Last reviewed on May 8, 2014   —  117 comments

Applies to: Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2003

An Outlook user asks:

Without starting Outlook 2007, I moved the IMAP pst from C to D. I hoped Outlook would ask me where the file is. However it creates a new one in the same location. How do I make Outlook use the new location?

That method is used to move *.pst files used by POP3 accounts, it won't work with the IMAP protocol. (Actually, it's not recommended that you use that method for any PST - you should move the PST then point the profile to the new location before opening Outlook.)

Use ForcePSTPath registry value to relocate Outlook 2013 IMAP and EAS .ost data files.

While I don't recommend moving the IMAP *.pst unless your drive space is tight, you can move the IMAP *.pst using the following steps. You cannot reuse an IMAP data file with a different profile.

These methods work with Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010, and 2013. I recommend using ForcePSTPath with Outlook 2010 and up. Note: Outlook 2013 IMAP and EAS *.ost files honor the ForcePSTPath key, not ForceOSTPath even though the data file extension is *.ost.

Outlook 2010 users report problems sending and receiving email. In Outlook 2010 or 2013, make sure you select the sent folder in More Settings. Or use the ForcePSTPath key then add the account to your profile after creating the key. I tested the ForcePSTPath with IMAP accounts in Outlook 2010, without error.

Symbolic Links and Junction Points can be used. See How to Move Shell Folders (and contents) for more information.

Outlook 2007, 2010 and 2013 use the ForcePSTPath registry key to change the default data file path from C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook. This change will not move existing pst files in your profile. If you create new accounts in your profile (or create a new profile), .pst or IMAP/EAs .ost files will be placed in the path entered in the registry. This does not affect the location of Exchange or Outlook connector .ost files.

Using ForcePSTPath | Reusing an IMAP data file | Move the PST

Using the ForcePSTPath regedit

Use the ForcePSTPath regedit to change the default *.pst or Outlook 2013 IMAP and EAS *.ost path. This key works for for POP3, IMAP, and SharePoint data files but does not affect Exchange and Outlook Connector ost files; the Exchange and Outlook Connector ost files are always saved in default path under the user account (C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook on Windows 7 and Vista).

The ForcePSTPath key will relocate the pst files used by IMAP accounts in Outlook 2010 but not in earlier versions. If you use Outlook 2007, you'll need to move the pst file and repoint the profile to it, following the steps below.

Note: This does not change the path for existing accounts. It works only for accounts created after the key is set. Remember to create the folder you want to store the IMAP pst files in before you set the key.

In Start menu, Run (Windows key + R) or the Start Search field (Win7 and Vista only) type regedit and click OK.

Registry Editor for ForcePSTPath

Browse to the following subkey in the registry.

In Outlook 2007 (POP3, Sharepoint, and default pst files only):
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook

In Outlook 2010 go to
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook

In Outlook 2013, the path is
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook

Right click on the key and choose New then click String Value.
String Value: ForcePSTPath with your desired data path as the value data

Click OK and edit the registry editor. If Outlook is open, close it then restart. Newly created data files will default to the location. Existing data files would need to be moved.

Do It For Me

If you don't want to edit the registry directly, you can use one of these text files - you need to edit the path before changing the file extension to reg and double clicking on it to run it.

Be sure the path exists before adding the key to the registry. If it does not exist, Outlook will drop back to the default Microsoft\Outlook location under the user account (and in Outlook 2010, to My Documents\Outlook files for POP3 and additional pst files.)

Remember to use double \\ between folder names in the path in the reg file. (Use single slashes if you edit the registry directly.)

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook]
"ForcePSTPath"="C:\\folder\\folder\\folder\\folder\\folder"

Outlook 2013 Outlook 2010 Outlook 2007

Remember: you need to edit the path name, the save it using the .reg extension (or change the extension to reg after saving). Then you need to double click on the reg file to update the registry!

Reusing an IMAP data file

We receive a lot of questions from people who want to reuse the IMAP data file, either on a new computer or with a new profile. Sorry, this is not possible currently. Only the profile that created the IMAP data file can use it.

Using it in a new profile would not make the process faster as Outlook would re-sync every thing in the data file.

Note: If you download full messages, you can open and view the contents of the pst file in another Outlook profile. While this may suffice as a backup of the mailbox or an archive, if you need to clean out the IMAP account, we recommend moving messages to a local pst file to insure the full message bodies are downloaded.

Steps to Move the PST

First, close Outlook then make sure Outlook is not listed in Task Manager, Processes tab a few minutes after you close it.

