Extract Subfiles from Outlook Personal Folders Files

KeyView can extract Outlook items such as messages, appointments, contacts, tasks, notes, and journal entries from a PST file. When a PST file is extracted to disk, the body text and header information (To, From, Sent, and so on) from each Outlook item is extracted to a text file. (If you do not want the header information to appear in the text file, see Exclude Metadata from the Extracted Text File.)

You can also extract messages from PST files as MSG files, including all their attachments, using the setSaveAsMSG() method in the ExtSubFileExtractConfig class.

If an Outlook item contains a non-mail attachment, the attachment is extracted in its native format to a subdirectory. If an Outlook item contains an Outlook attachment, the attached item’s body text and any attachments are extracted to a subdirectory.

NOTE: Note: The Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders (PST) reader is an advanced feature and is sold and licensed separately. To enable this reader in a KeyView SDK, you must obtain the appropriate license key from HPE.

Use the Native or MAPI-based Reader

KeyView accesses PST files in one of two ways:


Native Reader (pstnsr)

MAPI-based Reader (pstsr)

All platforms supported


Windows x86 and x64 only

Outlook client required



MAPI properties supported


All properties defined in mapitags.h. Object properties are not supported.


Extracts properties defined in mapitags.h. Object properties are not supported.

Password protection supported


Yes (using the setPassword method)

Compressible encryption supported



High encryption supported



To use the MAPI-based reader for PST files, change the PST entry in the formats.ini file as follows:


To use the native reader for PST files, change the PST entry in the formats.ini file as follows:

NOTE: Note: You must make sure that the PST that you are extracting is not open in the Outlook client, and that the Outlook process is not running.

Use the Native PST Reader (pstnsr)

The native PST reader accesses PST files directly without relying on the Microsoft interface to the PST format. It runs on both Windows and UNIX, and does not require an Outlook client on the system processing the PST files. However, the native reader does not support password-protected PST files that use high encryption.

Use the MAPI Reader (pstsr)

The pstsr reader accesses PST files indirectly by using Microsoft’s Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI). MAPI is a standard Windows message interface that enables different mail programs and other mail-aware applications (such as word processors and spreadsheets) to exchange messages and attachments with each other. MAPI allows KeyView to open a PST file, traverse the folders and Outlook items, and extract the items inside the PST file.

NOTE: Note: When extracting subfiles from PST files, information on the distribution list used in an email is extracted to a file called emailname.dist. This applies to the MAPI reader (pstsr) only.

System Requirements

MAPI is supported on Windows platforms only, so you can filter PST files on Windows only. Because MAPI relies on functionality in Microsoft Outlook, a Microsoft Outlook client must be installed on the same machine as the application filtering PST files, and must be the default email application. KeyView supports the following PST formats and Outlook clients:

NOTE: Note: The bit edition of Microsoft Outlook must match that of the KeyView software. For example, if 32-bit KeyView is used, 32-bit Outlook must be installed. If 64-bit KeyView is used, 64-bit Outlook must be installed.

If the bit editions do not match, an error message from Microsoft Office Outlook is displayed:

Either there is a no default mail client or the current mail client cannot fulfill the messaging request. Please run Microsoft Outlook and set it as the default mail client.

Additionally, KeyView displays the following return code:

Error 32: KVError_PSTAccessFailed.

MAPI Attachment Methods

The way in which you can access the contents of a PST message attachment is determined by the MAPI attachment method applied to the attachment. For example, if the attachment is an embedded OLE object, it uses the ATTACH_OLE attachment method. KeyView can access message attachments that use the following attachment methods:


Attachments using the ATTACH_BY_VALUE, ATTACH_EMBEDDED_MSG, or ATTACH_OLE attachment methods are extracted automatically when the PST file is extracted. An "attach by reference" method means that the attachment is not in Outlook, but Outlook contains an absolute path to the attachment. Before you can extract these types of attachments, you must retrieve the path to access the attachment.

To extract "attach by reference" attachments

  1. Determine whether the attachment uses an ATTACH_BY_REFERENCE, ATTACH_BY_REF_ONLY, or ATTACH_BY_REF_RESOLVE method by retrieving the MAPI property PR_ATTACH_METHOD.

  2. If the attachment uses one of the "attach by reference" methods, get the fully qualified path to the attachment by retrieving the MAPI properties PR_ATTACH_LONG_PATHNAME or PR_ATTACH_PATHNAME.

  3. You can then either copy the files from their original location to the path where the PST file is extracted, or use the Filter API methods to filter the attachment.

Open Secured PST Files

KeyView enables you to specify credentials (user name and password), which are used to open a secured PST file for extraction. See Password Protected Files for more information.

Detect PST Files While the Outlook Client is Running

If you are running an Outlook client while running the File Extraction API, the KeyView format detection module (kwad) might not be able to open the PST file to determine the file’s format because Outlook has the file locked. In this case, you can do one of the following: