To simplify the management of PST files in an organization, Microsoft has been designed a new utility called PST Collection Tool. It becomes the successor to old PST Capture tool. It helps administrators via accumulating the PST files in their network also, it can control and secure their usage. The Microsoft PST Collection tool can be utilized to search and get a listing of Outlook PST files that are distributed all through the organization. After finding PST files, one can copy all of them in a central location using this tool.
Collecting PST files in a single place, lets users import them into Office 365 mailboxes or single Office 365 mailbox so that, one can apply a rich set of compliance features in Exchange Online. The this tool can import PST files to user’s archive mailboxes, and allow searching for special emails within the PST that are imported via eDiscover search tools. It holds the O365 retention policies and manages the life cycle of messages via its messaging records manager in Office 365. After successful collection of PST files, one can move them to Exchange Online and delete PST files from their original location on the network.
Key Features of PST Collection Tool
PST Discovery on a Network: The Microsoft PST Collection Tool has the capability to crawl and find all stealth Outlook PST files. As it auto-installs a Collection Agent on target systems to search PST files. After that, it reverts back the information to PST Collection tool about found PST data files and creates log files that include information about PSTs. It quickly detects the exact location of files along with their size and the total number of items. The tool recognizes the project timeline and via this information, one can draw up the migration plan and configure the specific expectations with management and end-users. For this, one needs to set a location like an organization unit which comprises Active Directory objects for client plus server systems or network file shares.
Prevent Creating or Editing PST: The tool provides Group Policy Object (GPO), which prevent users from generating or modifying PST files. The GPO is applied for all users of a domain. It is an optional feature that helps administrators to “lock down” the found PST files, and prevent users from creating new PST data files or modifying existing PSTs. Users can collect, import or delete files even without creating new PST or editing existing PST files.
Replicate PST Files to a Collection Location: The tool allows to collect the PST files in one place so that users can move them to Exchange Online mailboxes via Office 365 Import Service. While running this tool on “collect” mode, every collection replicates the PST files from the target machine where the agent is installed on collection location.
Import PST Files to Office 365: Once PST files get copied to a central location then, users can import them into Exchange Online mailboxes. For this, users need to create a CSV mapping file that includes a row of every PST file to import. The information in each row defines the name of the PST file and email address of the user.
Delete Found PST files on a Network: After importing the found and collected PST files to Exchange Online mailboxes, users can use this tool for deleting the PST files from the locations where they were originally found.
Best Alternative to PST Collection Tool
Microsoft PST Collection Tool is laden with multiple features, settings, and extras, which makes it a powerful application. However, unless you are a superuser who can spend a significant amount of time and patience in mastering the application and all of its functionalities, it is an annoying tool. Hence, one can go for a simple third-party solution i.e., SysTools Office 365 Import. The software can import Outlook PST files to Exchange Online user account along with entire data items such as Emails, Contacts, Calendars, Tasks etc. With the help of this tool, one can perform incremental import from the same PST file after the first attempt. It lets include or exclude Deleted and Sent Items folder while uploading the PST to Office 365. The software is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Outlook as well as Windows OS.
PST Collection Tool is such an eminent utility to find, prevent, copy, import, or delete PST files of an organization’s network. Its search operation is performed on all the machines, which are controlled in the specified OU, Client and server computers, and Network file shares. The blocking capabilities of tool allow users search, collect, and import a known set of PST data files to Exchange Online and increases the security to the organization. However, if someone finds it complex to use then, an alternate solution is also discussed in the article.