File converter makes quick work of pesky .PSTs

Outlook's .PST file format doesn't lend itself to easy conversion, but a handy tool called Aid4Mail can take the pain out of the process.

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Migrating from one mail system to another is never easy, and often further complicated by the different proprietary

features of mail systems that don't lend themselves to easy conversion.

Outlook's .PST format is one of the more infamous examples of this; many mail administrators are unhappy with the fact that the default mail storage format for Outlook is proprietary, often prone to damage and difficult to read without a copy of Outlook.

Several third-party programs exist to convert saved mail from one format to another. One such application, Aid4Mail, stands out a bit from the pack with two main features:

  1. It converts to and from almost every major desktop mail application.

  2. It can archive mail in generic, RFC-compliant and non-proprietary mailbox files -- something which (for instance) Outlook doesn't directly support.

Aid4Mail supports just about every mail application in common use: Mozilla/Netscape/Thunderbird, Outlook and Outlook Express (PST and MSG format for each), Eudora, The Bat!, Opera, Forte Agent, Pegasus, Calypso, generic Unix mailboxes, and many more. It also works natively with any Windows mail program that supports the Extended MAPI messaging standard: Outlook, Novell GroupWise, and so on.

The program has several other intelligent features as well. For instance, attachments are stored separately from e-mail, and redundant copies of attachments are stored only once in each archive. Archives can be exported as MHTML documents, which can then be browsed offline in Internet Explorer, making it easy to create a copy of a mail archive that can be read without needing a mail program.

A trial version of the program is free. For mail administrators in organizations, there's an enterprise edition that can run as a console application from a batch file for mass conversion operations.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter and a regular contributor to SearchExchange.com.


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Check out PST2WEB.
—Duane J.


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Related information from SearchExchange.com:

  • Learning Center: Toolbox for Exchange administrators
  • Download Center: Messaging administration tools
  • Reference Center: Outlook tips and resources
  • Reference Center: PST tips and resources
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    This was first published in June 2005

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