Shrink your Outlook PST by Removing Your Email Attachments

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via by Karl L. Gechlik on 9/24/08


I have dealt with my fair share of Outlook failures in the corporate and home environments. A lot of people don’t know about the Outlook 2GB PST limit in some older versions of Outlook and it causes havoc when it hits. You can send email just fine and even receive small messages. If you delete some messages you can get some more - but there is not any warning or errors associated with this.

So let’s get down to the underlying cause - Why do you have so much stuff in your Outlook? Are you just keeping everything there as a backup, maybe it is your central repository?

Well, either way it would be wise to at least strip the attachments from your messages saving them elsewhere. This slims down your PST (Personal Folders File) and makes your files readily accessible without having to find the message, open it and then the attachment.

I have seen a bunch of apps that do this but none of them were free. That is until I discovered the
Outlook Attachment Remover Add-in weighing in at a small 528KB but it still packs a wallop.

Just make sure Outlook is closed and run the installer. It is real quick and when you open Outlook you will see a floating tool bar that looks like this. Go ahead and hit it…

outlook attachment remover

It will open up the Kopf Outlook Attachment Remover V1.1 Control Panel. This is the guts of the app and here is where you tell it what you want it to do.

outlook attachment folder

Let’s take a look at the options. First the target gets auto-populated with whatever you currently have highlighted within Outlook. I normally choose “Let me choose the folder” and “Remove after saving”. The best part is the next option that says “Replace by link attachment” - this is awesome. It means the email still links to the attachment. Even though now it lives in a directory specified in “Save To”.

outlook attachment extractor

I decided to run it on a folder called Editorial in my PST. It had a folder and a sub folder within that. There were 2 attachments in the root of editorial and one in the folder called Blake below it. This was the response the program gave me.

And here is the output in the “c:\OutlookAttachments” folder:

You can see that it created the hierarchy of folders and kept the attachments in the correct folder. I began to like this little tool even more. As of now I can save the attachments to a file server and actually back them up.

This is another tool I will be shoving on my now pretty full USB drive. What similar tools do you guys use on a daily basis? Anything that you couldn’t live without?

Share em with us in the comments kids!

(By) Karl L. Gechlik is a superhero of the IT industry who wears many hats and changes in telephone booths. Karl mostly uses his powers for good and the occasional hysterical prank. Get your geek on & follow his geeky antics at the NEW today. Stop by and see what we are all about and for your chance to win a HP ULTRA SLIM DESKTOP for free!

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