Customers often ask us why they should pay money for a PST migration solution (such as our own PST Enterprise), when Microsoft provide their free PST Capture tool which appears to do the same job.
PST Capture is a competent product as far as it goes, but as you’d expect with something that is free, it does come with a number of limitations and other issues. For small organizations these issues may not be important, but for larger enterprises they can cause significant problems. Here are three of them.
If a user has a PST file open within Outlook (which will happen quite frequently) then PST Capture isn’t able to read or process that file as it requires exclusive access to each PST file. The only way round this is to request each user to closes all of their PST files before processing. This is of course a time‑consuming task and will inconvenience your users as they lose access to their data until the migration has completed.
PST files are often discovered on network drives and other locations, and it may not be immediately apparent who they belong to or what they contain. If a file does not have a current owner then if you are using PST Capture you will have to manually identify and assign one before that file can be processed. In contrast, more sophisticated products such as C2C’s PST Enterprise are able to intelligently scan the contents of each PST file and assign onwership automatically.
After you have located and migrated all that PST data, you probably want to finish the job by deleting the original files. As well as reclaiming storage space, it will avoid confusing end users. PST Capture doesn’t delete files after processing, so you are left with the time-consuming manual task of finding and dealing with them. Of course the more advanced PST migration solutions will delete these files automatically for you.
Choose your solution wisely
To summarise, Microsoft’s free PST Capture tool definitely does have a role. It is well-documented and does the job, but it has a number of limitations which can make it very time-consuming and inefficient to use. Organizations planning large-scale PST migrations should choose a more advanced solution that can automate most aspects of the migration process and that is more efficient at locating, migrating and eliminating their PST files.
Ensure you have included the cost of PST migration software in your budget, because the alternative – asking your IT Professionals to undertake lengthy manual tasks – is a far more expensive route to take.