The minor interface deficiencies I have described become less significant when the application performs the duties for which it is intended. The vendor provided a sample corrupt PST file for testing, but we also ran several other PST files through the application to test performance and deleted item recovery.
There are many variables associated with performance for a recovery application like this - hard drive specifications, level of defragmentation, computer resources (RAM, CPU), and level and type of corruption if present in the PST file being scanned. Also, of course, there is no guarantee that Outlook PST Repair will restore every corrupt or deleted item within a PST file. Figure 10 shows the PST scan in progress. Once the scan is complete (See Figure 11), the interface displays the detailed results (See figure 12).
In our tests, Outlook PST Repair recovered lost data very well. In our deleted items test where the deleted items folder has been emptied, it was important that content was not thoroughly overwritten to be recovered. It was especially important that the PST file not be compacted after which item recovery is not possible. In normal operations, however, items deleted and emptied from the deleted items folder are returned to the deleted items folder with the Outlook PST Repair tool. Recovery is an all or nothing process as there is no option to select individual items to be recovered.
In cases where corruption has occurred, the repair application is often able to reassemble items from the internal checks in the PST file. We tested a 400MB PST file which took 8 hours for Outlook PST Repair to process, recovering over 10,000 items. It found a lot of deleted items and restored them to the deleted items folder as well as a handful of items that we were unaware were ‘corrupt’ or missing. The application creates a new PST file appending Recovered to the file name before the extension. The new file can then be opened in Outlook and relevant data copied to an existing data store.
Finally, the data recovery information cannot be viewed again within the PST file once Outlook PST Repair is closed. That is, you cannot reopen the file in Outlook PST Repair and see the items that were recovered. If you want a history of a PST scan, you need to save the log file associated with the PST file before closing the application. There is a button and menu command of File | Save Log to accomplish this. The log is saved as a txt file and enumerates each recovered item (See Figure 13). This file can be converted to a csv or xml file for better parsing, but would require a third party application.