Installing & Using the Microsoft PST Capture Tool–Part 2…

In the previous part of this series I explained what the Microsoft PST Capture tool was, described a little bit about its architecture and components, and then took you through how you can install the tool onto a server within your environment.

In this part I would like to explain how you can install the PST Capture Agent to relevant machines in your organisation, both manually and through automated distribution, and then take you through the process of a manual PST Capture to a mailbox.

Installing the PST Capture Agent Manually

One of the first things that you might be considering is – where do I (or should I) install the PST Capture Agent?

What might help you during this process is to remember that the primary purpose of the PST capture tool is to enhance compliance and discovery of e-mail data within your organisation – therefore if you start by thinking where do users store PST files?

This will vary between environments – but the following are a couple of ideas to get you going:

  • Laptops
  • File shares on Fileservers
  • NAS locations
  • Local Desktops

The PST Capture agent is available in both x32 and x64 bit versions and is available for download from the following location: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=28767

In order to manually install the agent doubt click on either the PSTCaptureAgent_x86.msi or the PSTCaptureAgent.msi (x64) file which will start the installation.

From the welcome screen click on the “Next” button – see below

pstCaptureTool014

Tick the “I accept the terms in the License Agreement” and then click on the “Next” button – see below

pstCaptureTool009

You will then be prompted to confirm the installation folder for the PST Capture Agent – you can set this to a location of your own choosing or accept the defaults, when done click on the “Next” button – see below

pstCaptureTool010

You will then be asked to provide either the host name or IP address of the PST Capture Central Server (that you setup in part 1) – you can leave the ports at the default – when done – click on the “Next” button – see below

pstCaptureTool011

You will then be presented with a summary of your installation options – if you are happy with them click on the “Install” button – see below

pstCaptureTool012

The installer will then copy the relevant files and configure your options – see below

pstCaptureTool013

When setup is completed you will be presented with the following screen – click on “Finish” to exit – see below

pstCaptureTool014

Installing the PST Capture Agent via Automation

If you have a large infrastructure or you are looking at deploying the agent to a number of machines, you are probably not going to want to use the manual installation method for the agent.

The good news is that as the agent is packaged within an MSI file which allows for silent installation – the command syntax that is used is detailed below:

msiexec /i PSTCaptureAgent_x86.msi /q CENTRALSERVICEHOST=172.31.253.152 SERVICEPORT=6674

You can use the above command to deploy the agent via SMS, Group Policy or any other software distribution means that you have available to you. Remember you will need to ensure that you deploy the correct agent CPU architecture according to the version of Windows that is running.

If you chose to deploy via a Start-up script via group policy, I have provided a simple example below:

$PackageInstallOption = "/i"
$MSIExecMode = "/q"
$MSIx32 = "PSTCaptureAgent_x86.msi"
$MSIx64 =  "PSTCaptureAgent.msi"
$PSTCentralControlServer = "CENTRALSERVICEHOST=172.31.253.152"
$PSTControlPort = "SERVICEPORT=6674"

if (($ENV:Processor_Architecture -eq "x86" -and (test-path env:PROCESSOR_ARCHITEW6432)) -or ($ENV:Processor_Architecture -eq "AMD64")) {

    # Launch x64 installer
    & 'msiexec.exe' $PackageInstallOption $MSIx64 $MSIExecMode $PSTCentralControlServer $PSTControlPort

} elseif($ENV:Processor_Architecture -eq 'x86'){

    # Launch x32 installer
    & 'msiexec.exe' $PackageInstallOption $MSIx32 $MSIExecMode $PSTCentralControlServer $PSTControlPort
    
}else{
    
    # Dunno!
    Exit 1
    
}

The CPU architecture logic above is based upon following article: http://techibee.com/powershell/powershell-get-cpu-architecture-on-windows-7-computer/1012)

If you do decide to use the script above, you should change the paths in $MSIx32 and $MSIx64 to reflect a share on the network where you have stored the agent installer packages.