  1. Open the profile (Control panel, search for Mail) and click on Data files.
  2. Select the IMAP acct and click Open Folder to open the folder containing the PST.
  3. Move the PST to the desired location. Do not rename the file Outlook creates a new file in the default location if you try to rename it - you can only move it.
  4. Switch to the Data Files window and double click on the account's data file.
  5. Now you'll get the 'can't find' error and can tell outlook where to find it.
  6. Close the dialogs and you are ready to restart outlook.

Video Tutorial: Move IMAP *.pst

More Information

For more information, see the following Microsoft KB article
How to change the default location that Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2002 uses to create or to open a personal folders (.pst) file

This method will work with SharePoint and Internet Calendars. You can’t (easily) move Outlook Connector message stores for Hotmail/MSN/Live accounts. In my experience, this method is mostly reliable but does occasionally get 'lost' and a new pst is made in the default location.

If the above methods don't work and you are serious about moving the pst, you can use symbolic links or junction points. See Symbolic Links (MSDN), Junction Points (MSDN), and How to Move Shell Folders (and contents) for more information.

See To move a Personal Folders .pst file for instructions for moving POP3 pst files and Hotmail Connector files.

Comments

  1. Brian says

    This does not work with Vista-64 or Windows 7-64.

    The move works fine and all emails can be seen, but Outlook will no longer syncronize the IMAP folders afterwards. Had to move it back and it worked again.

    • dporemsky says

      What version of Outlook? We have reports that Outlook 2010 won't send/receive after using the move method. Using the ForcePSTPath key should work though.

  2. Lee says

    Hi

    I have tried in vain all evening, both methods, to no avail.

    Can't send and receive after moving PST file and the registry edit doesn't work either.

    Using Windows 7 x64 with Outlook 2007.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Yeah, IMAP accounts in Outlook 2010 are buggy when the pst is moved.

      Did you try using the registry key - set it before creating the profile so outlook uses the new location from the start.

  3. GD says

    I tried other methods and this method looks way too complicated.

    But I have found another method (at least for MS Outlook 2010) to move the PST data file to a new folder.

    1. Move/copy data file to desired location. (yes if you move this file it will generate another PST file straight away but don’t worry about this at this time)

    2. In outlook go to FILE>ACCOUNTSETTINGS

    3. On the email tab select the email account of the PST file you have just copied/moved and delete/remove.

    4. On the same email tab now select NEW.

    5. Select the E-MAIL ACCOUNT BUTTON> NEXT.

    6. Select MANUALLY CONFIGURE SEVER SETTING OR ADDITIONAL SEVER TYPE, button > NEXT.

    7. Select INTERNET E-MAIL button> NEXT.

    8. N.B. Select EXISTING OUTLOOK DATA FILE button and then browse/locate the PST file that you moved.

    9. Fill in the usual email account setting for your account for the rest of the form.

    10. Delete old PST file in windows explorer.

    11. Done :)

    • Tom says

      The method selecting manually configuring server worked in outlook 2013. I had to select pop3 and of course it did not work, but I had outlook repair it and it works fine.

  4. GD says

    your right I didn't realise after I changed type from POP3 to IMAP that the option to select folder location was removed, should have known it would not be that easy.

    oh well!!!

  5. fd says

    hi, I m on win 7 64bits and outlook 2007. I tried the ForcePSTPath method, including another path (T:OUTLOOK) . I cut the pst and moved into this folder, but outlook keep creating a new file in c:... when opening it.... so for me no solutions :(

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Did you create the account in the profile after setting the key?

      Did the folders in the path exist before setting the key?

      It works with 32bit Outlook. I'll have to wait until I get back in my office later in the week, to test it on 64-bit windows/64-bit Outlook.

  6. Chris says

    Thanks!! I have been looking how to do this for ages and moving the pst didn't work.

    Oulook is such a pain!

    I used the ForcePSTPath for Outlook 2010 64-Bit to move 2 IMAP emails to another partition. Absolutely awesome.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      It should work. I haven't used that utility but tested junction points and symbolic links to move imap pst files years ago. If you repoint the folder, all of the contents in it need to be moved.

  7. fd says

    Hi sorry to come back so late.... i dont remember! I had too much stress so i had to quit what i was doing.

    Reading again your post i notice that its written "This does not change the path for existing accounts. It works only for accounts created after the key is set." . So if i have well understood i cant move this folder in 2010/imap.

    I need to move the one that exist and dont want to re-create it..

    • Diane Poremsky says

      That applies to the registry entry only. You need to use the instructions under Steps to move the pst. (and in the tutorial).

  8. Mr. X says

    Microsoft should be taken back to the shed and paddled on this one. Does anyone at Microsoft proof their KB articles? They just assume everyone uses POP3 accounts and skip the rest. Their instructions at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/mo... were a waste of time for this Outlook 2010 IMAP user on 64-bit Windows 7. I kept trying to find the "Deliver new messages to" settings but never found them. I just rebuilt my computer and have spent more time on trying to bring in my old IMAP PST file than on anything else.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I assume you discovered that 'deliver to' does not exist for IMAP accounts. While you can backup or move the imap pst files, they can only be used as a backup file (if you downloaded full messages) - imap accounts, like outlook connector and exchange, need to create their own data file and sync it with the online mailbox. Moving the pst would not save badnwidth as outlook will empty it and recync everything.

