When you run Microsoft Outlook for the first time, the necessary data files are created automatically. However, sometimes you'll create additional data files. For example, archived items can be saved in another Outlook Data File (.pst) (Outlook Data File (.pst): Data file that saves your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for email messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.). You might also keep different projects in their own Outlook Data File (.pst).
If you are using a Microsoft Exchange Server account, an Outlook Data File (.pst) is usually not necessary as your items are delivered to and saved on the computer that is running Exchange Server. However, Exchange accounts include functionality in Outlook to enable you to work with your messages even when a connection to the email server isn't available. This feature uses a special offline Outlook Data File (.ost) that is used to keep a synchronized copy of the Exchange account.
About Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost)
Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost) created by using Microsoft Outlook 2010 are saved on your computer in the Documents\Outlook Files folder. If you are running Windows XP, these files are created in the My Documents\Outlook Files folder.
The primary differences between the two Outlook Data File types are as follows:
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Create an Outlook Data File (.pst)
- On the Home tab, in the New group, click New Items, point to More Items, and then click Outlook Data File.
- In the Create or Open Outlook Data File dialog box, in the File name box, type the name as you want it to appear in the Outlook Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes buttons for the Mail, Calendar, and Tasks views and the folders within each view. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.), and then click OK.
- By default, data files are not password-protected. To add a password to your data file, under Password, type that password that you want to use in the Password and Verify Password text boxes.
Important Microsoft, your Internet service provider (ISP) (ISP: A business that provides access to the Internet for such things as electronic mail, chat rooms, or use of the World Wide Web. Some ISPs are multinational, offering access in many locations, while others are limited to a specific region.), or your email administrator don’t have access to your password, nor can they assist you with recovering the contents of the Outlook Data File (.pst) if you forget the password.
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