Move your Outlook data file to another location

Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003
Microsoft Outlook® 2000 and 2002

If you use a Microsoft Exchange Server e-mail account, typically your e-mail messages, calendar, contacts, and other items are delivered to and stored in your mailbox on the server. When you install Outlook on a new computer and select an Exchange Server e-mail account in the E-mail Account Wizard, all your items on the server are again available to you. The remaining information in this article does not apply to you, unless you created archive or local data files or specified that your Exchange messages be delivered to a local data file.

If you use a POP3 (POP3: A common protocol that is used to retrieve e-mail messages from an Internet e-mail server.) e-mail account, which is one of the more common types of personal e-mail accounts, your e-mail messages are downloaded from your POP3 e-mail server at 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.) to your computer and delivered to and stored locally in a Personal Folders file (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that stores your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for e-mail messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.) named Outlook.pst (the default data file name). Outlook.pst is stored in the <drive>:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder.

 Note   The default location is a hidden folder. To use Windows Explorer to navigate to this folder, you must first turn on the display of hidden folders. In Windows Explorer, on the Tools menu, click Folder Options. On the View tab, under Advanced Settings, under Files and Folders, under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders. If you want to see all file name extensions, clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box under Files and Folders. Hidden folders appear dimmed to indicate they are not typical folders.

You can move any Outlook .pst file to any location on your computer. For example, some people like to keep their Outlook data files on drive D or under My Documents, so that creating backup files is easier.

Before you start

Before you start, you might want to consider changing the display name of your .pst file from Personal Folders to something more meaningful to you. Changing the name helps you to distinguish different Outlook data files when you work with more than one .pst file.

  1. In the Navigation Pane (Navigation Pane: The column on the left side of the Outlook window that includes panes such as Shortcuts or Mail and the shortcuts or folders within each pane. Click a folder to show the items in the folder.), right-click Personal Folders, and then click Properties for Personal Folders.

 Note   This folder will always be a top-level folder in the Navigation Pane, in Mail.

  1. Click Advanced.
  2. In the Name text box, type a name that is meaningful to you, such as Pat's Mail.
  3. Click OK twice.

Move the .pst file to another location

You are now ready to begin moving Outlook data files.

  1. In Outlook, make a note of the file location and name.

ShowHow?

  1. In the Navigation Pane, right-click Personal Folders or the name that appears for your .pst file, and then click Properties for folder name.

 Note   This folder will always be a top-level folder in the Navigation Pane, in Mail.

  1. Click Advanced.
  2. In the Filename text box, make a note of the complete path and file name of the .pst file.
  1. Close Outlook.
  2. Move the file.

ShowHow?

  • Use Windows Explorer to copy each .pst file from its default location of the <drive>:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder to any folder on your computer that you want.

 Note   The default location is a hidden folder. To use Windows Explorer to navigate to this folder, you must first turn on the display of hidden folders. In Windows Explorer, on the Tools menu, click Folder Options. On the View tab, under Advanced Settings, under Files and Folders, under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders. If you want to see all file name extensions, clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box under Files and Folders. Hidden folders appear dimmed to indicate they are not typical folders.

  1. In Control Panel, open Mail.

ShowHow?

  • Do one of the following:

ShowMicrosoft Windows® XP or Microsoft Windows Server™ 2003

  • In Control Panel, click User Accounts, and then click Mail.

 Note   If you are using Classic view in Control Panel, double-click Mail.

ShowMicrosoft Windows 2000

  • In Control Panel, double-click Mail.
  1. Click Show Profiles, and then select the profile that contains the .pst file.
  2. Click Properties, and then click Data Files.
  3. Select the data file from the list, and then click Settings.
  4. When an error dialog box appears notifying you that the data file could not be found at the old location, click OK.
  5. Browse to the new folder location, select the data file, and then click Open.
  6. Click OK, and then click Close twice.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Restart Outlook.

Work with multiple data files in one profile

If you have multiple .pst files in your Outlook profile, make sure that your default delivery location is still correct after you complete the preceding steps. The default delivery location is the data file where new messages will appear in the Inbox.

  1. On the Tools menu, click E-mail Accounts.
  2. Click View or change existing e-mail accounts, and then click Next.
  3. In the Deliver new e-mail to the following location list, make sure that the correct data file is selected.
  4. If you need to change the selection, make sure to click Finish, and then quit and restart Outlook for the changes to take effect.
 
 
Applies to:
Outlook 2003