So here is the long and silly backstory:

One of our users has lived exclusively in Microsoft Outlook 2010 and has several years worth of email addresses stored in his contact list. A recent server change caused some weird glitch and he lost all of his contacts and calendar entries. I re-imported his .pst file from a backup on our server, but apparently the contacts and calendar entries weren't stored in there?

I have no idea what to do to recover that data for him, but it's a massive blow for him to lose that information.

One idea that I had would be to somehow populate his address book with all of the emails that were recovered from the pst backup. Does anything like this exist?

Is there some secret area of the computer that contact information is automatically stored that I just don't know about?

Some facts:

  1. We're not using an exchange server. Outlook is merely acting as an email client for our IMAP server.
  2. I'm not a systems administrator. I'm just a software engineer that got asked to try and fix this. It could very well be that there's just something really simple that I've missed that would fix everything.
  3. The pst files are backed up on a Drobo. They have a weird file extension and timestamp, but simply changing the extension to .pst seemed to work at importing the mail (even though it excluded the calendar and contacts).
  • There might be more pst files to restore than the ones you have found. I also don't like their having a "weird file extension and timestamp" - could you give an example? – harrymc Oct 27 '12 at 16:39
  • Well, it's being backed up in two different file names depending on the day of the month. It's all either whatever.pst.TIMESTAMP.alt or whatever.pst.TIMESTAMP.dlt. – Eric Ryan Harrison Oct 29 '12 at 12:17

Your idea about recreating the contacts list from the email messages stored on the PST files would work. For this you can use MsgExtract to export the sender email addresses to an Excel file or to a CSV (Comma delimited) file.

Outlook can import the contacts from a CSV file:


Export email parts

MailExporter extraction job

You can find further information about MsgExtract exporting features here:


(Disclaimer, I am the author of MsgExtract)

  • Disclaimer or not, if this works, I'm going to name my next child after you. I'll give it a try today at lunch and let you know if it works. Thanks. <3 – Eric Ryan Harrison Oct 29 '12 at 12:10
  • Thanks, this worked perfectly. For posterity, everyone should be aware that you need to purchase the Professional license. I bought the standard version first and it didn't have the right functionality. :( Other than that, everything worked perfectly. – Eric Ryan Harrison Oct 29 '12 at 15:01

The user probably stored their contacts in a different PST file. Have a look to see if there were any other PSTs associated with the user. Try using something like FileLocator Pro to search for PST files and search inside them for known contact information.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. He did have two separate PSTs, but I've imported both of them and none of them contain his calendar and contact information. I've also run scanpst.exe on both of them hoping that maybe there was just a corruption or something, but no luck. :( – Eric Ryan Harrison Oct 25 '12 at 12:40
  • 1
    Have you checked the local file system for a PST file? – snowdude Oct 25 '12 at 12:57
  • Yeah. Only found the two PSTs. The drobo backup server is just taking copies of those two files that are stored on the local system. – Eric Ryan Harrison Oct 25 '12 at 16:03
  • Apologies for stating the obvious but you have checked both in the Contacts tab haven't you? They'll be stored in some PST somewhere. – snowdude Oct 26 '12 at 21:18
  • Yeah. I'm pretty sure I did. I've imported both of them at the same time and checked in the Contacts tab after each import and they are empty after each one. It doesn't make any sense to me either. :( – Eric Ryan Harrison Oct 27 '12 at 1:37

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