Import PST files to Office 365 using Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer tool | 2#2 5/5 (2) 10 min read

This current article is the second article in a series of two articles. In the former article, we review in high level the components and the concepts that involved throughout the process of importing PST files to Exchange Online mailboxes.The current article, serve as a step by step guide which includes a detailed description of each step that is required for implementing the task of importing PST files to Exchange Online mailboxes.

Phase A – Upload the PST files to Azure store

In the following section, we review the “step by step” process of the scenario in which we want to import 2 PST files to a specific Exchange Online mailbox of a user named – Bob.

1. Prepare the PST files

Technically speaking, we can store the organization users PST file on every host whom we would like as long as the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer utility, will be able to access this host.

If we store the PST files on a specific Network server, we need to share the folder which contains the PST files.

Regarding the folder name who stores the PST file and regarding the PST file names, I recommended using a simple naming convention. The purpose is to prevent in advance any “import issues,” that related to a problematic PST file name.

In our example, I create a folder named PSTimport on drive C:, and copy all the PST files to the specified folder.

Login to Office 365 security and compliance portal -01-min

2. Get the URL address of the Azure store (SAS)

Before we can start to run the PST file import job, we need to get the URL address of the Azure store which will “host” the PST files that we will upload to the cloud.

To be to get the required URL address value, we will start a NEW PST file import job, only for getting the value of the SAS URL address (we will not complete this specific PST import job).

After we get the required SAS URL value, and later, we will use this address as part of the configuration settings that we need to set when using the Azure Storage Explorer utility.
1. Login to Office 365 security and compliance portal

We can access the Office 365 Security & Compliance portal by using the URL address (https://protection.office.com/#/homepage ) or, from the Office 365 admin portal.

  • On the main page of the Office 365 admin portal, select the menu Admin centers
  • Select the sub menu – Security & Compliance

Login to Office 365 security and compliance portal -02-min

  • On the left menu bar, select the menu – Data governance

Login to Office 365 security and compliance portal -03-min

In the next step, we will start the import PST wizard, just for getting the value of the SAS URL address.

  • Under the Data governance menu, select the submenu – Import
  • Click on the + New import job button

Get the URL address of the Azure store -SAS --01-min

  • Type a name for the NEW import PST job.
  • Click Next

Quick reminder, keep it simple, select a simple name without capital letters, spaces, special characters and so on.

Get the URL address of the Azure store -SAS --02-min

The default option is – Upload your data

  • Click Next

Get the URL address of the Azure store -SAS --03-min

Under section “2” (Copy the SAS URL for network upload. You’ll use this in the Dest parameter), click on the link named – Show network upload SAS URL

Get the URL address of the Azure store -SAS --04-min

After a couple of seconds, the SAS URL address is generated.

  • Copy the SAS URL address by clicking on the button – Copy to clipboard

Get the URL address of the Azure store -SAS --05-min

My advice is to save the value of the SAS URL in a file so, in the future, we will be able to easily get this value.

Get the URL address of the Azure store -SAS --06-min

3. Using the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer tool for uploading the PST files

In this step, we need to complete two tasks:

  • Task 1 – download + install the “Azure Storage Explorer” utility.
  • Task 2 – set the address of our “Azure Active Directory store” that defined as “Storage Accounts.”

Task 1 – Download + install the “Azure Storage Explorer” utility.

Download and install the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer tool.

Azure Storage Explorer -a

To locate the Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer tool, you can use the search menu,
Typing “azure s

Azure Storage Explorer -b

Task 2 – set the address of the “Azure Active Directory store” (Storage Accounts)

In this step, we will need to use the value of the SAS URL that we got in the former step.