Performing a Manual Capture – Using the PST Capture Tool

On your Central Capture Server, open the PST Capture Console and from the “PST Searches” area select “New PST Search” – see below:

pstCaptureTool015

You will be asked to select the computers that you would like to include within the search – you will only be able to search computers that are online (really?) and which have the PST Capture agent installed – select each machine as required and then click on the “Next” button – see below:

pstCaptureTool016

You will then be asked for the locations on each machine that you would like to search, or provide areas which you would like to leave out, in the example below I have chosen only to search the X: drive of the machine(s) that I selected in the previous step, when you are done click on the “Next” button – see below

pstCaptureTool017

You will then based asked if you would like to run the discovery manually or via a schedule – for the purposes of this example I have chosen “No Schedule (run manually)” but you are of course welcome to schedule to scan when convenient for you. When you are done click on the “Next” button – see below

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Finally you will be asked to name your scheduled scan, when you are done, click on the “Next” button – see below

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The PST Capture window will then change to reflect your settings – as this is a manual scan click on the “Search All Now” button, which when complete will populate the lower pane with the PSTs that have been found on each host. From the lower pane, tick the PSTs that you would like to import and then click on the “New Import List” button and select either “Cloud Import List” or “OnPrem Import List” (for my example I am using OnPrem) – see below

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The window will then change to reflect your import list selection. On each PST in the “Location” area – using the Right hand mouse button click on the PST entry and from the context menu that appears choose the “Set Destination Mailbox” (you also have the option of clicking on the “Set to file owner” button which will set each destination mailbox to that of the account which owns the file) – see below

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When you click on the “Set destination Mailbox” button you will be presented with a pick list of mailboxes that you can import into, choose the relevant mailboxes and then click on the “OK” button – see below

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Click on the “Import all now” button – and the process will begin – see below:

pstCaptureTool023

Of course there are many options that you can play with within the PST Capture tool that I have not covered within this two part series, therefore I encourage you to explore (in a test lab) to get a better feel for the tool, but I hope that you have enjoyed the basic overview.

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23 thoughts to “Installing & Using the Microsoft PST Capture Tool–Part 2…”

  1. I have not been able to install the agent on XP machine with SP3. The agent installs on Windows 7 without an flaws. Do you or have you been able to install on XP. I can’t believe that Microsoft only intended for this agent to ONLY be installed on Windows 7. Thanks for any help

      1. I am having an issue getting the x86 .msi installed on Windows XP SP3 as well. the error is This installation package is not supported by this processor type.

  2. H Andy, it seems PST Capture does not import DSN messages stored in PST files. Have you experienced this issue?
    David

  3. Has anyone experienced this problem?: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-SG/exchange2010/thread/563bf3b6-89dc-4fdd-96f5-e4b3d563ff6b

    We have the exact same problem. We double-checked security of course and reinstalled the tool, but we always get the error described in the link and the “Set mailbox”-Window is always empty.

    PST Capture would be really useful for us but at the moment it looks like nobody can solve this problem.

    Thanks in advance

  4. Is it possibles to change the name op the log file because it interferes with scom:

    Exception calling “CreateEventSource” with “1” argument(s): “Only the first eight characters of a custom log name are significant, and there is already another log on the system using the first eight characters of the name given. Name given: ‘Microsoft-Exchange-Troubleshooters/Operational’, name of existing log: ‘Microsoft Exchange PSTCapture’.”

    Diagnostic command: “.\Troubleshoot-CI.ps1 -Action DetectAndResolve -MonitoringContext”
    EventSourceName: MSExchange Monitoring Troubleshoot-CI

  5. Andy,

    I have PST Capture working fine besides one problem. archive.pst fodlers copy over but no emails are within the folders. Any ideas why?

  6. Does anyone have a download link for the 32 bit agent for pst capture 1?

    V2.0 has no 32 bit agent 😐 and they’ve pulled all the downloads for V1…

  7. I too am looking for the 32bit agent for PST capture 1.0

    V2.0 only supports 64bit systems and I’ve got several users running 32bit.

    Thanks in advance.

  8. Hi,

    I am trying to get this script working on my clients via GPO, copied the script exactly as above and saved into a .PS1 powershell script. Only nothing happens when I am trying to run the script.

    Any ideas why this won’t work? Manual install goes through just fine.

    Thanks.

  9. Hi Andy:

    Thank you for providing the script and command line for adding to the GPO for this, but I don’t know how to use it!!

    I know the agent install requires the server name and the port, but if I do an assigned computer install via GPO, how do I also get it to read the msiexec?

    Clearly im new at this, so any real clear advise you can help me with on making this work as a silent install via GPO would be very much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Nikki

  10. how am i supposed to use that script in group policy ?

    in testing on my local machine:

    C:\>cscript C:\installPST.vbs
    Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.812
    Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    C:\installPST.vbs(1, 1) Microsoft VBScript compilation error: Invalid character

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