folders. You will only be able to select one pst at a time. Click Ok to select the first pst then choose one of the options regarding duplicates. If you have a great deal of data you may find it beneficial to select the "Allow duplicates to be created" option so that you retain all of your information. Click Next 8) The next dialog box will show your .pst and has a filter button that you can use to get specific results from the merge. You can also choose to Import items into the current folder or into the same folder in: Where you will need to choose the new PST that was created earlier. 9) Click finish. Outlook will automatically open the pst that you want to import from and merge the files into your new pst and then it will close the file. 10) You will need to repeat steps 5 - 9 for each additional pst that you wish to import into the new pst.

wwu
wwu

The easy way is to use Outlook's own import / export wizard. Have all .pst files copied to your Documents and Settings folder so that you have the right to open the .pst files. Open the first .pst file, then import the second .pst file, and then import the third .pst file and so on using the Import / Export Wizard under File menu. File > Import and Export ... > Import from another program or file (next)> Personal File Folder (.pst) (next) > browse to the .pst file to be imported (next) > Click finish and you will import the second .pst content to the first .pst file.

JKP1375
JKP1375

Create a new PST File->New->Outlook Data File Select new file File->import 1st PST (allow duplicates) repeat for all desired PST files Manage however desired

Shellz937
Shellz937

From experience there are two ways to merge more then one .pst file together. The first way is to simply drag and drop from one file to the other, just becareful of overwriting duplicates and loosing data. The second way is there are .pst merge software out there that a user can download, its great for saving time. Just make sure you get your software from a reputable site. Just because it looks legit doesn't mean it isn't a spoof. WARNING: I can?t express this enough backup your files before you even do this. That way you have a safety net if you end up overwriting data, or the software crashes corrupting pst files.

mla_ca520
mla_ca520

If it's just one, importing will do the trick. If you have multiple, try a tool: http://www.pstmerge.com/ Its only $69 for personal use. If I ever have a lack of forthought and teach my kids how to create PST files or when they figure it out on their own and chaos ensues, I'll probably try this tool.

yvette12
yvette12

Open up Outlook, click on New, Outlook Data File, Find the location where the pst file is located and select Ok. Both pst files are viewable in the Mail folders, the new pst file is under Personal Folders.

dstrouse
dstrouse

I found a very simple way to do what amounts to a merge of the .pst file. Open outlook and in the file menu select the import file option and import your old .pst into the current session. Just in case there may be duplicate entries you may wish to select do not copy duplicates.

don.brandt
don.brandt

I actually have had to combine PTS files. I simply do a manual archive and set the ?Archive items older than:? to a date in the future that is more than the "Clean out items older than" setting in the auto archive, so that all messages are moved to the new archive. I then go back and verify each folder is empty and delete the folder starting with the bottom of the list. If I find any files, I move them manually to the correct location in the new archive.

bankman247
bankman247

Pick one of the .pst files to be the primary and then use the import feature in Outlook to import the other .pst files in to the main one.

Chipv
Chipv

Open the first PST File thru outlook Then in Outlook / File / Open / Outlook Data File Now you will have both open in Outlook. Basically you can now drag and copy only those items you want from the old to the new. It's pretty easy with E-Mails and Contacts.

jasjb
jasjb

I'd try to import the .pst files into an Outlook client, choosing replace duplicates as appropriate, and then export into a new outlook.pst file.

art
art

If you store 2 GB Auto Archive PSTs on a network drive, they become unusable. It appears that Outlook can display headers from a network file, but it seems to want to download the entire PST to the local computer if you want to access the body of an email or attachment. Is there a way to split them into manageable bits?

