Outlook – Extract messages from OST/PST files


The company I work for is in the middle of a legal dispute. As part of the dispute we have been asked to provide all emails SENT TO or RECEIVED from a list of 141 individuals during a 4 month time span.

There are about 12 people in the company, we use Outlook 2010, and our mail is hosted Exchange. The hosting company said they cannot help us, other than to export all our mail to PST and send to us, which doesn't seem like much help at all. They also said it would take "a few days" to give us the exported PST files. We have to provide the applicable messages to the lawyers in 2 days so we have to do something now.

Is there a fast or scripted way to search and extract messages from our OST files?

As it stands, it seems like we will have to perform two manual searches per name:

  • One search for messages FROM the person
  • then a search for mail TO the person

… times 141 names. That's 282 searches per user, times 12 users. The searches are not quick either, since users have about 4-6 GB OST files.

What would you do in this situation? Am I out of luck?

Best Answer

I would purchase and use Emailchemy Forensic Edition to convert the OSTs into some format that can be grepped (I'd recommend Maildir), then write a shell script or Perl script or whatever works best for you in order to extract the relevant ones. Make sure you have plenty of disk space.