Shrink your Outlook PST by Removing Your Email Attachments

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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

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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!

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Comments (8)
  • Steve

    CJW – I have used Outlook Track-It for a long time. It’s great for flagging email for reply reminders. It’s also small, so it doesn’t take up a ton of room. Great GTD addon!

  • CJW

    This is a great post. Thank you! Outlook Track-It (google it!) is also a great tool (it’s actually a plugin) for outlook that lets you flag emails for followup reminders. If you have any more on this – shoot me an email.

  • zwr

    If the PST file is oversized. Microsoft Outlook 2002 and earlier versions limit the size of Personal Folders (PST) file to 2GB.You can use datanumen.com/aor/ Advanced Outlook Repair to solve the problem, by either converting it into Outlook 2003 format, or splitting it into smaller pieces.

  • Jeff

    good ones. I like the outlook pst compactor that you talked about also. I started using outlooktrackit for Outlook 2007 recently. It really makes a simple but powerful improvement to the follow-up flagging and reminders for email. It’s similar to David Allen’s GTD plugin for Outlook, but much simpler.

  • Aibek

    In case anyoe looking for similar for Mozilla Thunderbird ccheck out Thunderbird Attachment Extractor.

    https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/addon/556

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.