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Upstart: Migrate or merge Microsoft Outlook .PST files

Learn about a third-party tool called Upstart that allows you to migrate or merge Microsoft Outlook personal store (.PST) files, even if they're stored in different formats and encryption types.

Personal store (.PST) files are a fact of life for many Microsoft Outlook users. One of my more recent finds that makes it easier to manage .PST files is Upstart. This utility converts .PST files to and from a number of different internal formats, and can also merge multiple .PST files into a single .PST.

Originally, Microsoft Outlook stored .PST file data in ANSI format. But more recent versions of Microsoft Outlook allow the use of Unicode storage for .PST files.

Since I deal with email in a number of different languages, I use Unicode storage whenever possible. That said, I have a number of .PST archives -- email from earlier editions of Microsoft Outlook -- that are stored in ANSI format.

I recently wanted to merge them into my current .PST file and convert them to Unicode, so I could have them all available for local indexing and searching. Upstart allowed me to accomplish that.

Upstart requires Microsoft Outlook 2003 to work. When you run it, it'll use Microsoft Outlook's settings to find the default .PST files in use, but you can point it at any directory to search for more .PST files.

After you add the .PST files to be converted to a queue, you can select individual ones for processing or click a button to process all of a certain kind:

  • All ANSI .PST files
  • All Unicode .PST files
  • All .PST files listed

Finally, you choose an action:

  • Migrate to ANSI
  • Migrate to Unicode
  • Merge to a single .PST file

You can also choose the encryption type for the target .PST file(s):

  • Unencrypted
  • Compressible encryption
  • High encryption
  • Same as the source file(s)

Note that whenever you try to work with an encrypted .PST file in any form, the program will always prompt you for the .PST's password -- i.e., you can't use this to defeat password protection on a .PST.

The basic version of the program is free and is a console version that does conversion. To use the merging feature, you'll need to buy a license for U.S. $45.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of the Windows Power Users Newsletter.

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Related information from

  • Tip: How to export data from a Microsoft Outlook .PST file to a .CSV file
  • Tip: Recover lost Microsoft Outlook .PST passwords
  • Learning Center: A primer on Exchange .PST files
  • Reference Center: .PST file tips and resources

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