Whenever users log into their Outlook accounts, they are actually taking a peek at PST files which contain emails, attachments, tasks, etc. Opening PST files through Outlook is the most feasible way to access the data saved within them, but it is not the only way. But what if your PST is corrupt and not able open Outlook. However, in this case, other freeways can be used to access PST file data. This post is dedicated to discussing such methods.
One of the best features of MS Outlook is that it can serve as the interface for multiple email accounts. Users can add and configure their different email accounts within a single Outlook interface for a one-stop solution to their communication needs. And the application derives this capability from Personal Storage Table (PST) files.
PST files and the need to read them without Outlook
Outlook saves all mailbox data (emails, attachments, notes, journals, contacts, calendars, etc) pertaining to a particular email account within a PST file. That essentially means that if a user has more than one email accounts configured with Outlook, the data related to each account will be saved in a separate PST file on the system. So if there are 5 accounts configured, there would be at least 5 PST files. Usually, PST files can be viewed most efficiently within the Outlook interface, one at a time.
There are scenarios in which PST files would need to be opened directly:
If the Outlook application is unavailable or not responding when a user needed to access mailbox data urgently
If a user is trying to view PST file on a system that doesn’t have Outlook installed
If a PST file is badly corrupted and isn’t opening within Outlook but has important data saved within it which must be salvaged
In all such situations, in order to read the PST users need some workaround that doesn’t involve Outlook. The next section discusses such easy workarounds using which it is possible to read PST without Outlook.
Need to view PST file without Outlook? Try these tricks
Convert PST messages into MSG format
The simplest of methods, this involves simply dragging the mail that you want to view directly to the desktop or any other location. Such an action automatically converts PST format message to MSG format which can be viewed using a simple editor application like EditPlus or Notepad++. However, you must note that this involves some involvement of Outlook since you need to select and drag email through it.
Save PST messages as TXT or HTML format
This method also involves the use of Outlook, but once converted to HTML or TXT format an email message can thereafter be viewed directly without Outlook. For this:
In Outlook, select the email that you wish to convert
From the Outlook File menu select Save As
Choose HTML or TXT as the output format
Click on the Save button
3. Import PST into Gmail
If all you have is a PST file and don’t have the option to involve Outlook at any step, import your PST file into Gmail to read PST without Outlook. This process makes use of the Google App Migration Tool and requires you follow the steps mentioned by the tool. This is claimed to be quite an efficient method of performing the import operation but it might be a bit technical for people to understand some of the instructions given by the tool.
Use a reliable free PST viewer application
Probably the best technique with which you can easily check the contents of a PST file without having to import it into Outlook, Gmail, or any other application is using a reliable and free PST viewer application. There are many such tools available that allow you to complete this action with ease. Among the best ones is Stellar Viewer for Outlook. This free tool comes with many bonus capabilities:
If the PST file you’re trying to view is damaged or corrupted, this tool will allow you to scan the corrupt file, view all mailbox items (emails, contacts, journals, calendars, tasks) and save individual emails
While displaying mailbox items for preview, the software preserves the original hierarchy of all Outlook folders and even displays mailbox items that have been deleted recently.
If you’re unaware of the exact location of PST file on your system, this software gives you the option to ‘Find’ the PST file on the hard drive
It includes many advanced filters to allow you to search for required emails to be viewed. Common search criteria include ‘Subject’, ‘From’, ‘To’, & ‘Date’
As you would have concluded, Stellar PST viewer is the easiest, most efficient and accurate way to read PST files without Outlook. It even lets you scan and preview corrupt PST files. Once you’ve previewed the data saved in corrupted PST files if you wish to repair them to recover that data, use Stellar Repair for Outlook software.
It not only scans corrupt files and facilitates mailbox preview, but also repairs corrupt PST and enables you to recover mailbox items selectively. Moreover, using this PST repair software you can save the scanned and previewed PST files on your system so that you don’t need to run scan on them every time you wish to preview. If you keep both these products handy, you can ward off up to 90% of PST file troubles.
Eric Simson is an Email Platform Consultant and is associated with Stellar Data Recovery from last 6 years. He writes about the latest technology tips and provides custom solutions related to MS Outlook, MS Exchange Server, Office 365, and many other Email Clients & Servers.