I’ve had to deal with outlook “PST” files lately and thought I’d post some general info about them. For those of you who use Microsoft Outlook you might want to know where your data is actually saved. Outlook saves all of your data in a file called “Outlook.pst”.
The “pst” extension stands for “Personal STore” and this is a fairly complex database that contains all of your: Mail, contacts, calendar information, notes, and anything you save within outlook.
Should you ever need to transfer you Outlook contents to another computer you just need to copy this file to a disk/CD/DVD. This file is generally found in
C: \Documents and Settings\UserName\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
But things get a little weird sometimes so to be 100% sure where your “PST” is stored, while in the “tree” view you can “right click” on “Personal Folders” and select “Properties”:
You then get another window that looks something like:
Click the “Advanced” button and you will then see:
Now just copy this file to CD/DVD and move it to a new machine. Now, some other info to know is that in Outlook versions prior to version 2003. The “PST” file has a size limitation of 2 gig. You may think that is alot but, if you use your E-mail and calendar religiously that limit can be reached fairly quickly. I recommend that you don’t let your file get much larger than 1.5 gig as you will start having troubles.
In Outlook versions 2003 and 2007, Microsoft has changed that limit. Now they report being able to reach usable sizes of up to 20 gig. And they have changed the way that the file is saved. Earlier that 2003 the “PST” was saved in American National Standards Institute (ANSI) format. But, it 2003 and 2007 the default is the Unicode format.
***NOTE: Upgrading to Outlook 2003 from an earlier version does not change the file type to the new Unicode format. So, even though you upgrade the program you will still have your 2 gig limit. You cannot really upgrade your “PST”. What you have to do is this:
From the File menu select “New” then “Outlook Data File”.
In the window that comes up be sure and select “Office Outlook Personal Folders File” NOT the one that says “Outlook 97-2002”.
Once you have that created You can start dragging you mail, contacts, calendar and other info into the new file.
Now all that’s left is to tell Outlook where to save your new mail when it arrives. For this, select the “Tools” menu, then “E-mail Accounts” – Select “View or change existing e-mail accounts”
Click once on your mail account then select the new data file from the drop down at the bottom of the window, click “Finish”. now all of your mail will be saved in the new “PST”.
I hope this helps.. Like I said, here of late I’ve been dealing with several corrupted “PST”s mostly because they had reached their file size limit. If your e-mail is critical to you, I would suggest making a back-up copy of that PST file from time to time. Just save it to a CD/DVD or copy it to another drive for safe keeping.
© 2007 – 2009, Robert Owen. All rights reserved.