  9. Franz47 says

    Thanks a lot for the "Using the ForcePSTPath regedit" hint! After trying for several days in vane to make Outlook 2010 / Win7-64bit keep its data on another partition than the program and almost giving up this method worked for me. Registry edited, new account created in Outlook, everything goes to the place I want.

  10. Davis says

    Well I finally gave up on moving IMAP folders (Win7-64 bit & Outlook 2010). After I reset Outlook to first run, deleted all pst files I used the ForcePSTPath regedit option, but, after re-setup, email accounts this only moved the POP accounts. The IMAP's reset in C-drive. Next I tried moving IMAP folders as in above video. That, I thought worked... but after checking I found out while I was recieving mail, it was not sending. Only work around was to manually click on Send Receive Tab/individual account Inbox. The Send All account, while it had listed IMAP accounts in it, did not work The IMAP's were not showing up in the Send&Receive Progress window. So if I wanted to manually send each account, it would work. So went back to defaults on C-drive.

    Why does Microsoft see fit to lock user data files locations? I had C-drive failure between backups that cost me alot of work. I now try to keep all user data on D-drive and back it up daily. Now I have to set backup to locate these individual files. Oh well...

    • Diane Poremsky says

      They don't make it easy to move the imap folders because its not really necessary to back them up as its a server based account and the pst file is tied to the account that created it. If the local drive fails, you'll need to re-download all the imap mail if you recreate the account - you can't re-use an imap pst with a new imap account (you can open it independent of the imap account though). Keeping a backup of the imap pst in case the imap server fails doesn't necessarily work - unless you download full message bodies.

      The only time its useful to move imap is if the C drive is full.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      @Davis - are you sure the path you entered into forcepst key was valid? Outlook 2010 defaults POP3 and extra pst files to My DocumentsOutlook files on its own. If the path is not valid, Outlook falls back to the default paths - it will not create the folders in the path.

      I just retested the key and it does work for imap pst files too (screenshot) - if you add the key to the registry. (I changed the path to "ForcePSTPath"="C:UsersDianeDocuments" but didn't run the reg file the first time i tried it -silly me, what was I thinking. :) ) Sending works too.

      On the sending problem - go into Send and Receive settings, select the group then Edit. Is the account enabled for sending? Normally, it is enabled by default.

  11. Koblenz says

    In Outlook 2010 (32-bit) running on Win 7 Enterprise 64-bit, I ran into the same problem of being able to receive e-mails, but not able to send e-mails -- after moving the IMAP-based PST file. To resolve the problem, and as suggested in the thread above, here is what worked for me:

    1) Added the ForcePSTPath registry item as described at the beginning of this posting. For what it's worth:
    i) I added a "Expandable String Value" instead "String Value"
    ii) I only used single backslashes rather than double backslashes (e.g., c:\mail)

    2) Rebooted (probably not necessary, but did so to be sure)

    3) Added a brand new profile, being careful to select the same IMAP settings as my original profile.

    4) Upon opening Outlook, I immediately checked to confirm that the *.pst file was being created in my newly-specified location.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      As an FYI, double slashes are only used when editing the reg files. When you edit the registry directly you always use single slashes - you can copy the path from Windows Explorer address bar and paste it into the value field.

  12. Susan says

    Argh! I have spent most of the day in an attempt to move my pst files to My Documents. You'd think I was performing brain surgery blindfolded. I moved my old pst file to a new folder under: c:\Users\Susan\Documents\OUTLOOK. I removed all profiles in Outlook before I started ForcePSTpath and added a new key with the value: c:\Users\Susan\Documents\OUTLOOK. I opened Outlook was asked to create a new profile which I did. Under data files, I see Personal Folders pointed to the new file under Documents. The email account however is pointed towards anew file in the darn Users\Susan\App Data etc. default location. I cannot "remove" this new pst file in the App Data location becuase it is linked to the email account that I just set up after adding the registry key.

    I am tempted to uninstall and reinstall Outlook but I'm not sure that will help. I am so tired of this and wondering why I even cared where Windows wanted to put the darn pst file. Any recommendations? Thanks.

