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Barracuda PST Collector

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This article refers to the Barracuda Message Archiver firmware version 5.1.x; the PST Collector is not available in firmware release 5.2 and newer.

Before Getting Started
In Barracuda Message Archiver version 4.0 and higher, ADMX files replace ADM files. ADMX files are divided into a language-neutral ADMX template and locale-specific resources, and are incorporated when editing Administrative Template policy settings. For a thorough understanding of administering ADMX files, review the Microsoft Developer Network article Managing Group Policy ADMX Files Step-by-Step Guide. The Barracuda Message Archiver can enable a local SMB/CIFS share called BarracudaMessageArchiverPstDrop to use for uploading .pst files for archiving. You must open ports 139 and 445 to the Barracuda Message Archiver to use PST Import via a SMB/CIFS share.

Automated PST collection enables organizations to seamlessly meet litigation support and regulatory compliance requirements by simplifying the import of PSTs into the Barracuda Message Archiver. While the contents of individual PST files can be imported manually at any time, the Barracuda PST Collector automates the gathering and importing of pre-existing PST files from any directory on a Microsoft Windows-based system, minimizing the number of manual imports necessary to ensure that all emails are discoverable and included in the archive. The Barracuda PST Collector is available for Microsoft Windows-based systems only.

PST Import Size Limit
There is a 100MB limit per mail item when importing from a PST file.

PST Assignment
The Administrator can assign a PST to a local user. Note that PST assignment allows visibility of the PST and access to folder names. Visibility of individual emails within the PST is still governed by the local user's email address and configured mail aliases, and email access is governed by these items being present in the mail headers. See How to Assign and Unassign PST Files.


  • Barracuda PST Collector Server – The server regulates PST transfers in your network to prevent potential network overload, and displays the location and status of all PST files (as reported by the Barracuda PST Collector clients). It runs as a Windows service on any Windows-based computer in your environment, and is controlled by an administrative console from which all PST collection is configured.
  • Barracuda PST Collector Client – The client locates the PST files on the local system on which it is installed, and sends the PST files to the Barracuda Message Archiver. The client must be installed on all systems expected to contain PST files that require importing, and runs as a Windows service. However, it does not have any interface since all configurations are received from the Barracuda PST Collector Server.

All systems running the Barracuda PST Collector Client must have access to both the Barracuda PST Collector Server and the Barracuda Message Archiver. PST files are collected from the user's hard drives, not network shares or connected devices such as USB drives. If you want to collect PST files stored on network shares, the Client must be deployed upon the servers hosting your network shares, and on any external systems from which you want to add content. To import PST files from an external system (such as a remote user's laptop connected via VPN), or other machines with only intermittent network access, PST collection happens only when connectivity to the other systems is available.

Automatic End User PST Assignment
When the Barracuda PST Collector submits a PST file to the Barracuda Message Archiver, the user's security identifier (SID), obtained from the Windows User Profile, is collected and stored. If no user SID is available at the time the PST is sent to the PST Server, automatic user assignment is not performed. However, if PST auto-assignment is unavailable, the administrator can manually assign a PST to an active AD user by right-clicking on the PST file in the BASIC > Search page in the PSTs and Tags tab. Note that auto-assignment occurs only if:

  • The PST file is owned by a domain user at the file system level
  • The PST file is located somewhere in a profile directory of a domain user
  • Barracuda Message Archiver – The Barracuda Message Archiver server receives and process the imported PST files, and adds their contents to the archive.

To create the most comprehensive archive possible, Barracuda Networks recommends that you perform one-time PST collection using the Barracuda PST Collector to gather and import all historical emails saved in PST files into the Barracuda Message Archiver. Once PST collection is complete, the Barracuda PST Collector can be safely deactivated and uninstalled.

Configuration and Deployment Options

The following table describes the available configuration and deployment options:

Configuration Option Associated Deployment

Option 1: ADMX with GPO Deployment (recommended)

Configure the Barracuda PST Collector Client using the ADMX and deploy using GPO
Option 2: ADMX with Custom Deployment Configure the Barracuda PST Collector Client using the ADMX and deploy using custom means, for example, System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
Option 3: Command Line with Custom Deployment Configure the Barracuda PST Collector Client using -SERVER at the command line, and deploy using custom means, for example, SCCM

All new installations require some initial synchronization tasks to be performed between the Microsoft Exchange Server and the Barracuda Message Archiver. These tasks, including the direct import of messages, stubbing, and folder synchronization, can take a fair amount of time to complete. The Barracuda Message Archiver prioritizes these tasks over processing collected PST files. Therefore, to reduce network traffic as well as potential load on the Barracuda Message Archiver, and to ensure that even the newest PST files are imported, it is highly recommended that PST collection begin after all such initial integration tasks are complete.


There are three main stages to PST collection:

  • Inventory – The Barracuda PST Collector Client scans client systems for PST files, and creates an inventory of those files which is then submitted to the Barracuda PST Collector Server.
  • Transfer – The Barracuda PST Collector Server authorizes and schedules each client to send their PST files to the Barracuda Message Archiver.
  • Import – The Barracuda Message Archiver receives the PST files directly from the client systems and queues them for automatic import adding the contents of each PST file into the archive.

When the Barracuda PST Collector Client is initially installed, it registers against the designated Barracuda PST Collector Server. No PST files are reported or transmitted during this initial registration; thus, no discovered PST files display in the Admin Console. A list of registered clients is available from the Reports > Registered Clients menu. The Barracuda PST Collector Client then performs a one-time inventory of all PST files on the machine by scanning all non-network drives for files that have a PST extension and a valid signature. This inventory is then submitted to the Barracuda PST Collector Server, and the client system PST files are visible in the Admin Console.

Any PST file created after this scan is not reported or transferred; it is essential to disable the creation of additional PST files prior to deploying the Barracuda PST Collector, particularly if PST collection is being done for compliance reasons.

At no time are the actual PST files transferred onto the Barracuda PST Collector Server; only the details of the files, such as the name, location, owner, size and dates/times of creation and last modification, are recorded.

Once the inventory is submitted, each client requests permission from the Barracuda PST Collector Server to initiate transfer of its PST files. The transfer policy configured in the Admin Console determines if, and when, the PST files are actually transferred:

  • Automatic – All PSTs are approved for transfer.
  • Manual – Only PST files marked in the Admin Console are approved for transfer; all other PST files remain listed in the display until they are either explicitly approved or a different transfer policy is selected.
  • Scheduled – PST files are approved for transfer only during a specific time period.

If a file transfer is attempted on a PST file that is currently open, the client uses Microsoft's Volume Snapshot Service (VSS) to create a shadow copy of the volume containing the PST. The PST is then transferred from the shadow copy, and the shadow copy is deleted once PST collection is complete.

To prevent potential network congestion, the Barracuda PST Collector Server controls when approved PST file transfers occur. If an approved PST file transfer is not initiated at the time of the request, the Barracuda PST Collector Client resubmits the request in one hour. Once a transfer is approved, the client is sent the system information for the Barracuda Message Archiver. The client then coordinates directly with the Barracuda Message Archiver on the rate of file transfer to ensure maximum efficiency on both ends. If the system load on the Barracuda Message Archiver becomes too high, the client reinitiates contact in 10 minute intervals until all PST file transfers are complete.

Select your deployment:

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