PST Capture 2.0 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.

PST Capture tool that allows you to hunt down PST files on client computers across your network. After it finds PST files on users’ computers, the tool consolidates the PST files to a central location, and then easily injects PST data to primary or archive mailboxes on your on-premises Exchange Servers or Exchange Online.

What’s new in PST Capture 2.0?

PST Capture 2.0 includes the following improvements:

  • Support for Microsoft Exchange Server 2013
  • Updated profile generation code to use Outlook Anywhere (RPC over HTTP).
  • Fixed Exchange Online import failure issue when PST Capture is not installed on an Exchange server.
  • Removed User Interface limit of 1,000 users when performing an import to Exchange Online.
  • General performance improvements

Download PST Capture 2.0 from the Download Center (aka.ms/getpstcapture), check out the PST Capture documentation (aka.ms/pstcapture) and then go get those PSTs!

How to install and configure it to work with an on-premise Exchange environment and Office 365


The PST Capture Tool is made of the Console (which includes the Central Service) and one or more Agents. First, let’s start by downloading the tool and installing the PST Capture Console.

  1. In the folder where you downloaded the .msi files for the PST Capture tool, double click PSTCapture.msi. This opens the Microsoft Exchange PST Capture Setup wizard.
  2. On the Welcome screen, click Next.

Figure 1: Console Installation - Welcome

3. On the End-User License Agreement screen, tick the “I accept the terms in the License Agreement” box and then click Next.


Figure 2: Console Installation - End-User License Agreement

4. On the Destination Folder screen, chose the folder where you want to install the PST Capture Console and then click Next.


Figure 3: Console Installation - Destination Folder

5. On the Service account screen, specify the user name and password for the service account that you want the Central Service to use to import PST files (refer to the Permissions table in the first article of this series) and then click Next.


Figure 4: Console Installation – Service Account

6. On the Ready to install Microsoft Exchange PST Capture screen, review your installation choices and then click Install.
When the installation completes, click Finish to close the Microsoft Exchange PST Capture Setup wizard.


Figure 5: Console Installation Completed

You should now see a new Microsoft Exchange PST Capture Service service installed:


Figure 6: PST Capture Service

As I mentioned before, you can manually specify the file names of PSTs to import, thus overcoming the need for an agent. However, one of the main purposes of this tool is to help with the discovery of e-mail data (in this case PSTs) in your organization. After all, do you know exactly where all the PSTs are on your network?


Before we start looking for PST files and importing them into Exchange, let’s first have a look at the available configuration options by clicking on Tools and then Settings in the main window:


Figure 7: PST Capture Console main window

The first options screen available refers to Online Connection Settings - how we connect to Office 365:

  • Username: this is the username the tool will use to import PSTs to your mailboxes. Remember, if importing to Office 365, this account must be assigned the Organization Management role and if importing to Office 365, Exchange Online Administrator permissions
  • Password: type the password for the account mentioned above
  • Grant delegate access to this mailbox: this option allows the PST Capture to grant the specified user account Full Access permissions to the mailboxes to which PSTs will be imported to (be aware that these permissions are not removed after the import!). If you don’t select this option, you will need to grant Full Access permissions manually
  • Server: this is the server the tool will connect to for importing PST files. To determine what your server is in Office 365, login to Outlook Web App and then click in Options > See All Options > Account > My Account > Settings for POP, IMAP, and SMTP access
  • The above is an Office 365 server: select this option if you are importing data into mailboxes in Office 365. If you are importing into BPOS, clear this check box.
  • Check password and connectivity: use this to verify that you can successfully connect to Office 365. If all goes well as in the screenshot below, the OK button will be enabled

Figure 8: Settings – Online Connection

On the Message Import Settings screen, we can specify whether to import PSTs to a new folder at the root of the mailbox, or to another folder of our choice. We can also chose a name for the folder or create it with the same name of the PST file. Finally, we decide what to do in case a folder or subfolders already exists:


Figure 9: Settings – Message Import

Next, we have Archive Mailbox Settings which allows us to select where to import PSTs to. By default none of the boxes are ticked and, as such, PSTs are imported to the user’s “normal” mailbox. I am guessing most organizations will use this tool so they can import PST files directly to users’ archive mailboxes so I ticked the first box. This way, PSTs will only be imported if users are enabled for archiving (probably not the best option, but it will allow us to test the behavior of the tool when a user is not enabled for archiving):


Figure 10: Settings – Archive Mailbox

In Non-mail Items Settings we decide if we want to import non-mail items, meaning calendar items, contacts, tasks, notes and journal items. If in the Message Import Settings page I hadn’t selected the Create a subfolder for each PST file check box, non-mail items will be placed in their respective folder. For example, contacts will be placed in the Contacts folder and meetings in the Calendar folder.


Figure 11: Settings – Non-mail Items

To specify where all PSTs should temporarily be kept while being imported, as well as the maximum size of the folder that will hold them, we use the Staging Area Settings screen. The maximum size for the folder doesn’t have to be huge as after every successful or failed import, PSTs are automatically deleted.


Figure 12: Settings – Staging Area

The next option is similar to the –BadItemsLimit parameter when exporting or moving mailboxes in Exchange – it sets the limit of failed items to be skipped before the import process is cancelled. If this box is cleared, the PST Capture tool will try to import PSTs regardless of how many errors it finds.


Figure 13: Settings – Import Tolerance

Finally, we get to the General Settings screen. This is where we can change the default port that agents and the console use to communicate and how often the agents poll information from the Central Service. In my case I left the default values as I am testing this in a lab environment. In production I would probably increase the PST Agent polling interval to 15 minutes or more.


Figure 14: Settings – General