  13. Susan says

    Outlook 2007, windows 7 Ultimate, 64 bit. I have since moved the pst files back to App Data\Local\Microsoft\Outlook, removed the ForcePSTpath key, and removed/added my single email account back to Outlook. I can get my mail now, but cannot get Notes or Contacts. I have created a monster and have forgotten whatever it was that made me want to mess with this in the first place! Since Outlook now has several PST files, I wonder if there is any software that will clean up pst files, that is, remove duplicate emails, merge pst files, or separate them into custom groups. I appreciate your help.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I'm assuming appointments and tasks are missing to - if so, they were in a different pst file than you have now. Go to the folder where the psts are and check the filee size and date - 256kb is empty. Really old dates (from before you last had the contacts in outlook) are probably archive files or just old pst that were duplicated at some point. Go to Tools, Account settings, Data file tab and click Add. You can browse to the folder where the pst files are and open them in the profile. You can use import to get everything into the new pst or move the contents yourself - open a folder, select all, then use the Move to folder command or drag and drop. For appointments, you need to use a list view - view, current view, by category - if you are going to move them yourself. See Duplicate remover tools for addins you can use to remove duplicates. Most work on any folder.

  14. HZ says

    Hi

    I have Outlook 2007 with Windows 7 professional 64-bit. Like some of the people in this discussion list, I couldn't synchronize the IMAP folders after moving, and also creating a new profile after the ForcePSTPath did not work (it still created the pst-file in the old location, even though I indicated the full path in the string value, and the folders of this new path already existed). I tried the latter method many different times, but it wouldn't work. I noticed that the people who had the same problem with ForcePSTPath all have Outlook 2007 and Windows 7 64-bit, and those who succeeded seem to have Outlook 2010 and Windows 7 64-bit. Might this be the problem? Thanks for your recommendations.

  15. Diane Poremsky says

    I'll see if i can repro the problems in Outlook 2007, but it should work just fine - forcepstpath is supported in all versions.

    Using the wrong key will prevent it from working - for 2007, its HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice12.0Outlook

  16. HZ says

    Thanks for your reply.

    This is exactly the key that I used. I tried it six different times using all possible alternatives that I could think of; for example, once putting the new path in quotation marks and another time trying without quotation marks, etc. But the result was always the same. I also tried it on another computer that had win 7 home premium 64, instead of win 7 professional 64. Same result. Thank you for your advice.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      It's not windows - unless the path is one that is protected through permissions. A quickie test this morning failed in outlook 2007 - I'm checking with my contacts to find out why its not working with imap accounts in 2007.

  17. Beredan says

    Howdy Guys.

    I've had the joy myself of hitting my head against a brick wall due to migrating to outlook 2010 for staff this month and let me say office 2010 is hopeless. We previously in 2007 we used Group Policy to perform the path for outlook %HOMEDRIVE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook which worked well. of course you had to manually move the IMAP pst but this was not too much of a problem and it didn't cause a serious problem if it switched back. With outlook 2010 has been a nightmare with outlook profiles getting in the slightest tizzy if the pst file moves at all. Which is made even worse as outlook keeps ignoring the imap.pst file frequently and creating a new 1 in the c drive. -.- this happens to both Migrated and new profiles (which it creates in the right spot) too.
    Any words of wisdom before i tell Microsoft where to shove it.

    FYI Windows XP 32 Bit - Microsoft Office 2010 Professional Plus

  18. Neil Garside says

    Hello!

    I'm using Outlook 2010 x64 on Windows 7 x64 and having applied the 'ForcePSTPath' registry setting to force my PSTs to go to the "C:\Users\\My Outlook Files" directory. I then created a brand new Outlook profile for an IMAP account but was surprised to find two pst files were created in the "C:\Users\\My Outlook Files" directory. The two files are named:

    [1] - .pst (~70 MB in size)
    [2] Outlook Data File - .pst (265 KB in size)

    Furthermore, when I open Outlook and select the 'Folder List' in the navigation pane I see two sets of folders, one named 'Outlook Data File' and the other with my mail account name. Only the second set of folders contain e-mails; the 'Outlook Data File' e-mail folders are empty.

    In my account settings/E-mail tab I can see that new messages are delivered to PST [1] above, but on the 'Data Files' tab it is PST [2] above that is set as the default. I cannot set PST [1] as the default as the 'Set as Default' is disabled!

    Is this the usual behaviour, i.e., for 2 PST files to be created for a single IMAP account, and for 2 sets of folders to appear in Outlook, one of which is essentially empty?

    Kind regards,

    /Neil

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Yes, that is normal when you use an IMAP account. You need the outlook data file to hold calendar and contacts because they can't be stored in the imap pst file. The data file used by calendar and contacts needs to be set as default because the imap data file can't be set as default.

