Remove a duplicate Personal Folders file

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

Depending on the type of e-mail account (e-mail account: The server name, user name, password, and e-mail address used by Outlook to connect to an e-mail service. You create the e-mail account in Outlook by using information provided by your administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).) that you use and whether you have updated your version of Outlook or created your own 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.), you might see more than one folder with the display name Personal Folders in your Folder List (Folder List: Displays the folders available in your mailbox. To view subfolders, click the plus sign (+) next to the folder. If the Folder List is not visible, on the Go menu, click Folder List.). The default name of the .pst file that you see in the Folder List is Personal Folders. If you didn't specify a custom display name for your .pst file, you might see two Personal Folders. However, it's easy to customize the display name to prevent confusion.

If you no longer want the duplicate Personal Folders folder and are sure that no new items are being delivered to it, you can remove it from the Folder List. If you want to keep the data in the duplicate Personal Folders folder as a backup, you can rename the folder by using the steps in the "Change the display name for a .pst file" section.

Before removing a duplicate .pst file, it is important that you check the folder to make sure that there are no new items in it. You can have more than one .pst file, but messages can only be delivered to one .pst file. If there are new items, you might be trying to remove the wrong file.

Remove a duplicate Personal Folders file

 Note   Removing the duplicate Personal Folders folder removes the folder from the Folder List, but it doesn't delete the .pst file itself. The .pst file remains on your hard disk.

  • Right-click the Personal Folders folder that you want to remove, and then click Close "Personal Folders".

 Note   If the Close "Personal Folders" command is not available, you are trying to remove the .pst file that is currently set as the default delivery location, which can't be removed.To remove the folder from the Folder List, you must first change the delivery location.


  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, select where you want new messages delivered.

If you didn't specify a custom display name for your .pst file, you might see two entries for Personal Folders files. Select the one that is not highlighted. When you click the arrow to show the list of files, click the second Personal Folders entry in the list.

  1. Click Finish.
  2. Exit and then restart Outlook.

Change the display name for a .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".
  2. Click Advanced.
  3. In the Name box, type a name that is meaningful to you, such as Old Outlook.


  • Changing the name of the folder does not change the file name of the .pst file.
  • In the Filename box, you can also see where the .pst file is stored.
  1. Click OK twice.

Now you see a top-level folder called Old Outlook in the Folder List in the Navigation Pane.

Applies to:
Outlook 2003