The scenario is as follows:

Two sites. One is a branch office and the other one is the central. The central site has a Microsoft Exchange 2010 server, that is not doing much at the moment. The branch office has several users using Outlook (2007/2010). The clients are configured to retrieve their emails directly from the mail hoster and store the mails locally.

This is inconvenient, to say the least, so we plan to make the Exchange server the centralized mail server for all the clients. Instead of the clients pulling their mails directly from the mail hoster, the Exchange will pull the mails for the clients and will deliver them at their leisure. Redundancies galore, of course. Branch-wide connectivity to the Exchange server is already accomplished, so now we have to migrate the clients to use the Exchange server. And, of course, to keep all the mails.

Now, the plan is to export the contents of the Outlook accounts into a .pst, drive over to the central site, dump the contents of the .pst into the respective Exchange post box, and to reconfigure the clients (with a new profile) to now use the Exchange server. The problem is, that we don't want to start a huge synchronization process, because the branch office has an abysmal internet connection and would take ages to get back all the mails from the then central Exchange.

The question: Is there a way to shortcut the synchronization process? Like, importing the content of the .pst into Exchange, configure the client to connect to the Exchange, and importing the content of the same .pst to Outlook (now configured to connect to Exchange)?

Thanks in advance.

  • No, the best you could do is filter what is downloaded. Using synchronization filters – Drifter104 Jul 28 '15 at 21:57

You don't import the PST into Outlook when Outlook is connecting to an Exchange server using MAPI/RPC or RPC over HTTP. You'll import the PST files into the mailboxes at the central office, configure Outlook to connect to the mailbox using MAPI/RPC or RPC over HTTP and that's it. There's no importing of the PST file into Outlook.

The only caveat is if you configure Outlook in cached mode there will be a "synchronization" process while Outlook creates an OST file (offline file) of the mailbox contents on the client machine.

  • The problem is indeed the initial synchronization that Outlook will do when connecting to the Exchange at the central office (which has already been fed the contents of the .pst). We're looking for a way to shorten this sync process by manually "feeding" Outlook all the data that is already on the Exchange. Syncing both sides without going over the net, so to say. Cached mode is a must; in addition to the internet connection being slow, it is also shaky... – sakatan Jul 28 '15 at 21:57
  • how many PCs? Take them to central office allow the sync and transport them back to remote site. – htm11h Jul 29 '15 at 18:27

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