  19. Neil Garside says

    It looks like my use of angled brackets wasn't appreciated! The 2 PST file names are (this time with square brackets):

    [1] [mail_account_name] – [profile_name].pst (~70 MB in size)
    [2] Outlook Data File – [profile_name].pst (265 KB in size)

    Kind regards,

    /Neil

  20. rcarty says

    This worked great for me, thank you! I have a SSD drive for my OS, and a 2tb files drive and needed the space badly. I had to remove and re-ad my IMAP account after using the ForcePSTpath setting (I tried using the moved IMAP file, but had the send mail error as you mentioned). Otherwise it's all good.

    Windows7x64; Outlook 2010

  21. Mr. O says

    I configured my IMAP account as POP3 in Outlook 2010 (x86), with reference to my incoming server like imap.mydomain.com
    That way I was able to attach to the user selectable pst file (far away from the C drive).
    Everything seems to work fine, although I have only been running with this account for a couple of hours.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      If you configured it as POP3, you won't have the benefits of using IMAP... moving pst files for POP3 will work fine.

  22. Paul Wagner says

    Outlook 2010. Data currently stored in IMAP pst. If I build a new POP3 profile and drag the messages from the IMAP pst to the POP inbox, can I then close/remove the IMAP file. In other words, is the data in the POP NOT simply referencing the IMAP in cloaked disguise.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Yes, you can drag from the imap folder to the POP3's pst file and the messages will be removed from the IMAP server and only stored locally.

  23. George says

    hi

    thanks for this solution

    I work on outlook 2010.

    I succeeded on pointing to a different drive and I can read new email messages

    the only problem now is that I cannot send emails

    it returns the following error message:

    Sending reported error (0x8004010F): 'Outlook data file cannot be accessed'

    could you please help me on this?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Others report that error, but I couldn't repro it. Since its not sending, first check your Sent folder settings. File, Account Settings, double click on the account, More Settings. What sent folder are you using?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Set it to either local or don't save then test it again. If it works, you can change it back to the imap folders, but note that Gmail recommends choosing the option to not save sent items in outlook as it saves a copy on send and you wnd up with 2 copies.

  24. George says

    ForcePSTPath
    should I try removing the account, delete any pst files and then built it again from scratch?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I wouldn't delete the profile just yet, but i would either try a new profile or remove the account from the profile and add it back.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Correct, you can use Symbolic links to move any of the data files, in any version of Outlook. The ForcePSTPath registry key method is recommended however.

  25. Michael Madsen says

    Thank you SO much!
    I've been trying out all kinds of things, searching the internet for solutions for how to move IMAP pst file in Outlook 2007.
    Your 6 "Steps to Move the PST" did the trick!

  26. Prashanth says

    Registry edit worked for me. Running Windows 7 64bit and Office 64bit. I deleted my previous acc and all pst files before editing the registry and then remade the same acc. Since its IMAP, its redownloading all my email from server to my pc into the new location which i have set. My email is 15gb big so probably gonna take the whole night but i don't mind. Thanks for the user friendly guide.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Which method did you try? Both the move method and the reg key work, but if you use the reg key, you need to set it before you add the account to your profile.

  27. Vince says

    I'm confused after reading here. Does the 6 step move method only create problems on Outlook 2010, or possibly on older versions too?
    Thanks

  28. Vince says

    One other question. For me, the only reason to move the IMAP pst is to make it easier to backup. But is there really any reason to back it up, since it is stored on the server and on my other devices? Thanks

    • Diane Poremsky says

      No, there really isn't a reason to back it up, unless you don't trust your host to have backups. Not only is it a copy of what is on the server, outlook also won't reuse it if you recreate the account (so you can't avoid redownloading thousands of messages).

      If you use it as a backup, make sure you download full messages. You would need to open the pst as a pst, not as the data file for an account, and headers only won't be much use. Also note that this won't work in Outlook 2013 2010 - imap accounts use ost files (and store calendar, contacts, task etc in the ost file).

      If you need a backup, exporting to a new pst would be better, especially with outlook 2013. Exporting will download full bodies and in Outlook 2013, include calendar and contacts.

  29. Vince says

    OK thanks for the info.
    You said that Outlook 2010 imap accounts use ost files - I've read that before, but my Outlook 2010 created a pst file when I set up my Gmail imap account. Do you have any thoughts why that would be?
    Thanks

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Did I say that? 50 lashes with a wet noodle for me - I meant Outlook 2013. Outlook 2010 still uses pst files. Sorry about that.

  30. Neal Murphy says

    Diane,

    I've set up a linux-based samba v3 domain for a church office, with file server; 1000 lines of shell script builds the whole domain, including users, groups, folder structure, and access controls. Using various tricks I dug out of Google, I have each user's entire profile stored on the server, in the 'home' dir mounted at H:. The idea is to store their 'local' data on the server and ensure that they get their desktop and email regardless of where they log in.

