Last reviewed on October 2, 2014   —  3 Comments

Microsoft Outlook 2010: Although mostly identical to Outlook 2007’s files, a few things have changed, including the default location for a POP3 pst file is in the My Documents folder and the nickname cache (NK2) is not used by Outlook 2010. See Microsoft Outlook 2010 Backup and Dual Boot File Locations for specifics.

We often get questions like “Where is my Outlook data stored?” “Where are my contact?” “How do I backup my calendar?”

Everything, your mail, calendar, and contacts in your Outlook folders are either in a mailbox on an Exchange Server (if you use an Exchange server account) or in Personal Folders .pst files on your computer.

Backup and dual-booting between Windows versions all involve using the same files. There is no backup process built into Outlook. To back up, simply exit Outlook, then copy the files you want to back up. Below we provide a chart of Outlook 2007 file locations, followed by notes on particular files.

Microsoft offers a Personal Folders a backup tool which you can use, but since it can cause Outlook to not close properly or quickly and only supports copying the PST, we recommend copying the files yourself or using a batch file or script to make copies before opening Outlook.

These files are also the ones that you’d want to copy back and forth between machines if you need to use the same information at the office and at home, for example. If you have Outlook profiles, name them the same on both machines, so you can use the same files easily. Then use Tools | Account Settings to use the files that you copied.

See Moving Outlook to a New Computer for the steps needed to move Outlook files to a new computer.

See How to move the IMAP personal folder (*.pst) for the proper way to move IMAP and Internet Subscription folders.

If you dual-boot, your profile can point to the same .pst and .ost files, but you would need to copy other files to the correct location on the second operating system.

Video Tutorial: How to create a new profile

Windows XP File Locations | Vista & Win7 File Locations | Personal Folders Files
Offline Folders File | Personal Address Book | Other Files | Accounts
Tools | Notes | More Information

Windows XP File Locations

Where do you find these files? You can always start by using your operating system’s Search or Find command to locate the particular file types. You may need to use Tools | Folder Options | View in Windows Explorer and select Show hidden files and folders.

When using Windows 2000/XP, Outlook stores *ost, *.oab, and extend.dat in C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook. Extend.dat and MSN Connector message stores cannot be moved. See How to move the IMAP personal folder (*.pst) for the proper way to move IMAP and Internet Subscription folders.

All other Outlook configuration files are stored in C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook and cannot be moved.

Tip: Copy and paste these lines in Windows Explorer address bar to open the folder:

To access the folder holding the toolbar, VBA, rules, and nickname files, copy and paste:

%USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

To see the message store files, copy and paste:

%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Note: Storing Personal Folders on an network file share is not recommended and may cause corruption and data loss.

Type of File Name or Extension Outlook Profile Specific Folder Location under the User Account path (C:\Documents and Settings\<username>\)
Personal Folders .pst files   Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook (default, but .pst files can be anywhere on system)
Offline and Cache folders used by Exchange server, MSN’s Outlook connector. .ost files   Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook(default, can be moved to anywhere on the system)
Nicknames for AutoComplete .nk2 files   \Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Customized print settings OutlPrnt   \Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Customized toolbar settings Outcmd.dat   \Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Macros and VBA programs VbaProject.otm   \Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Navigation bar customizations .xml files X \Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Send/Receive group settings .srs files X \Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Signatures .rtf, .htm, and .txt files X \Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures
Stationery .htm files   \Application Data\Microsoft\Stationery
Templates .oft files   \Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
Dictionary .dic files   \Application Data\Microsoft\Proof
Installed Add-ins extend.dat   Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
Do not backup or copy this file, Outlook will create a new copy.
Safe and Blocked senders lists Stored in mailbox as a hidden message   Can be exported from Tools, Options, Junk E-mail. Export each list separately.

Vista and Windows 7 File Locations

Where do you find these files? You can always start by using your operating system’s Search or Find command to locate the particular file types. On Vista you may need to browse to Windows Explorer’s Organize | Folder and Search Options | View tab and select Show hidden files and folders.

Vista replaces Documents and Settings folder path with a Users path. As a result, in Vista you’ll find Outlook stores the PST and OST, in C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook.

