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PST to Office 365 Migration: Do I Need a Full Agent, Lite Agent, or No Agent?

Jun 6, 2019 by Mike Weaver

A graphical representation of a software agent migrating PST files to Office 365

Perhaps the most hotly debated topic of conversation in advanced PST to Office 365 migration projects is whether or not to use an agent on the end-user workstation. (For clarity, ‘agent’ is the industry term for software installs.) As we have shared in previous posts, we are a little opinionated on the issue! (Spoiler: You need an agent for a successful project!)

The user experience in a PST project can make or break your migration. Many solutions on the market only focus on the actual file migration. For small projects, this may be ok. We cover a lot of the free Microsoft tools, and where they are a good fit, in our PST eBook, The Complete Guide to Eradicating PST Files.

For larger projects with more than 500 users, an agent allows for a controlled and highly accurate PST elimination solution. An agent gives us the ability to control the user experience, give additional features, report to our server how a user is using their PSTs files, and clean up the Outlook profile at just the right time. (With perhaps the biggest benefit being users retain access to their files while they are being migrated.)

PST to Office 365 Migration Services

The problem with agents is they need to be deployed. To level set, we understand software deployment can be a real pain. I joined Quadrotech from industry, and one of the biggest challenges I experienced as an admin was getting software installed, and for good reason; if a bad piece of software gets out to every workstation, you will shut down your Enterprise.

Organizations have strict policies on software, and it isn’t uncommon for installs to take months in large companies.

Some solutions, including our Lite agent, allow for a solution that can be wrapped into a login script, or even directly executed. This can provide a middle ground for devices that you may not be able to install agents on. This is common in these situations:

  • Unmanaged devices without software management tools
  • Devices that are not domain-connected
  • Environments where the lead time to get software installed will delay the project
  • VDI solutions that require image changes to install software

Other agents are needed when deploying within application streaming solutions, like Citrix Xen App and Microsoft App-V. Quadrotech also provides a wrapper for these environments.

Additionally, if your organization has Apple users, our PST to Office 365 migration tool also has an Apple agent with support for OLM files.


It is possible to take a non-agent approach for your PST migration project, but this means having to collect files manually, likely generating errors in Microsoft Outlook for every user (not to mention they lose access to their data during the migration).

It’s far more successful to deploy an agent,  such as Quadrotech’s PST Flight Deck, on a company-wide level, which will then scan the required pathways for PSTs and related metadata. Furthermore, the agent will examine the user’s Outlook environment to detect which PSTs are currently connected, giving the process far more accuracy.

Details about the PST files that have been discovered – such as the owner, size, file name, path, date created, date last modified, whether it’s attached to Outlook or not, etc. – will be exported back to PST Flight Deck’s server to help with future planning of the PST migration (we have options for both locally stored files and PSTs on network drives!). The user’s home share and local drives are also scanned by the agent, and group shares are scanned centrally via the fileserver scanner.

Ultimately, using an agent simplifies the detection process while guaranteeing optimal security, which is why we believe it’s essential for a successful migration.

If you’d like to hear from a PST to Office 365 migration specialist, please contact us and one of our team will get in touch to discuss your project and offer a quote.