    In testing, all was great. Then the business manager tested transferring her docs & settings to the domain. And quickly found that Outlook 2010 does not deal with the profile being on the server, with respect to IMAP; it *always* creates the IMAP PST on the local computer. And won't use it on the next login. POP3 works great. We despaired because I'd found no workable solution; they're going to stay with local logins until I find a solution.

    I've just discovered ForcePSTPath, and this site. I want to try it; I'll gladly be a guinea pig as usual. But it leads to a question: will ForcePSTPath work if the new location is not local (resides on a server? That is, would you expect "H:\some_path" to work? Might you even expect "\\samba_server\homes\user\some_path" to work? Oh, and another Q: will this work just for the current user? Or can it be made to work for all users who log into the domain from that computer?

    Thanks!

    • Diane Poremsky says

      The key needs added to local machine branch (applies to all accounts on the computer), on all machines each user uses.

      I don't know if it will work with the network location (mapped drive letter might work better than network path) but there are several reasons why I wouldn't keep an IMAP pst on the server or roam it:
      1) Transferring large pst over the network can bog down the network. (Only a problem if you are using roaming profiles)
      2) The constant read/writes can bog down a network.
      3) If you shut down the computer before the pst is transferred, it will be corrupt. Corruption can also occur if the network is slow and outlook loses connection to the pst.

      Besides that, it kinda defeats the purpose of an IMAP account. All of the mail is on the server, accessible from anywhere.

      Storing the local pst that holds calendar and contacts on the server is a different matter (unless you use byrani's addin). It is at risk of corruption but it's where their calendar and contacts are so they want to roam it. Because these pst files are generally small, they should roam just fine. I would make frequent backups of it though.

  31. Jack says

    I tried most all the ways to move a pst posted here and other places like Microsoft and found the only one that worked was the one suggested on Oct 3, 2011. Thanks for posting it. I was surprised that the MS one indicated going to Control Panel and use the Mail routine. There is no Mail in Control Panel. Thanks for all your help.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Mail is in the Control panel but you need to use a list view (not Category view) or use Search - type mail in the search field when in control panel and you'll find it.

  32. Sean Ackley, CA says

    What a great article. Thanks so much. The key for me was to get into the Mail control panel window, as specified and move underneath. This causes the control panel to force a find on the new path. Very excellent subtle tip!

  33. Nick Iaconetti says

    I have repeatedly tried to follow the steps in the initial article with no success. I copied the IMAP file and then deleted the source file. I then executed the command below from an elevated prompt.

    mklink "C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\ABC Business Account-1.pst" "C:\Users\%username%\Documents\Mail Files\ABC Business Account-1.pst"

    The message below followed execution of the command.
    The syntax of the command is incorrect.

    I am running Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit.

    Any suggestions as to why this is not completing successfully would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I believe this is wrong - "C:\Users\%username% - use %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook\ABC Business Account-1.pst and %USERPROFILE%\My Documents\mail files\ABC Business Account-1.pst. I'm not sure the correct way to wrap the path in quotes- it's needed for the pst name but may not work if %localappdata% is inside quotes.

      is there a reason you are using symlinks instead of Using ForcePSTPath?

  34. flaneige says

    Hi,
    I uninstalled Office 2003, then I subscribed to Office 365
    Everything went ok (email accounts, PST file, rules), except junk email handling.
    - block sender does not add the sender to the liste (although the message is moved to the junk folder)
    - senders in the list are not blocked
    I use only POP accounts.
    The PST file isn't in the defaut location, could that be the issue ?
    I have tried the ForcePSTPath modification, to no avail.
    Thanks for your help

    • Diane Poremsky says

      The default location for pst files in Outlook 2010 and up is in the My Document \ Outlook Files folder, but it can use a pst anywhere on a local drive. That is unlikely to be the root of your problem.

      How large is your blocked and safe senders lists?

  35. flaneige says

    Thanks
    One list has about 50 entries, the other about 250
    Even with empty lists, the "Add sender to ..;" does not add the sender to the list

    I have deleted the profile and created a new one. The PST file is now in the default location.
    The problem is still there

  36. flaneige says

    I have been through the same process (upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 365) on my second PC. One is running Windows 7, the other is running Windows 8.
    The problem is on both computers.
    I suspect some keys remain wrong after the upgrade.
    What do you suggest ?
    Thanks again for your help.

  37. flaneige says

    Yes, it is (but the thread is long)
    The problem comes from delivering several POP email accounts into the same PST file.
    There is no a single block/safe list but there are as many as email accounts.
    Add sender to list update the list for the default account only.
    See also http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/2447034

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Right, each account has their own blocked and safe lists. I don't know of any way to have it add to the correct list when you use one pst for delivery.

