Microsoft Outlook is a set of programs used mainly as an email application. It also includes a calendar, task manager, contact manager, note taking, journal, and web browsing. The current version of 2013 is very aesthetic in appearance and friendly to use. PST files are part of this software which are created to back up the above modules.
To maintain problem-free use and for performance, you need to maintain PST files regularly. One needs to take backup of emails, contacts, notes, calendar items from time to time so that the PST file doesn’t become too large and affect efficiency of the tool. This is especially the case with Microsoft Exchange server and Sharepoint Server mainly used in business scenarios.
Stellar Outlook Toolkit is one such software to backup outlook emails in 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002, 2000 and aid in fixing corrupted files. Data recovery is also an essential functionality of this software. The actual price of the software is an exorbitant $649, but you can get it at a discounted price of $299, for the last few days. You will get free technical support, phone, email and chat support, can be used with multiple systems at multiple locations etc. Since this product is not for the average user, and only in the business package “Technician“, this product cost is little high.
The installation of the software went smooth, without any malware trying to seep through. I also installed the license key, without much hassle. There are two versions of registration. 1. Online 2. Manual. If you have a Product key, you have to use the first method. It checks for genuine key online and gives a “Congratulations” message when completed. If you have a Site key, you can use the second method.
List of Features
Stellar Outlook Toolkit is one resource of several modules. The following features were available with this product.
- Repair PST
- Split PST
- Compact PST
- BackUp Mailbox
- Recover PST Password
- Duplicate Mail Remover
Stellar Mail Backup was the first pop-up screen, after installation of Stellar Outlook Toolkit. It offered me to create back up of my Mails, even before I started using the program. But I chose to close the program. Then I tried to test this product using Outlook 2013.
Stellar Mail Backup.
There are 5 options in this module.
- Schedule Backup
- Mount Image
- Unmount Image
This feature works with both Outlook Express and MS Outlook.
The backup contained all the mail folders, contacts and other things. In my current scenario, there were like 600+ contacts and 20 emails. The time taken for backup was 15 minutes.
The task of backup was also scheduled successfully.
The best feature I liked in this module was the restoration feature. You could restore mails, contacts, calendars and other items using this option. In order to test the efficiency of the product, I deleted a few emails, so that to see whether I can restore them. You need to have a backup image for this process to work out. Generally the file name will be something like <Backup-month-year>.rbf.
Using this feature, you can restore the full or specific emails. Also, you can restore them to the original location or a new location. It’ll analyze a few seconds, before the actual process commences. The time taken to recover a “deleted mail” was only a few seconds.
Note: Restoration to original place will overwrite already existing files on your computer.
There were many things that could be restored.
- Deleted Items
- Sent Items
- Skype Contacts
- Junk Email
- Facebook Contacts
- Conversation Action Settings
- WindowsLive Contacts
- Sync Issues
- RSS Feeds
- Quick Step Settings
I also deleted a couple of contacts, to see whether they could be restored. But a little tardy task in this feature is that your contacts are not in one place. The Facebook contacts, Windows Live contacts, Skype Contacts, etc are separated in different folders. So if you want to restore a specific contact, you have to search all these folders.
I found the result of this restoration little awkward. Since I deleted the contact from “Contacts”, I expected to see it back in the same folder. But I had to search through All Folders > Skype Contacts to see the restored contact.
You could also mount and unmount images of backups. This will create a “new Virtual Volume” just like any other partition in Windows. You can scroll through different folders contained in your Microsoft Office Outlook. These are generally your contacts, calendar, Inbox etc.
When I clicked this feature icon, it tried to add an Add-in to my Outlook 2013. But it also said that “Addin support not available in Outlook 2013”. When I clicked “OK” button, it further showed several messages.
This option reduced the size of “PST File” by removing deleted items, free space & junk folders. This enhances the speed and performance of mail client. It also saves all attachments of mail items separately on local computer without disturbing their linking with mails. This reduces the size of PST file drastically.
