Can I somehow open up an Outlook .pst file?

Posted on 2005-05-11
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I would like to know if there is a why to open up and explore a .pst file without using Outlook itself.

I would like to be able to open the .pst up to see what folder names and/or emails are inside of it without having to IMPORT it all and/or use Outlook.

I have an end-user with about a dozen or so .pst files.  He is a VERY high email user.  He has sub-folders ... upon sub-folders ... All these folders are archived into their own .pst files.

When trying to import one of the .pst files ... we were not sure which emails were inside of it because the only thing we had to go on was the .pst file name itself (called personal_folders.pst, personal_folders1.pst, etc).

Thanks in advance for your time and any reply.

Question by:pugdog_fan
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    only outlook or outlook express can open PST files
    LVL 1

    Author Comment

    I hear what you are saying, but I just can't accept that answer.
    There just HAS to be a way to (edit or view) a .pst file outside of Outlook ...

    I might even 'settle' for using Outlook to edit or view a .pst file WITHOUT having
    to import it first.

    I want to use an explorer type program to dive in to the .PST files to see what they contain before
    I import them.

    Just has to be a way ....
    LVL 76

    Expert Comment

    by:David Lee
    Hi pugdog_fan,

    I suppose if you happen to have Microsoft's documentation on how a PST file is laid out and that documentation includes all the codes they used to represent things, then you could write your own PST viewer utility and avoid Outlook altogether.  Baring that, you're going to have to use Outlook in one form or another.  By that I mean that you can write your own PST viewer utility that uses Outlook's obejct model and avoids Outlook proper.  But all that accomplishes is avoiding Outlook's GUI.  Seems like a lot of work for what I'd have to consider to be questionable benefit.  The underlying work is still being done by Outlook.  You can view a PST in any file viewer utility, but it's going to appear as garbage since the file viewer isn't going to be capable of interpreting the file layout properly to show you what you want.  It might be more useful to write a script that'd ripple through the PST files and build a list of all the folders and message subjects in each.  

    LVL 11

    Accepted Solution

    No need to import a PST into Outlook to view it.

    Just go to File/open/Outlook Data File and select the .PST file in question.  YOu can then browse through the file stucture and manually move/copy any information between mailbox and .pst(s)


    LVL 16

    Expert Comment

    MailNavigator will allow you to open PST files

    LVL 18

    Expert Comment

    To add to Stuart....

    He has the best method, but when using the import command from Outlook, it will allow you the option of importing only the folder(s) you wish. You don not have to import "all".

    Also, you should really get the user to properly name the individual .pst files as it would make your search a lot easier.

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