Ryanmskipper
Ryanmskipper

My methods have been previously mentioned, but mixed and matched... Start by backing up both PST files. Then open both of them in Outlook. Personally, I like to create a new PST file. Use Outlook's Archive feature to move items from 1 pst to another. Once the archive is complete, check the folder sizes under properties of each PST to make sure there aren't any lingering items that may not have moved over and if they exist move them over manually. When the archive is complete, you can choose to compact the PST. Compacting the PST file eliminates the white space from the archived PST. This isn't necessary when all items have been moved from a PST file. You can simply delete it. Again as personal preference, I like to archive email by year. Ie Archive 2010, Archive 2009.. etc. In this example I create a new PST file for each year. Again I use the Archive feature and compact each PST when done. Create a PST - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/829971/en-us How to Archive - http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA011216101033.aspx How to Compact PST - http://support.microsoft.com/kb/289987

L72
L72

I have done this a number of times. My way may be wrong... but after making a backup, I open the one that is either "the biggest" or that I feel has "the most in it" and then use Outlook's "import" to bring in the data from the 2nd one, and tell it NOT to include duplicates. Then I run a compact on the PST file... test - and I'm done. (Of course, making sure that the user's pc is properly configured to use the "newer / updated" one is part of that.) Then I simply move the backup copies to a flash drive and server archive area "just in case".

it_help
it_help

Since you also asked us how to do it without copy and pasting I'd say that you could either purchase a 3rd party utility like PST Merge from Systools, or if you have an Exchange Server available, you could use the ExMerge utility to import all of the pst's into your Information Store and then archive off to one pst.

Gumbyohson
Gumbyohson

you could add the 3 pst files to outlook (using data file management) then tell them all to archive to a single pst file... that would make them one file and remove any potential duplicates (if you told it to)

jpk
jpk

Why can't he/she simply open each of them in Outlook and then export the result into one merged .pst file? More or less the procedure that Microsoft themselves outline here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/157562 There are also commercial tools available like PST Merge that can achieve the same results.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

This week's TR Dojo Challenge question is about merging Outlook PST files. A TechRepublic member recently asked me an Outlook question related to .pst files, and I think it would make a worthy TR Dojo Challenge. The member has three .pst files that need to be merged into one. So, here's the question: How do you merge two or more Outlook PST files? http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/itdojo/?p=1610 I'll give credit to the first person that explains how to manually merge multiple .pst files and to the first person that describes a method that doesn't involve copying and pasting the data.

kim
kim

All of the previously mentioned techniques will do the job. Just beware of the tendency of pre-2007 version of Outlook to have their .PST files spontaneously explode when they get somewhere north of 1.5GB in size. This does not happen all the time, but I have had it happen often enough to post this warning. Outlook 2007 does not have this limitation, due to changes in file structure.

Shellz937
Shellz937

Yes but as techies we should know that our little geeklins will cause trouble and chaos when it comes to important files. Its well known fact they will do everything unintentionally to make sure the computer wants to blow up. The thing is, most of us aren't willing to pay 69 dollars for a software not with all the freeware out there. However for the non-tech I'm sure they wouldn't mind paying the 69 dollars if they don't want to do the cut and paste.

karl
karl

There is one minor caveat with the use of "archiving" and that is that the contact folder is not included - ergo - it is not a complete snapshot of the environment which in turn means that a person can be in a for a very rude awakening if the "archive" also acts as the "backup" in case the primary PST file is lost for any reason. If the Outlook import/export wizard was to be used to add the contact folder to the archive (and subsequently retrieve it) - all user-defined fields defined "for the folder" would not be included in the target folder which has the side-effect of those fields not being accessible by any view that may require those fields. Additionally, if the individual does not remember all UDFs defined for the folder (definition at a minimum would include the exact field name and its exact field type) - there is no way to determine what those fields should be since there is nothing in Outlook that will summarize all user-defined fields added to any item. Would require opening every contact item (excluding use of 3rd party tools). Lastly, it is possible to re-add a UDF "to the folder" BUT if the field type defined when re-adding this field is not correct, the underlying data will incur problems since the UDF field type "for the item" will differ from that defined "for the folder". In techno-speak - that would be the equivalent of a database table being defined with a "date" field only to have all the underlying field contents contain some unrelated "text" data (can't happen with modern databases but nothing in Outlook prevents this kind of situation). In short, someone whose livelihood depends on their contacts (i.e. real estate/insurance agent with thousands of contacts as a for instance) - this would be more than just a trivial inconvenience - it could be a devastating event.

