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Exchange 2003: Moving .psts to mailboxes.

Posted on 2004-04-14
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2010-03-05
We have recently gone to Exchange 2003. As of now, all our clients (about 40 of them) use .pst files. I would like to switch to using mailboxes on the server instead. Currently, all clients have at least 2 psts files. An active pst and an archive pst, both with different names. What is the best way to merge psts into mailboxes?

I have looked at Ex Merge. This will work for some clients, but not all. It will not work with the archive psts as the name is different than the mailbox alias.

Please tell me there is a better way than Importing the psts into the mailboxes! I did that on my machine today and it took 3 hours.
Question by:ScottCL
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Accepted Solution

ErikKvK earned 2000 total points
ID: 10831234
Only other way is by having the users use the outlook Import and Export wizard. This will allow them to personally import the PST's into the mailbox.

Exmerge is the best way, running Exmerge on the server is better for performance then running it from a workstation.

Try this approach:

Create two folders on the server in a folder Mail_import. Call them Personal and Archive.
Have the PST's copy to the folders. have the <Alias>.pst copied into the Personal folder, have the Archive.pst copied into the Archive folder and have it get the format <Alias>.pst.

Now you are ready to run Exmerge twice once for Personal, and one for Archive.

Keep track of available diskspace for the transaction log of echange. If you are doing large imports, it is best to enable circular logging before importing. After the import perform a backup immediately. This will clear any transaction logs and will supply you with fall back capabilities.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 10832052

I would recommend that you use Exmerge on the username.pst first (and if it's different, rename it to username.pst where <username> is the actual user name of the mailbox).  After you've gone through this process, then rename all the archive.pst to username.pst, and run it the second time.


Just simply ignore the archive.pst.  In many companies I've worked with, it is actually encouraged that the users archive their mailboxes regularly.  I've seen users with 4+ GB of mailbox files, and in an organization with 100+ mailboxes, that's pretty costly to the company's storage overhead.  Tell the users to export the archive.pst (i.e. select all mail and copy to mailbox) or ask you for assistance if they need to 'port the archive to Exchange.

- Info

Author Comment

ID: 10833292
Great. Exmerge worked like a charm this morning.

Now what shall I do about archiving? I do not want 3 year old emails hanging around. Is there a way in Exchange to archive old emails so the server does not get overrun?

In other words, what is the mailbox equal to .pst archiving?
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Expert Comment

ID: 10833372
Exchange 2000 supports mailbox management, which will allow for old mails being removed automatically, but basically this is a user responsibility.

Outlook has the autoarchive feature, but this will end up in local storage of Email. Better way of arranging storage of Email is to set Mailbox Quota.

You can set store level restrictions on the maximum size of a mailbox. This will force users to clean up as soon as the mailbox fills up.

This will create an autosustaining environment. Try to set Email and mailbox retention as well. This will give you and your users restore facilities within the retention time.

Last resort is using Exmerge to export and delete messages before a certain date. The Exmerge documentation will describe how to set this. The created PST can be stored on a seperate server or even on CD if someone wants the mail still available.

Author Comment

ID: 10833662
Great. Thanks a bunch.

Author Comment

ID: 10834286
The only problem is that I know one day, there will be a legal issue regarding an email that I will have to produce years from now. Perhaps yearly tape backups of archive files.
LVL 11

Expert Comment

ID: 10834735
Actually, a lot of companies are enforcing a email deleting policy.  This is due to a ruling a few years back where a huge company was forced to provide the exact same thing you were talking about.  Numerous trees were killed and times wasted from evidence gathering.  If you make it clear in your company policy that you do NOT provide backups for such email for up to a certain time frame, then it is easier to make the case so that the feds will not take all of your computer equipments for "evidence", thus tying up your valuable resources to this evidence gathering policy.

It depends on which sector your business is in, the email retention policy could very well be sticter or lighter.  For example, if you are in government or public domain business, then most data could be considered as "public data" and has a stricter retension policy.  Same rules applies to security firms (such as Auther Andersen).

The best thing to do is to search google and type "email retention policy" and start reading!!!

What you can also do in the mean time is to make a tape backup of all of the archive.pst onto one tape, and store that in a safe place.  remove or destroy the media once the retention period has expired from your policy.  I tried to do some reading to the latest laws, but there's just too many info to sif through.  Basically, the only conclusion is to clearly define a email policy, because it can be very handy when you are subpoenaed if you have such policy in place.

Once again, you can easily take care of your delima by just backing up all of the archives into backup media, especially since you still have them available right now.  That way, if you ever get subpoenaed, you can just give the authority the backup media instead of all of the PC's for forensic evidence retrieval.

- Info

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