Rejoice, for the PST Capture Tool Has Been Launched!

 

The Exchange Team first indicated it was coming back in July 2011. We’ve been anxiously awaiting it ever since, and it has finally arrived. Microsoft’s free PST Capture Tool is available for download now.

This tool is designed to hunt down PSTs on your network and provide administrators with a management console which will enable them to either migrate the content to Exchange 2010 on premise, or to Office 365. It uses a client-server approach, requiring a management console to be installed on a server, and agents to be deployed to all systems which you want to scan for PSTs.

To use the tool you must first install the PST Capture Console onto a workstation or server with Outlook 2010 (64 bit) installed. During the install you specify the service account to use, and the port the service will bind to if you don’t want to use the default 6674. Then you install the PST Capture Agent on each computer that you want to search for PSTs. During the install of the agent you specify the FQDN of the Capture Console, and the port if you changed it from the default.

You’ll also need a service account that has been assigned  permissions based on the import scenario you want to implement.

Scenario Permissions required
Installing PST Capture
  • Local administrator privileges on the computer where you want to install the PST Capture Console or PST Capture agent.
Searching for PSTs
  • You must be logged on with local administrator privileges on the computer where you run the PST Capture Console.
Importing PSTs to mailboxes in your Exchange Online (Office 365) organization
  • You must be logged on with local administrator privileges on the computer where you run the PST Capture Console.
  • The user account you specify on the Online Connection Settings tab of the PST Capture settings must be assigned the Organization Management role.
Importing PSTs to mailboxes in your Exchange Online (BPOS) organization
  • You must be logged on with local administrator privileges on the computer where you run the PST Capture Console.
  • The user account you specify on the Online Connection Settings tab of the PST Capture settings must be an Exchange Online administrator account.
Importing PSTs to mailboxes in your on-premises organization
  • You must be logged on with local administrator privileges on the computer where you run the PST Capture Console.
  • The user account that the PST Capture Central Service uses must be mailbox-enabled.
  • The user account that the PST Capture Central Service uses must be assigned the Public Folder Management role in your Exchange organization.
Importing PSTs to archive mailboxes in your on-premises organization
  • You must be logged on with local administrator privileges on the computer where you run the PST Capture Console.
  • The user account that the PST Capture Central Service uses must be mailbox-enabled.
  • The user account that the PST Capture Central Service uses must be assigned the Organization Management role in your Exchange organization.

 

Running import operations can be bandwidth intensive. The agent will copy the PST files to the server running the management console. Then the management console server will either copy the data to a CAS server which will then copy it to a mailbox server, or if the destination is in Office 365, the management console will copy the data directly to Office 365. If you were keeping count, that means a PST might transit the network anywhere from two to four times, depending upon the source of the PST (local hard drive or network share) and the destination. It’s recommended that the management console server be local to the CAS server as well, and in the case of Office 365 customers, close to the Internet egress point.

With the release of the PST Capture Tool, admins now have a free tool to help finally eradicate PST files. Good hunting!

Written by Casper Manes

I currently work as a Senior Messaging Consultant for one of the premier consulting firms in the world, I cut my teeth on Exchange 5.0, and have worked with every version of Microsoft’s awesome email package since then, as well as MHS, Sendmail, and MailEnable systems. I've written dozens of articles on behalf of my past employers, their partners, and others, and I finally decided to embrace blogging and social media, so please follow me on Twitter @caspermanes if you enjoy my posts.

2 Comments

  1. David Nodge · February 5, 2012

    Remember though, before you go overzealously getting rid of your PSTs once and for all to get clearance from management and human resources to do so. If you just let this out for your own purposes and long-awaited joy, there may be a lot of complaints the next day about altered files and why you were able to go in and get rid of the PST files users so like to depend on.

  2. Casper Manes · February 9, 2012

    Spot on David…this isn’t a tool to stealthily get rid of PSTs, it’s a tool to use in a coordinated, but also a centralised fashion to migrate data out of PSTs and into a server based storage location. You want to get rid of PSTs, but NOT get rid of the data they contain. Your target will be either larger mailboxes, or an archive ready to receive the data.

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