Shepps
Shepps

As all brilliant solutions, this is the winner. Simple and easy and uses base functionality. However... what is meant by 'merge'? Does merge assume that ALL objects in both PST's are unique or does it mean that you might have duplicates in either .PST which shouldn't be copied across. I assume this is not the case and you have the perfect solution, however the 'advanced' question would be how to sync two files. I actually wanted this a couple of years ago, when I was using a private .PST file at home and keeping a corporate one at work and mulled over the possibility of taking the HOME PST file into work, merging it to the WORK file, using it during the day and then simply taking the new .PST file home again and syncing the differences. Funnily enough I haven't seen a solution that will do that, and it would be awesome!

gunnarh
gunnarh

This is the obvious way to merge two files, folder on folder - and it is so obvious that you could do it if you only have grasped the knowledge that you need to archive in Outlook!

mcgilla
mcgilla

I agree completely. 1. Backup both .pst files 2. Create new .pst 3. Open both old .pst files 4. Archive them into the new .pst file 5. Delete old .pst files (so many people don't do this, and it saves headaches later.) You just have to remember archiving is based on "modified date" not date sent/received, so you have to check the old .pst files for lingering items. I have found this is the most fool-proof method. And the user can do it for themselves.

gcdimarketing
gcdimarketing

Simply import the pst files into Outlook and if they contain different information you can drag and drop the items into the inbox, contacts, sent items and deleted items(I'm not sure why you'd want to do that). If they contain overlapping items, the items you drop in a folder will overwrite identical ones.

sypi5
sypi5

I'm assuming the pst's are already being used in outlook. 1: Name one of the PST file so it will be your main file 2: In outlook, go to File \ import-export 3: from there select export to file 4: select PST file 5: select the source file 6: select the file it will be transfered to 7: do that with the third pst file and the trick is done. You have 3 pst files merged in to one.

Timbo Zimbabwe
Timbo Zimbabwe

When posting this type of information, most users are not aware that there is a limit of 2 Gbs for best operation of Outlook with a pst. You don't know how many calls I get because of email errors.... only to find an 8 Gb pst.

sfeatherston
sfeatherston

Also it would be good to know if he wants all of the data or part of the data and what version are the other 2 pst files.

melekali
melekali

...one could purchase a third party software such as PSTMerge (http://www.pstmerge.com/) to do this. I am unaware of any MS or Freeware program to do this and do not think Outlook or Office of any version has this capability.

bryan_hackett
bryan_hackett

The easy way would be to archive both .pst files (in outlook) to the same archive file (also a .pst file)

karl
karl

Before starting - some housekeeping issues not mentioned in the challenge #1 - Didn't mention whether these PST files were to be merged to a new PST file or to an existing primary PST file (primary = contains default folder tree) or to a secondary (non primary) PST file. For the purposes of this response - answer based on merging to an existing "primary" PST file #2 - version of Outlook going to be used was not mentioned so assumption is that the Outlook version will be one that supports both Outlook 97-2002 (Ansi) format as well as O'2003+ (Unicode) formats merging lower to higher version (cannot do the reverse since native O'2003+ PST files cannot be opened in earlier versions of Outlook) #3 - If understanding is correct - the question is strictly related to the merging of "Folders" and not the "content items" of individual folders from one PST to another (different things come into play with content merge versus folder merge) Approach: 1) Open additional PST files in current Outlook session 2) From each secondary PST file - right click on desired folder to be merged - select COPY - then select destination in the target PST folder structure (if the source folder is NOT part of a default folder set - the MOVE option is also available) 3) rinse and repeat for each desired folder to be merged until complete 4) close the additional PST files in current Outlook session 5) process complete *** process is the same if a completely new PST file is desired - just create a NEW PST file and use it as the target destination repeating steps 2-4 as required. The difference in this case is that no default folder tree will exist. Some additional points: #1 - A primary PST file contains the default folder tree (otherwise referred to as the default MAILBOX - inbox, contacts etc). These folders can not be deleted from any PST file whether or not the PST file is the default for the profile. #2 - There was no mention of anything related to custom forms etc. Custom forms that were published to the Personal Forms library while any of these secondary PST files were designated as the default will will need to be re-published if still required. Forms published to the Personal Forms lib reside in the "current default INBOX" folder. Copying secondary "Inbox" folders does not make these forms accessible or usable in the current Outlook session. Most common over-sight when it comes to custom forms is that people don't make a backup of the form - (open any new item using a custom form, from Outlook file menu --> File -> Save As --> Select .OFT as the file type) #3 - Using the Outlook import/export wizard for PST2PST functions is probably the absolute worst way to move information especially if the PST file has undergone multi-generational Outlook upgrades. Issues can arise in the future when attempting to access the underlying data outside of Outlook which may never show themselves within the Outlook UI but may come apparent in the distant future (long after the actual PST2PST import/export process was done) when any 3rd party process attempts to utilize the data. #4 - Which brings us to the last item - "User-Defined fields in Folder". When exporting a folder via PST2PST Outlook wizard - user-defined fields defined in the source folder are not created in the destination (exported) folder resulting in those UDF fields becoming "orphaned" unless manually re-created in the destination folder - more info on UDF fields available here: User-defined fields ? (in folder) versus (in item) http://www.contactgenie.com/blog/?p=99 User-Defined (Custom) fields in Custom Forms http://www.contactgenie.com/blog/?p=102

