Sunday, 12 June 2016

Techniques & Tricks to Manage Microsoft Outlook PST File

What is PST Management?

PST management is a method used to organize the Outlook Data File sizes, storage types, integrity loss issues etc.
Microsoft Outlook automatically stores all the e-mails, contacts, tasks, journals, etc. together in a single place called Outlook data file(.pst). How an application works depends entirely upon the fact that how is it managed. Thus to cater the needs and requirements of the user, PST management can work accordingly.

Scenario's: User requires to manage PST File!

1. To protect your PST files and its data from getting corrupted or lost due to reasons like:

  • Exceeding the defined size limitation. This limitation is only applicable for Outlook versions 2002 and its previous versions which had space upto 2 GB.
  • The entire drive getting corrupted where the data was saved. That is when a PST file gets created it gets saved in a particular drive. Thus due to any reason if the drive gets crashed or corrupted the data too gets lost.
  • Not terminating Outlook properly, i.e. if the Outlook is not properly closed, or closed in middle of any downloading process the data may get corrupted.
  • Presence of Virus or malicious softwares affect the data stored on the system either corrupting it or resulting in data loss.

2.  Suppose in an organization there are 3 people working on a particular project, each one of them having their own accounts. For e.g. mark_parker888@gmail.com, simon39@gmail.com, andreson03mascott@gmail.com.  Now the company decides to let only one employee work on the project and let him handle all the accounts. Thus handling 3 accounts at a time may get complicated.

Thus an Outlook account is provided, where all the three g-mail accounts can be configured together to make one. In such a case three PST files will get generated for a single Outlook and these files can be further merged together into one.

3.  Removing Duplicate data and excluding out deleted items i.e. when two or more accounts get configured into one, emails or contacts get duplicated.

4.  Converting the format of PST file to generate a different view for e.g. converting a PST file into PDF format so as to obtain an electronic image which can be printed, navigated, etc.

5.  Managing the attachments of PST files like removal, extraction and saving or extraction and compression. For eg. On receiving a mail with attachments, those individual attachments can be handled accordingly to either to decrease the size of the PST file or to compress the attachments.

Now, to overcome these limitations and short-comes, let us discuss a technique in particular:

Know how to Configure Gmail with Outlook: http://gmail-and-yahoo-tips.blogspot.in/2016/02/outlook-asking-for-password-gmail.html

PST Merging Techniques

Manual Methods: Users can manually combine data by importing it from one file to another. For importing the files, one needs to ensure creating a backup of the files to prevent the chances of data loss or data corruption.
Steps:
  1. Create a PST file on MS Outlook application and Browse the location to save your file.
  2. Open MS Outlook; go to File >> Open  >> Import (the import option is used to load the file from its location into the MS Outlook)
  3. Import and Export Wizard will open, there select ‘Import from another program or file’ and then choose the Outlook Data file (.pst) to open PST files.
  4. Now go to browse and select the desired file and make sure to check the ‘do not import duplicates’ check box.
  5. Now select the folder of PST file and choose ‘Import items into the same folder’ and click on Finish.
  6. Repeat the above steps again to combine the other PST files into the same file.
Limitations: This process of manually merging PST files is tedious, as each file needs to be imported one by one. Moreover, the data may be corrupted or lost due to movement from one destination to another.
Due to these limitations, third party software is highly recommended to overcome the shortcomings of merging data manually.

Third Party Method

A merging tool can be used to easily merge various PST files together to lower the manual efforts.
PST Merge tool is used to merge large PST files together into a single Unicode type Outlook PST by Joining the PST files, merging the PST files or merging the contacts only with latest version being 3.2 and size 7.6
Supported Editions:  Microsoft Windows: 2000 – 2013 and onward & MS Outlook: Outlook 2000 to 2016
The basic key features provided by the PST Merge are:

1. 3 Options To Merge PST File:
         a. To join Multiple PST files
         b. To merge Multiple PST files
         c. To merge contacts only
2. Merge Multiple PST Files:   the software allows one to merge all similar folders from two or more MS Outlook PST files like in box mails, contact, journals, etc., into a single UNICODE PST file.
3. Merge And Remove Duplicate Items: one can select the ‘remove duplicate’ option to ensure the removal of duplicate files.
4. Add Folders To Merge: To combine data we do not need to add PST files one by one, the software provides with the option of add folder where all PST files can be selected in one go and perform the merge process in bulk.
5. Include/Exclude Deleted Items: While merging if we do not want the deleted items folder to merge with the other files, we can exclude the files by a particular option being selected.
6. Get Complete Story: The software will provide with the full status of the progress being made during the merging. A report showing number of PST files, their name, duplicate items, etc.

NOTE : N number of PST files can be added for merging (either individually or in bulk) with no limitation in the size and the time for merging process depends upon the type of file and their sizes.

The demo version allowing the user to join 2 folders, merging 15 data items and 15 contact items, whereas the full versions doesn’t have any limit to the adding up of folders and data items.
It is necessary to have MS Outlook installed and configured properly for any user to perform the process of merging.

Steps To Run the PST Merge Tool

1. Launch the PST merge tool and select an option from the three (join, merge, and merge contacts).
[If Join]
2. Now, click on Add Files (to add PTS files) or Add Folders (adding entire folder for files to merge) as per the requirement and add all the PST files that need to be merged together.
3. If, you do not wish to add duplicate items and deleted items to be added then click on the check button for the respective.
4. Click on the Browse button to select the destination where the merge files needs to be sent. Create a new folder if needed and click OK.
5. If all the files have been added for merging then click on  >> Merge PST files.
6. A dialogue box will appear for Successful completion.
[If Merge]
1. Select Remove Duplicate entries and Exclude Deleted Items to remove duplicate entries and the deleted items respectively.
2. Now Browse the destination where you want to keep the merged PST file.
3. Click on Merge PST file.
4. A detailed report of data items appear as the process start like PST file name, duplicate items, item count and the current Status.
5. Click OK on completion alert.
6. On completion the software displays information like name & location of the merged file.
[If Merge Contacts]
1. Repeat the same steps as above.

You can verify the merged items and PST files by opening them separately on MS Outlook.
File >> Open >> Open Outlook Data File
Select the file where PST Merge Software stored it and view.

Thus to merge any file according to the users choice, a third party PST File Merger Tool is always helpful rather than trying out all the alternatives, which may or may not give the desired results. 

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