PST Capture Tool 2.0 Released

n&iIt’s been a long time coming, but Microsoft has finally released the long-awaited update for their PST Capture Tool. We first talked about this tool back in February of last year, and while the original release of the tool was very effective at helping small businesses to import all their PSTs into “real” mailboxes, it had a significant limitation-it only worked with organisations having less than one thousand mailboxes. This limit was acknowledged and Microsoft promised an update. Well, it’s finally here. The PST Capture Tool 2.0 has finally been released. In addition to removing the one thousand mailbox limit, there’s more new goodness in 2.0. Here’s what you want to know.

If you aren’t already familiar with the original version of the PST Capture Tool, here’s a quick rundown. The PST Capture Tool has two main components that must be installed. The PST Capture Tool Console should be installed on a server (or central, powerful workstation) and is used to discover PST files and import them into Exchange mailboxes, or Exchange archive mailboxes. There is also an optional Capture Agent that can be installed on user workstations to help with the process of discovering PST files and associating them automatically with their owner. The agent is not usually necessary, but you will want to use it if users have USB drives attached that you cannot map to, or if Exchange admins running the Capture Tool don’t have rights to places we typically find PST files squirrelled away, like home directories and departmental shares.

Here’s what version 2.0 supports.

  • Exchange mailboxes or archive mailboxes hosted on Exchange 2010, 2013, or Exchange Online.
  • Connectivity using RPC over HTTPS (Outlook Anywhere.)
  • Running on 64bit versions of Windows Vista, 7, 8, 2008, 2008 R2, or 2012.

Your Console machines should also have .NET Framework 4.5, PowerShell 3.0, and Outlook 2010 x64. Both the console and the agent that are available for download now are 64bit. I understand that a 32bit agent will be released shortly, but also that the new console for 2.0 can still communicate with version 1.0 agents, so if you have 32 bit clients and you want to use an agent with them today, you can still use the 1.0 agent.

Improvements over the original version include performance improvements, better error handling, and most importantly, no more 1,000 user limit! That limit was the number one blocker for companies wanting to use this tool. It seems the larger the company, the more significant a problem PST files could pose, so it’s great to see that large enterprises can now use this tool.

It’s important to note that while the PST Capture Tool does a great job of finding and importing PST files, the word “Capture” may be a bit misleading. It neither deletes nor locks PST files, so your users can still use them as if nothing has changed. Make sure you implement a GPO to disable the creation of new PST files, and considering deleting existing ones as soon as you have imported their content. In a perfect (Exchange) world, no user will have a PST file anywhere once you’re done.

And finally, here’s how you can download the new tool. Click on http://aka.ms/getpstcapture to download the tool. For those of you who don’t like URL shorteners, that’s http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36789. 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.