Komplex
Komplex

copy pst1.pst > newpst.pst copy pst2.pst >> newpst.pst QED. ;)

gdb758
gdb758

Well, if you wish to merge PST files without opening them, you need a third-party product. There are several out there, UPSTART from Pete Mclean, and PST Merge from Systools Software just to name a couple. Otherwise, you have to add the PST's to your Outlook, and then move the folders from one to the other. Now, you can't MOVE the standard folders, but you can select everything in the standard folders and move the items that way. Jerry

user support
user support

Bill, I just noticed the article was posted on 3/26/2010 but I just received the article to my email account today 3/30/2010. All Tech Republic emails that I am subscribed to come into my inbox and are not picked up by server spam filters. Has anyone else mentioned this lag time? Thanks.

user support
user support

First, thanks for the simple description of pst file limitations. 2nd my shop still works within the 2GB limit so I am wondering what the benefit is from merging multiple files together when we are used to paring them down. Users have a problem finding and managing emails in the small less than 2 GB pst's even using Outlook's find or search tool so it seems that they would have the same problem with a 20 GB size limitation. Thanks.

bobdavis321
bobdavis321

The standard procedure is to import them into Outlook one at a time then export them as the new PST file. This same procedure is used to upgrade from Outlook 2002 and older to Outlook 2003 and newer to fix the 2 gig limit as well.

SpanishGuitor
SpanishGuitor

Before you get started, I recommend you make a backup copy of both PST files just in case something were to go wrong. I also strongly recommend checking the file size of both PST files. A PST file has a size limit of 2 GB. If the combined size of the two PST files is above 2 GB, then you'll have to do some cleaning before you merge the files. Otherwise, corruption will occur during the merge and there will be a significant amount of data lost. The first trick to merging the two PST files is to make sure that Outlook is configured to use both files. To do so, copy both PST files to a common location. Now, select the Services command from Outlook's Tools menu. When you see the Services properties sheet, make sure that the Services tab is selected and click the Add button. Select personal Folders from the list and click OK. Outlook will now ask you for the name of the personal folder. Select the first of the two personal folders through the browse window and click OK. You'll then see a summary screen of the folder's configuration. Click OK two more times to incorporate the personal folder into Outlook. Now, repeat the process to bring the second personal folder into Outlook. Now that you've moved both folders into Outlook, decide which folder will be your master folder. You'll be moving data from the other folder into the master folder. The next step in the process is to make a list of the folders that exist within both personal folders, such as Inbox, Sent Items and Deleted items. Now, go into the Inbox of the non master folder and select the top message. Press CTRL-A to select all messages. Now, drag the messages into the inbox in the master folder. Repeat this process for all other folders that exist within both personal folders. Now it's time to merge any unique folders. You can move unique folders by simply dragging them to the master Personal Folders container. After everything has been moved and merged, the last step in the process is to remove the now unnecessary personal folder. To do so, select the Services command from the Tools menu When you see the Services tab of the Services properties sheet, select the unwanted personal folder and click the Remove button. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Surely a far easier way is to take a copy of the two PST files you wish to merge. Create a new Outlook POP3 Profile with dummy user data - this will create a 'Target' or 'Master' PST. Open Outlook and use the File.Import function to import PST1 into the Master PST. Repeat for PST2 Job done. Now all the data from both PST files has been merged by Outlook in to single PST file that you created when setting up the dummy profile. No copying involved and you can leave Outlook to do all the work.