  38. Tony Cannon says

    Diane, thanks for the easy video. I successfully moved my .pst file in Outlook 2010 under Win 7 Pro. However, when I opened Outlook and told it where the file had gone to, though it opened everything OK, the Send/receive button had gone from the Home ribbon, and emails wouldn't send using the Send /Receive tab. So I had to move it back! WHat am I doing wrong?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Several people have reported that problem. Oh, did you select the IMAP inbox as the delivery folder in Account Setting > select account > Change folder button? If i recall, when i checked this out, it worked when i did that. Otherwise, in my tests, using the ForcePSTPath path key worked.

  39. Tony Cannon says

    Diane, thanks for your time. I went through the video again and used ForcePSTPath, but still the Send/receive button disappeared. in Account Setting > select account > Change folder button it asks me for a new email delivery location. No sign of the word IMAP. Am I being dim?

  40. Nathalie Arrigone says

    Hi. In anticipation of this issue happening I tried to move my IMAP.pst's contents to a regular pst file. unfortunately this errored out losing MUCH data I the process...not in either pst file nor on the internet server (google apps/gmail). fortunately i have one of the IMAP.pst files on another machine that is near enough up to date. What is the recommended method of cleaning out THOUSANDS of files and HUNDREDS of folders to another pst file...or maybe I could just use that IMAP.pst file elsewhere 'as-is' ???

    any pointers appreciated

    • Diane Poremsky says

      IMAP pst files (Outlook 2010 and earlier) can but used in outlook profiles, as a normal pst file, provided you were downloading full messages. Just open it in Outlook using File > Open > Outlook Data File. Don't try to use it as the data file for your IMAP account, as it will try to sync it and will erase everything.

  41. Karen says

    Hi Diane,
    Specs: Windows 8 (64) & Office 2010 (32)
    From: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
    To: E:\My Programs\My Data\1 Outlook 2010\1 email accounts
    .pst - standard IMAP email accounts from a work server & for iCloud .me accounts
    .ost - Outlook connector for hotmail & live accounts

    I used ForcePSTPath (works correctly) & junction.exe to link the the folders:
    mklink /J "above" "above"

    Overkill? Because junction moves the entire folder, I shouldn't need the registry edit?

    2: What do I do with: C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\.aplzod

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Yes, it's probably overkill to use both, but it doesn't do any harm either. Junction repoints the path for current data files, the reg key only moves the data files if you create new accounts.

      Is there a reason you need to move the apple file? It doesn't need backed up (everything is on the iCloud server) and because it only holds the calendar, appt, and tasks, it shouldn't get too large, maybe a few megs or so (unlike the other data files which can grow into the GB). If you need to move it, you'll have to use junction points.

  42. Karen says

    Sorry, my screen wouldn't show the "post comment" with too much information in there.

    If there is any other info you need, please let me know.
    I do use separate profiles for each of the email types (business & personal).

    Thank you in advance,

    Karen

  43. Mor says

    Thank you very much.

    One thing i can't understend.
    If i have a 10GB (backup) PST file of an IMAP accunt, there is no way i can direct Outlook (2013 in my case) to take this? When i reinstall outlook it will sync completly from the server?
    Is there any way i can save the time and data?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Outlook will not reuse an imap data file created by another account/profile. There are ways to trick outlook to use it, but its pointless as outlook deletes everything in it.

      Outlook 2013 uses an ost file type for IMAP accounts now, so if its a pst file type created in an older version of Outlook, outlook 2013 won't let you use it. However, if you need to recover mail from it, you can open pst files in the profile - for this to be useful, you need to download full messages as outlook won't go looking for the bodies.

  44. Andrew says

    Diane, thanks for your excellent comments on this subject. I think they don't help me with my problem, unfortunately. I was running Outlook 2007 on an old computer. I use an IMAP account. I bought a new Win 8.1 computer, and have just installed Outlook 2010 Pro Plus on it. Outlook set up its own data file when it was opening itself up, which I didn't want to use. Using File/Open, I opened my old pst file copied across from my old computer, and then shut down the data file that Outlook 2010 created. Now I have in my Folder pane the data file that I brought across from the old computer, with all its subfolders in it, but it has no email account associated with it (under Account Settings, my data file is shown under the Data files tab, but under the Email tab there is nothing). How do I set up an email account associated with that data file? I tried to set up a new email account by going to File/Add account, but it made its own data file which was not associated with the data file I have been using for 3 yrs, and which I want to go on using. I'd really appreciate your help, thanks. In summary, I want to set up an email account which is linked to the data file already showing in my Folder pane. Andrew

    • Diane Poremsky says

      unfortunately, you can't reuse the imap pst files. Outlook will delete all the mail in it and resync it. Let outlook make a new pst and remove the old pst from the profile.