  • Right-click on the Storage Accounts
  • Select the menu option Connect to Azure storage…

Azure Storage Explorer – configure the Azure store SAS URL address --01-min

  • Select the option named – Use a connection string or shared access signature URI

Azure Storage Explorer – configure the Azure store SAS URL address --02-min

In the text box (URI) past the value of the SAS URL that you got in the former step

Azure Storage Explorer – configure the Azure store SAS URL address --03-min

To start the process in which the “Azure Active Directory store” utility connects our Azure dedicated store, click – Connect

Azure Storage Explorer – configure the Azure store SAS URL address --04-min

In the following screenshot, we can see that the “Azure Active Directory store” utility successfully manages to connect to my Azure dedicated store.

The “Azure Storage Explorer” utility will help us to upload the required PST files to the Azure store + serve as a “viewer” that enables us to view the content of our Azure store.

Azure Storage Explorer – configure the Azure store SAS URL address --05-min

4. Upload the PST files to Azure Active Directory store

In this section, we review how to upload the PST files to Azure store

  • Select the Upload menu
  • Select the sub menu – Upload Files…

Import the PST files using Azure Storage Explorer -07-min

  • In the section –Files, click on the three dots icon

Import the PST files using Azure Storage Explorer -08-min

  • Navigate to the folder which contains the PST files

Import the PST files using Azure Storage Explorer -09-min

  • Click open

Import the PST files using Azure Storage Explorer -10-min

  • Click upload

In the following screenshot, we can see the PST files that were uploaded to the Azure store.

Import the PST files using Azure Storage Explorer -11-min

Phase B – Import to PST files to Exchange Online Mailboxes respectively

In this phase, we assume that you already finish uploading all the required PST files to Azure store.

Now, we are going to create a new PST import job, using the Office 365 Security & Compliance admin.

The New import job includes the following steps:

  1. Upload the CSV file – the import PST job will use the CSV file that we provide as a “map file.” The CSV file includes information about the PST files that we uploaded to the Azure store + the name of the Exchange Online mailboxes. The PST import job will “pull” each of the PST files that mentioned in the CSV file, and import this PST files to a specific Exchange Online mailbox.
  2. Verify the content of the CSV file – the import PST job will scan the content of the CSV file, and verify that the information structure of the CSV file is “legal” and created using the “right syntax.”
  3. Import the PST files from the Azure store to the appropriate Exchange Online mailbox.

1. Preparing the CSV file

In the following screenshot, we can see an example to a CSV file that we use for “instructing” the Office 365 import PST job about the specific PST files that we want to import to a specific Exchange Online mailbox.

Generally speaking, the CSV file can include a couple of “column headers” that we can use for various scenarios.

Note – you can read more information about the various CSV options in the article – Use network upload to import your organization’s PST files to Office 365

In our scenario, I would like to emphasize only the most important columns.
1. Workload (mandatory value)
The “Exchange” value, is the default value for a scenario in which we import PST files to Exchange Online mailbox. In other words, add this value for each row and don’t “mess” with this value.
2. Name (mandatory value)
This is the name of the PST file that the Office 365 PST import job except to find in our Azure store (the PST files that were uploaded in the former steps).
3. Mailbox (mandatory value)
This is the name of the Exchange Online mailbox for which the PST file will be imported.
4. TargetRootFolder
This is the name of the folder that will be created in the “destination Exchange Online mailbox,” which will contain the imported PST file (mail items).

In case that we don’t provide any name, the Office 365 PST import batch will automatically create a folder named – “Imported” in the destination Exchange Online mailbox, which will store the content of the PST file.

In our scenario, Office 365 PST import batch will execute the following sequence of tasks:

  • A PST file named pst will be imported to the Exchange Online mailbox of a recipient named – [email protected] Because we didn’t provide any folder name, the PST file will be imported into the default folder that will be created – the – “Imported” folder.
  • A PST file named pst will be imported to the Exchange Online mailbox of a recipient named – [email protected] Because we provide a folder name (PST_import-Test), the Office 365 PST import batch will create this folder that will store the content of the imported PST file.

