Backing Up Outlook | .pst vs .ost vs human

Brief tips and tricks I learned from a job involving lots of PST files and email migrations.

So what is the difference between .ost and .pst? How do you “back up Outlook”, and what does that backup include? I work with email all the time, and I would like to be able to explain the technical aspects of problems and solutions relating to email in clear terms for non technical users.

I recently had a client who wanted to have their email provided by one company (Microsoft 365 hosted email), and the Microsoft Office apps provided by another company. The reason for this setup was that the company providing email would do so for free, but did not provide the Office Applications.

Being in the position of getting all the old emails, folders, contacts, etc., –and more importantly when importing the .pst file didn’t work correctly — I found myself wanting to be able to explain better why it was taking so long, what actions I was taking, and why. Even if I understood them internally, I wanted to be able to explain to my current and future clients in more simple terms what was going on, so I could put them at ease.

Keep reading to see what I found out.

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Using Windows PowerShell to Compute File Hash (Bonus: automatically compare it to a given value)

Learn to use Windows PowerShell to calculate hash checksum values, and automatically compare the output to a given value!

Being interested in security, you can’t help but hear about “hashing” and “file integrity”. I was aware that you can download third party software to calculate file hashes using different algorithms such as SHA256 and MD5, but I wasn’t aware you can do it in Windows PowerShell.

The coolest thing is how simple it is. Keep reading to learn how we do it!

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