Its funny how all those quick email checks over the years and thinking 'I'll save those pictures into my pictures later' adds up into a massive job.
this plugin for outlook "Outlook Attachment Remover Add-in"
is magic and did the job perfectly so I'd highly recommend it to anyone faced with the same dilemma (or even as a way of keeping the pst file size down as its actually intended for.) It grinded away for a about 10 minutes and now I have several thousand files in one nice folder on my hard disk. AWESOME!
What is really cool is it replaces your attachment with a shortcut in the pst to where the file is saved on the computer so you can keep the pst file size down.
Personally I've always thought pst files were devil spawn (I used to be a IT system admin and they were a scourge... we had 50MB mailbox allowances back then and people would build up GB size PST files and store them on our shared network drives). Now we have the 'cloud' and what once were unthinkable size free online storage...