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Import PST to Office 365: How to Prevent Outlook Errors

Jun 7, 2021 by Mike Weaver

import PST to office 365

PST files were a key part of email storage for many years. However, with modern systems providing virtually unlimited storage to the end-user in a cost-effective manner, these files are no longer needed. As a result, organizations are rapidly looking to import PSTs to Office 365 or large on-premises Exchange systems.

Like any migration, you need to stop the user from connecting to the source. This ensures they use the correct data location, preventing against changes being made in two systems. When it comes to migrating PSTs files, this means you need to remove the PST file after it has been imported.

When doing a PST project manually, you can create a very negative user experience if you do not clean up the Outlook profile. This is why solutions like Quadrotech PST Flight Deck use an agent. At a basic level, an agent must clean up the Outlook profile. A full and proper agent will do much more, but cleanup is the minimum requirement to prevent large helpdesk volumes.

Let’s review why this basic function is so vital to a migration project.

PST files in Outlook Profiles

A PST file is locked when Outlook is open. This in itself creates a problem for PST migration projects if you’re not using an agent. If you’re able to capture the file while the user is out of Outlook, or their computer is offline, many will move/delete the source file. However, the Outlook profile does not take kindly to this.

The next time the user opens Microsoft Outlook, they will be met with this error:

The file C:/name_of_pst.pst cannot be found.

When they click ‘OK’, they will then be prompted to the file location. On the file screen, the user will have to either select the file location or click ‘cancel’. These prompts will repeat for each file they have. If they have 10 files, they will get 10 prompts. The worst part is this will repeat each time the user opens Outlook until the files are removed from the Outlook profile.

To do this, a user will need to:

  1. Click on file
  2. Go to Account Settings
  3. Click Account Settings again
  4. Go to the data file tabs
  5. Remove all entries

Although this sounds simple, the error creates a poor user experience, at best, but it can also cause a lot of confusion. Users are very connected to their email and their years of history. When they see this error, it tends to cause panic – thinking their data has gone forever.

As a result, they end up frantically calling the helpdesk. Some of our clients stopped their manual PST importation projects when they found over 80% of users contacted the helpdesk.

The benefits of importing PST data with an agent

The full agent we deploy supports all these great features:

  • Outlook profile cleanup – at the right time
  • Bandwidth control
  • Scanning all locations of a computer, including removable media
  • Works with the separate network scanner to get a total inventory of PSTs
  • Set proper PST registry keys
  • Report on connected PST files

Lite Agent? Full Agent?

It should be mentioned that agents come in a few different flavors. This includes a lite agent that runs in memory, an application streaming wrapper, or a traditional deployment. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

From our experience, there is much high user satisfaction, and much lower helpdesk volume, when using a full agent that can control all aspects of the migration.

Whatever your preferred approach, Quadrotech can handle both these situations.


Preventing Outlook errors in PST migration projects makes for better results.

Agents help ensure the correct steps happen at the right time. These not only prevent errors, but also increase user satisfaction while reducing helpdesk calls, making for a productive and cost-efficient project.

If you need to import PSTs to Office 365, your fist challenge is finding them. Join Mike Weaver on June 16 for a practical webcast on How to Find All PST Files on Your Network.

During the 30-minute session, Mike will discuss tactics for locating both network and remote PSTs. Take your first step toward eradicating PST files and register today.