The simplest possible way to archive and search PST files

I have a massive collection of PST files dating back 15 years (yes, I’m a packrat). It’s incredibly handy to refer to something stored away, even years ago.

I would also like the freedom to access these PST files without having to use Outlook.

However, getting at this data is a pain. I load all my PST files into Outlook, and then Outlook goes through its endless indexing process…and then I have a huge bucket of PST files in my Outlook inbox.

So, I needed an archiving and search tool. There are plenty of solutions if you search around, but they cost money.  

So, as a notorious packratting penny-pincher, I figured out the following utterly simple solution:

  • Create a throwaway Gmail account (or use your own, whatever works for you).  
  • Configure the account as an IMAP client in Outlook.
  • Copy the contents of your PST files into any Gmail folder you like. You can even copy subfolders. Just throw ’em in.
  • Presto: Use your throwaway gmail account as your Outlook PST file archive, taking advantage of blisteringly fast Google search technology. 

Have fun.

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