mla_ca520
mla_ca520

in theory, I'll buy the tool, but when it comes down to it. I'll think to myself "bet I can find a free tool" several hours later, I'll either find a free tool or decide the build one in Visual Studio Express. My kids will continue to have massive email confusion for a week while I polish my pst tool in VB and when it all gets sorted out they will decide not to mess it up like that again because it was so inconvenient.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

As you probably know, managing your Outlook .pst files can be a difficult task, especially when multiple files are involved. The best way to tackle this issue is to merge Outlook .pst files into a single folder. The tricky part is that without special software tools, you cannot combine .pst files together. Instead, you must import and export the data from one folder to another. First, before you start combining them, just in case something goes wrong. Now, to merge your Outlook .pst files, you must first locate them. In MS Outlook 2002 or 2003, go to File then Data File Management to view all the Personal Folders currently being used by the mail client. Even though you should see a path, you can also click Open to go directly to a location where a specific .pst file is stored. If you are certain that all of your folders are gathered in the same location, you should be all set. Even so, it is still recommended to perform a full search on your hard drive for other .pst files that are not actually being displayed in Outlook. Following the above steps will help you get your .pst files in one location. Although you may still have multiple folders, that is acceptable for now. It is a good rule of thumb to specify the Personal Folder you want to designate as the main delivery location and save it to a file name of your choosing. To combine .pst files, you must work within the MS Outlook program and utilize the Import/Export function. From the Tools menu, select Email Accounts. Next, Import/Export all the items from other Personal Folders into the main delivery location .pst file. For any sub-folders you may have created, you can set up another folder and move those items into it. Once all the data has been moved, close the original Personal Folder in Microsoft Outlook and then delete the original .pst file. The end results of these steps will ensure that all of your .pst files are merged into a centralized location. There will be a standard Personal Folder for the delivery of your Outlook items and possibly more for sub-folders you have created. If you choose to, you can add files to these folders at your leisure. When you merge Outlook .pst files, organizing and managing the data they contain becomes much easier.

Shepps
Shepps

nice to see someone saying that. It's really annoying, as I do like having my entire history (like ALL of it) to search at any point. And I must say Outlook 2007 and 2010 seem to index my huge .pst's fairly efficiently, making searching the archives bearable.

melekali
melekali

One could use the import function in Outlook.

rader
rader

Valid points on all the above, but could you clarify point #3 re: your objection to the import/export wizard method. I use that one, import/export, as well as the copy/paste depending on the client's needs. For the record, I haven't seen any issues with underlying data rearing it's ugly head even with all the Outlook plug-in's that I've seen used over years. I understand the "may become apparent" argument (cover all the bases), but that could also cover all your points as well.

rader
rader

Might have to try that for S&G's... ;-)

lnute
lnute

I also just received it today. So I guess there's no mug for us!

Pcobiwan
Pcobiwan

We've had the challenge of moving old .pst files into new .ost files - Import works well. It also allows you to choose what to do with duplicates.

sfeatherston
sfeatherston

If you are using 2007 you will not find the Services tab directly under the tools tab. I think it would be helpful if we knew what version the 2 pst files are to be merged and what version of outlook in is being merged into as well as if the new version or the old versions have contact manager or not.

