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Understanding Data Files in Microsoft Outlook

This article pertains to Microsoft Outlook and not Outlook Express.

It has been a long time since I've been in an Exchange Server environment, so I don't address much about that. If you're at work, you're likely in an Exchange Server environment and should check with your IT department about any issues.

Some Facts

Find Your Personal Folder File

Right-click the Personal Folder in Outlook and choose Properties. Then click the Advanced button.

You may need to click inside the Filename box and hit the End key to see the entire path and name.

Tip: If you want to quickly go to that folder, you can place your cursor just in front of the PST filename and hit Shift+Home, and Ctrl+C to copy. Close Outlook, then hit StartŕRun and hit Ctrl+V to paste the location, and hit Enter. You should see your Outlook data file(s) in that folder and you can now move or copy them.

Backup Outlook Data Files

You can simply copy them to a new location or follow these Microsoft support articles.

Move a Personal Folder File

With Outlook closed, simply find and move the file to a new location. When you open Outlook again, you'll receive an error message.

Just click OK and browse to the PST's new location.

If you do not choose an existing file, Outlook will create a new one for you. If you do choose an existing file, Outlook will open it.

Combining Personal Folder Files

I wasn't sure what to subhead this topic, but I often find that people who move their PST files are aware of the facts in the list above, and find themselves using a new PST file while they search for their old one. Now, they want to keep both. Simple enough.

From the File menu, choose Import and Export. Then choose Import from another program or file.

Note: While attempting to take the next screenshot, Outlook locked up on me. Guess I'll have to write an article on Troubleshooting Outlook now. I ran Detect and Repair from the help menu. This dialog box took nearly two minutes to open on my machine but, once open, it would immediately open again. Perhaps it only takes a while the first time you use it to build the list of file types to import.

Choose Personal Folder File, hit Next and browse to your file.


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