Preparer the CSV file -01-min

Note – you can download a sample CSV file from the following link

2. Create NEW import Job

In this step, we use the Office 365 security & compliance admin interface for creating a NEW import PST batch, that will import the PST files located in the Azure store to Exchange Online mailboxes based on the “instructions” in the CSV file.

  • Office 365 Security & Compliance admin interface, select the menu Data governance
  • Select the sub menu – Import
  • Click on the blow button named + New import job

Create NEW import Job -01-min

  • In the Name* text box provide the batch name (quick reminder, keep the name simple, no special characters, etc.).

Create NEW import Job -02-min

The default option is – Upload your data

  • Click Next

Create NEW import Job -03-min
Check the two option boxes

  • I’m done uploading my files
  • I have access to the mapping file

Create NEW import Job -04-min

  • Click on the blow button named “+ Select mapping file

Create NEW import Job -05-min

Locate the required CSV file that was created in the former step.

Just a quick reminder, the CSV file will need to be prepared by you and contain the list of PST files that were already uploaded to the Azure store + the name of the Exchange Online mailboxes which will “host” a specific PST file from the list.

  • Select the appropriate CSV file and click Open

Create NEW import Job -06-min

3. Validate the CSV file

In this step, the Office 365 import PST batch will need to verify if the CSV file syntax and structure are valid.

  • Select the option – Validate

Validate the CSV file -07-min

In the following screenshot, we can see that the Office 365 import PST batch “inform” us that the CSV file is proper and valid.

  • Click Save

Validate the CSV file -08-min

The last wizard window informs us that the “import request” was successfully “registered.” Notice that at the current time, the PST import process will not start!

  • Click Close

Create NEW import Job -09-min

  • Click Close

Create NEW import Job -10-min

4. Start the PST import process.

In this step, we actually start the PST import process.

In the following screenshot, we can see that the status of our batch is “Analysis in progress.

Office 365 import PST batch, will need to verify if he can locate the PST file in the Azure store and perform additional background checks.

Start the PST file import process-01-min

After the Analysis process was completed, the status of the PST import batch appears as “Analysis completed

Start the PST file import process-02-min

  • Select the PST import batch
  • Click on the blow button – Import to Office 365

Start the PST file import process-03-min

  • Select the option – No, I want to import everything

Quick reminder, in our scenario we don’t want to filter folders from the PST file\s.

Start the PST file import process-04-min

  • Click on the blow button – Import data

Start the PST file import process-05-min

  • Click – close

Start the PST file import process-06-min

In the following screenshot, we can see that the PST import batch status is “In progress

Start the PST file import process-07-min

After the PST import batch completed, the status is “Success

Start the PST file import process-08-min

Verify that the import PST file to Exchange Online mailbox was successfully completed.

In this section, we want to verify that the “PST import batch” manage to successfully import the two PST files to Bob’s mailbox.

In the following screenshot, we can see Bob’s mailbox.

Verify that the PST import was successfully completed -01-min

The mailbox includes two “NEW” folders:

1. Imported folder
As mentioned, the “PST import batch” is configured to automatically create this folder in the Exchange Online mailbox. The import folder will serve as a container for all the PST files that we import to the specific Exchange Online mailbox.

2. PST_import-TEST
This is a folder that also created by the “PST import batch.” However, this time, the folder name was defined within the CSV file that we use as instructions for the “PST import batch.”

In the following screenshot, we can see the content of the imported folder. We can see that the PST file that includes mail folders, and mail items were successfully imported.

Verify that the PST import was successfully completed -03-min

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One Response to “Import PST files to Office 365 using Microsoft Azure Storage Explorer tool | 2#2”

  1. What a fantastic post! This is so chock full of users information and the resources you provided helped me a lot. I tried both manual way that you explained above and an automated solution like SysTools Import PST to Office 365.
    Both of them helped me to import pst files to Office 365. The automated solution was fast and I was able to add multiple PST files within few clicks. 
    Thanks
    kingrylan

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