Leonardo_C
Leonardo_C

I've also always done it via the import method. Typically I'd make a copy of one of the PSTs and use it as the actual profile (master) and just import the additional data onto it.

rader
rader

You are correct that I haven't come across any PST2PST transfer requests that are outside the norm. I've only known one person (another IT guru) that dealt with custom forms within his own organization. It was about 12 years ago and he ended up having to recreate it. I don't get into the nitty-gritty except for the exchange level needs as you do, so I bow to your expertise. I stopped dealing with programming intricacies since C+ came along. Since most of my customers needs are fairly simple, I use the built-in tools available to me. Occassionally I find the need to use a program that's outside of the norm, OST recovery, Lotus to PST, etc..., but generally it's the built-in tools I use. Thanks for the information on your product too. I currently use Xobni. As a consultant for my customers, I'm constantly looking for new items that my fill a need somewhere.

karl
karl

Before answering this - in the interests of full disclosure - am the architect of ContactGenie products (contact import/export/data management tools) for Outlook so have been involved with moving contact data into and out of Outlook for the last 8+ years. That said, #1 - Re: plugins et al Whether plug-in or stand-alone program - makes no difference, depends on what the plug-in actually does in terms of processing data - most plug-ins do not process entire folder data but work on specific items. It is quite possible to have corrupt items within an infostore (PST or Exch) and never be aware of it if the specific item that is corrupted never gets accessed. Traverse the entire folder contents where everything gets accessed and suddenly it becomes identified. For example - people who have 5-10 thousand contacts are not likely to access every contact on a regular basis. It can also depend on how the data gets accessed - there are various ways to accomplish that - i.e. using the Outlook Object Model, a MAPI based API (CDO, Redemption etc) or a combination of both. Data can be accessed by dealing with an item itself or via a folder's MAPITable structure - have endless examples of an underlying MAPITable structure having issues which does not prevent accessing an individual item but that's outside the scope of this discussion and not something that is specific to PST2PST import/export. #2 - Re: using/import as well as copy/paste The first thing that this identifies is that you never deal with any kind of custom data since these kinds of fields can't be exported/imported via Outlook - ergo - the experience is based only on standard fields exposed by the Outlook import/export wizard (there are a lot more underlying fields in an item then is available via Outlook import/export). This last comment is purely intended to put a frame of reference on things - no more no less and certainly not intended as a criticism of any kind. #3 - Re: "May become apparent" Never deviate from the "norm" or work outside of what is presented in the Outlook UI and many things will never "become apparent". Interrogate given items at a very detail level (not something typically done) and the picture can change. The problem is that once "anomalies" are found, it's impossible to state with any kind of certainty what the actual cause of anything was - particularly if it is something that is seen a year or more later. Was the cause the import/export process or something else? May be purely a coincidence but in the cases sent back by customers with "strange" underlying contact data fields - more often that not, when asked if this info was previously imported/exported via PST2PST - answer was yes. However, to stress, am also not suggesting in any way that this occurs "all the time" since it's absolutely impossible to know how many times any ContactGenie product is used on data that stems from PST2PST processing. Nothing in my original response was intended to suggest that problems occur all the time but the next time you encounter "unexplained" issues with some data - might want to check to see if this data went through a PST2PST import/export cycle especially when different versions of Outlook/PST formats are involved. The "root cause" of whatever the issue was/is may be something that occured a very long time ago. #4 - Re: PST2PST in general On a more general basis, am not a fan of PST2PST import/export since I really fail to see the need given all the various superior alternatives available. If it's purely for Backup - much better to simply copy the entire PST file or use any one of a number of 3rd party backup products that do an excellent job especially when these can be had for as little as $49. #5 - In closing Just want to make one thing perfectly clear - do not believe in importing/exporting "purely" for the purposes of backup regardless of how it's done and nothing in any of my responses should be taken as any kind of inference that ContactGenie products are a viable option "for that purpose" (would never recommend using any CG product for "backup" purposes).

Realvdude
Realvdude

April 1st 3:42 AM Guess the jokes on me. I'm not sure if this is one of those things I limited in my subscriptions though.

SpanishGuitor
SpanishGuitor

That's my daily work and I've documented the instructions.

fgecme
fgecme

Importing a pst file with another does in fact import all messages into the default pst file. However it also duplicates files already in the default file even if the do not import duplicates button is selected. Microsoft does have a file named "Outlook Duplicate Items Remover ODIR.exe", but it removes duplicates one folder at a time and does not check sub folders.