  45. Andrew says

    Thanks, Diane. This is a big disappointment. I'm now moving to Gmail and leaving Outlook behind. I guess you don't know of a method to move all old email within Outlook into the Gmail account? All the methods I've read about on the web don't work. That may be because my Outlook has been running an IMAP account through SecureNym. Any suggestions, please? I easily moved my Outlook Contacts and Calendar to Gmail. With thanks, Andrew.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Add the gmail account to outlook as an imap account. Drag the mail from the folders in the other email account to the gmail folders. Do it fairly slowly (couple hundred or so at once) and wait them for them sync before moving more.

  46. Andrew says

    Thanks, Diane, for taking the time to help me. I did set up Gmail as an IMAP account in Outlook, and it is sitting there in my Folder pane. When I try to drag folders from my main Outlook work file into it, I get an error message saying "Your IMAP Server wants to alert you to the following: http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?answer=185 833 (Failure). When I then hit the OK button on that window, it brings up another window called "Internet E-mail - ...@gmail.com". In that window are the following lines: Enter your user name and password for the following server. Server: imap.gmail.com User: ...@gmail.com Password: this is filled in already, but if refill it with my Gmail pw, check Remember Password and hit OK, it goes back to the window "Your IMAP server wants..." I was very careful in setting up my Gmail account as an IMAP account in Outlook. Would appreciate your thoughts, thanks. Andrew

  47. Frex says

    Excellent! MSsupport doesn't specify that ForceOSTPath doesn't work for OST files, =/ Instead ForcePSTPath does the work. Thank you for this valuable key. =)

  48. Steve says

    Okay, I moved the *.pst files to my drive D (not for a backup reason but just simple space management, one of my Gmail associated pst file is 12 GB!) After the relocation, the receiving of emails is fine but sending is not working at all. I couldn't understand why it is so complicated, what is the reason that Outlook 2010 requires that the pst files MUST be located on the system partition?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      The location doesn't matter for sending, but make sure the correct folder is selected in Account Settings -select the account. If using POP3, click Change folder and reselect the correct pst. If you are using IMAP, click More Settings and select the desired folder for sent items and deleted.

  49. Steve says

    Still not working. When I set up the email account and relocate the PST file to drive D, and click to test account settings, the sending is successful. When I try to write an email and clicking the send button, it says that send/receive error, 0x8004010F, Outlook data file cannot found... but I previously set in the Control panel/Mail where the new location of the PST file is... I am (trying to) using Outlook 2010. I am able to receive my mails, but cannot send any. What do you mean under correct folder? I can choose a subfolder in the IMAP folder tree, but that's all...

  50. A MacR says

    Hi, I just solved this problem for myself in Outlook 2013.
    File - Account Settings - E-mail tab
    At the bottom of the window there is a button "Change Folder" to specify where new messages are delivered. The location was blank after I moved my PST file. I selected the inbox (I actually had to add a 'wrong' location to get it to populate, and then switch it back to the inbox) and my mail would send.

    hope this helps.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      In outlook 2007, either method should work, but I recommend using forcepstpath registry key then removing and recreating your account in outlook so it uses the path set in the key.

  51. Isaac Gonzalez says

    doesn't seem to work in outlook 2007 even after removing and recreating account...I'm not hosing my profile, just deleting and recreating my imap account...other new pst files do get created in the new folder btw, so I know my regkey is correct. OUtlook still is putting imap pst file on c drive default path...

  52. José Oliveira says

    Hi. Thanks for sharing your work.
    My interest was to use the same imap file in two computers (desktop and laptop). You said that one cannot reuse the same imap file, since it's specific to the profile thast created it. But...
    1. What if the profile has the same name and user in both computers?
    2. If ForcePSTPath doesn't work for that purpose, does using a symbolic link on both computers for the same folder do the trick?
    Thanks!

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Outlook uses more than just the profile name to identify the computer that created the data file, the computer name and a unique GUID are also used. A symbolic link won't work either. Sorry.

  53. dynastydiva says

    On re-reading I noticed that for my IMAP I need to follow the ForcePSTPath procedure even though I'm trying to move/ access the .ost file. So ignore my query about the lack of Outlook Data Fiile Settings item, sorry. You have also pointed out that the IMAP data file created under a different profile cannot be reused. So is it correct to conclude that moving my pre-crash .ost file and getting Outlook 2013 to look at the designated location via the regedit process will not enable me to access this original .ost file?

  54. Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

    Correct, you can certainly try copying the pre-crash ost file, but outlook is unlikely to use it. Since you have a copy of the ost, you might be able to recover the missing folders using a recovery program. Try the products at http://www.slipstick.com/problems/pst-repair/convert-an-exchange-offline-file-ost-to-a-personal-file-pst/#tools - they have trials so you can see if they work. Someone told me the Stellar product worked on the imap ost files but I haven't had a chance to test it yet to verify.

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