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Help with parsing PST file structure


nashie
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I posted it to general questions but think it should probably have gone here!

Does anyone know how to parse PST files please? I would like reliable information in relation to the PST file structure. Any resources or documentation source/s would be greatly appreciated. I've tried Googling and all that jazz but nothing useful. I need the structure rather than reading the content as this will at some point be incorporated into an application which needs to extract all emails and their attachments.

Thanks in advance

Dave

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What did you google for then?

I googled for "PST File format".

The first item found was a link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.pst

In that Wikipedia article under Support it links to the libpst project which is here: http://www.five-ten-sg.com/libpst/

At the bottom of that page it reads "outlook.pst - format of MS Outlook .pst file" which links to here: http://www.five-ten-sg.com/libpst/rn01re06.html.

And there you have a pretty extensive description of the file format.

Now was that really so hard to do?

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What did you google for then?

I googled for "PST File format".

The first item found was a link to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.pst

In that Wikipedia article under Support it links to the libpst project which is here: http://www.five-ten-sg.com/libpst/

At the bottom of that page it reads "outlook.pst - format of MS Outlook .pst file" which links to here: http://www.five-ten-sg.com/libpst/rn01re06.html.

And there you have a pretty extensive description of the file format.

Now was that really so hard to do?

Hey, thanks for the sarcasm Cooper. I have found those, but I was wondering if there is more out there though. I have data structures coming out my ears! Whilst I know the structures exist, there isn't much there to tell you why... that is the issue I have at the moment.

Can't wait for your reply to this one!

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Hey, thanks for the sarcasm Cooper. I have found those, but I was wondering if there is more out there though. I have data structures coming out my ears! Whilst I know the structures exist, there isn't much there to tell you why... that is the issue I have at the moment.

Can't wait for your reply to this one!

What are you trying to do? Read the contents of the PST? Dump the messages to text files? Or are you just curios as to how simple ascii messages are stored as 1 file that only outlook can read?

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Let's see now...

Does anyone know how to parse PST files please? I would like reliable information in relation to the PST file structure.

So what you want to know is how to parse a PST file, and to learn about the structure of said files. I provide you with a link to a page that describes, in mind-numbing detail, what the format of a PST file is. Any coder that knows how to parse a file can now use this information to parse a PST file. I answered your question in full and wondered aloud why you weren't able to find this answer yourself. Then you respond like this:

Hey, thanks for the sarcasm Cooper.

That wasn't sarcasm. I was belittleing you for apparently not searching as you're supposed to and claimed to have done.

I have found those, but I was wondering if there is more out there though. I have data structures coming out my ears! Whilst I know the structures exist, there isn't much there to tell you why... that is the issue I have at the moment.

Then why didn't you state *THAT* in your original question?

So you want to know why Microsoft chose to use this particular format. I haven't a clue. Maybe they didn't want other programs out there to be able to read the files, or perhaps they figured this was the best they could do to store the data. Your best bet would be to call Microsoft and ask them, though I doubt you'll get an answer. If they wanted people to know the format of these files, and how to parse them, they would've made this information public a long time ago.

I'll make a mental note to sarcastically blast anyone who asks an obvious question, or a trivially answered one, for not asking the question that they intended to ask. And yes, now I am being sarcastic.

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