Generally, an Outlook Data File (.pst) contains your backed-up email messages, calendars, contacts, tasks, and notes, and can be stored in one following default locations based on the client version and the Outlook account type:
Windows 7 / Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\My Documents\Outlook Files
If you had created data files on your computer in previous versions of Outlook, they’ll be stored in the following default locations, depending on your operating system:
Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista
drive:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Note: If you can’t find any subfolder like AppData, it means that it may be hidden. You just need to unhide the items. The following image shows, how to unhide folders and files. Generally, the hidden folder or file will be shown with dimmed focus.
Sometimes, the .pst file is not created by default. For this, you need to create the backup file using the procedure listed here. For testing purpose, I created “test-outlook2013.pst” backup file and moved some mail items to the folder “test1” created earlier.
The size of PST file was 265 KB. When I clicked the “Compact” button, there were several options available. First, I need to select the Outlook Data file (.PST) and select the destination where the compacted file would be placed.
There are also some “Advanced Compact Options”.
- Remove unused space
- Empty “Deleted Items” folder
- Empty “Junk E-mail” folder.
You need to close the “MS Outlook” program for this feature to work. Since there were “no attachments” in the mails I moved to the PST file, there was no reduction in file size.
Recover PST Password
This feature is provided to recover passwords applied to the Outlook account. This module provides a set of six passwords that you can use to unlock the Outlook account. In this feature, you also have the option of searching for the PST file.
But the feature was unable to recover password that was created during the creation of PST file. In the earlier section, we have given an optional password for PST file. I was expecting that this software would produce the same password. But it is giving different set of 6 passwords, to unlock the Outlook account.
You can split single or multiple files using this feature. Using the single file feature, you need to select the PST file and give a destination. There is also an option to find the PST file in this feature.
The splitting options are as follows.
- By Date
- By Mail Id
- By Size
- Select & Split
You can also choose the mails falling between specified time duration. The split PST file was stored in the destination folder as PST file. You can now open this file in Outlook, to see the various mail items.
You need to select the PST file, if your Outlook Mailbox is corrupted. This can happen for various reasons. Some of them include malware, viruses, compatibility problems with OS, migrations, large PST file etc.
To test the repair process, I opened the PST file in NOTEPAD, and deleted a few lines of the machine code. But the program was UNSUCCESSFUL, to repair it. Then I tried another file, which has no problems. The scan showed a successful result. You can see the various folders that were recovered during this process.
Duplicate Mail Remover
This feature was not working with Outlook 2013. According to the website, the duplicate remover module will aid in filtering out all the redundant and junk mails from your MS Outlook profile. This brings important significance in decreasing the overall size of your Outlook mail account and avoids any middle PST file damage.
The advantages with this program are –
- It identifies and removes duplicate and junk mails
- It enables marking duplicate emails as “Expired”.
- It facilitates copying or moving the duplicate mails to a different folder.
The overall features of Stellar Outlook Toolkit were moderate. Some of the features available with this tool like “Compact“, are also available with the default Microsoft Outlook program. Stellar Phoenix Compact PST is more advance tool as compared to Microsoft inbuilt tool. This tool has remarkable options to save compressed PST file which is not available in Microsoft inbuilt tool as given below:
- Compress all attachments in new PST
- Extract and save attachments to a folder (No interlinking lost)
- Extract, compress and save attachments to a folder (No interlinking lost)
- Remove all attachments in new PST
But one of the rich features associated with this program is the backup scheme. You can back up your mails, contacts, calendar items, notes etc using this feature.
The restore function was also successful in my experiments. The price of the software is little high compared to its number of features. This is due to the advanced functionalities it provides at Technician level expertise. Mostly it is useful for system administrators and Trouble-shooting experts. It would have been great if additional features would have been added in addition to the functionality supported by Outlook 2013.