closed source(read M$) = trap

May be i am stating the obvious, may be it has already been written on numerous posts, articles, forums et al, but i am seriously seriously getting sick of ‘closedness’ of the Microsoft(M$) products. I am referring to their proprietary pst file format for now and they way they have designed the whole software. It just ensures that the data collected in pst file is useless outside the Outlook tool.

May be it did make sense till few years back but it doesnt anymore. Now everybody wants open systems, open standards, open formats. Why are they still so closed that nobody yet has any tool built around it without seeking help from the Outlook modules? Its just ridiculously nonsense.

I have a pst file with me but dont have Outlook since i dont want to spend money on M$ nonsense and i dont want to install pirated copy either. There is no tool existing which can read this pst file and extract my mails into any other format like mbx or other without using Outlook. huh.



  1. There is a round-about way to convert the mails (one-by-one) to eml. The eml items can be converted to mbox. mbox feature, it looks, is a open standard.

  2. Bipin,

    libpst – works in *nix. I had read reviews about it earlier. It seems to be the best available but still there is no general consensus that it works perfect.

    Xena – converts to xml. Didnt find any tool to covert that to mbox.

    MailNavigator – needs Outlook installed.

  3. libpst – works in *nix.

    I assumed that’s okay with you. By the way there are Windows’ versions available like ReadPST, spamFU (which has it’s own readpst.exe). Please note that these are the CUI tools, probably compiled using CygWin.
    The trouble is that they do not work for pst files from Outlook 2003.

    If you can afford to use someone’s Outlook (probably from Office), then there are two solutions (I can think of right now):
    1. Use Outlook to export them as older pst format and then use Readpst.
    2. Use Thunderbird to import mails from Outlook. It’s copy is saved in Windows at :
    \Application Data\Thunderbird\Profiles\*
    I tried it just now. It even worked for 2003 version of pst file. I am really happy that I came across your post.
    Now I’ll move my .pst crap onto the Thunderbird on my Laptop ASAP.

    On another note, I miss two things in ThunderBird:
    1. Support for MS Exchange Server.
    2. Support for proxy authentication.
    I tried a lot for the latter but couldn’t succeed. If you’ve any info on it, do let us know.

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