Live Connector message stores can not be moved but POP3 and Exchange offline or cache storage can be moved to other locations. See How to move the IMAP personal folder (*.pst) for the proper way to move IMAP and Internet Subscription folders.

All other Outlook configuration files are stored in C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook and cannot be moved.

Tip: Copy the following lines and paste into Vista’s Start menu “Start Search” field to open these folders:

To access the folder holding the toolbar, VBA, send & receive settings, and nickname files, copy and paste:


To see the message store files, copy and paste:


Note: Storing Personal Folders on an network file share is not recommended and may cause corruption and data loss.

Type of File Filename or Extension Outlook Profile Specific Folder path under
Personal Folders (including SharePoint Lists) .pst   Local\Microsoft\Outlook
Offline and Cached mode folders used by Exchange server and the Outlook connector. .ost   Local\Microsoft\Outlook
RSS feeds in Outlook 2007 X Local\Microsoft\Outlook
Installed Add-ins extend.dat   \Local\Microsoft\Outlook
This file does not need to be backed up, Outlook will create a new copy.
Nicknames for AutoComplete .nk2 X Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
Customized print settings OutlPrnt   Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
Customized toolbar settings Outcmd.dat   Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
Navigation bar customizations .xml files X Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
Send/Receive group settings (Outlook 2002 and later) .srs files X Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
Macros and VBA programs VbaProject.otm   Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
Signatures .rtf, .htm, and .txt files X \Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures
Stationery .htm files   \Roaming\Microsoft\Stationery
Templates .oft files   \Roaming\Microsoft\Templates
Dictionary .dic files   \Roaming\Microsoft\Proof
Outlook 2007 Safe and Blocked senders lists Stored in message store as a hidden message   Can export each list to a text file as backup. Tools, Options, Junk Email options. Export each list separately.

Personal Folders Files

If you are not connecting to Microsoft Exchange Server, all your Microsoft Outlook data is stored in one or more Personal Folders (.pst) files.

Check the properties for Personal Folders in Tools | Account Settings to determine the exact location on your system.

Some people like to export a folder, such as Contacts, to a separate backup .pst file. That’s fine for the data, but it does not back up any folder customizations such as views and custom forms. If you want to back up those, too, copy the entire folder to a new .pst file instead of using the export feature.

Also see:

Offline Folders File

If you use Microsoft Exchange Server, you may have an offline or cache mode folders (.ost) file. You shouldn’t need to back it up, since you can always refresh it by synchronizing with the server. However, be sure you understand the procedure for Convert an Exchange Offline file (OST) to a Personal Folders file (PST) . If something ever goes wrong with your Exchange Server mailbox, this technique can save time and information, but you must apply it before you try to connect to the server again.

Personal Address Book

Most Outlook users no longer have a PAB because the Personal Address Book (.pab file) is deprecated. If you still have a PAB, the contents need to be imported into your Contacts folder. The *.pab will not open in an Outlook 2007 profile.

To Import the *.pab, go to File | Import and Export. Choose Import from another program or file, then scroll down and choose Personal Address Book.

Other Files

Outlprnt file contains your custom print settings.

Some other miscellaneous files, not necessarily worth backing up:

  • Extend.dat — Information about installed add-ins. Will be recreated if you delete it.
  • Outitems.log — Outlook items to be placed automatically in the Journal
  • Offitems.log — Office items to be placed automatically in the Journal
  • Frmcache.dat — Outlook forms cache file. See How the Microsoft Outlook forms cache works.


Account information is held in the user’s Windows registry, not in a file, at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles

While you could export this key, its not generally recommended because it contains absolute paths to files (in your user account folders) and information about installed add-ins. If the path is not exact when you restore it the profile will be corrupt.


ABF Outlook Backup

Backup and restore Outlook data files, interface options, and settings. Backup and restore operations can be run from the command line, with your favorite Windows scheduling program for unattended operation. Supports Outlook 2010, 2007, 2003, 2002, and 2000.

BackRex Outlook Backup

BackRex Outlook Backup is a backup and restore tool for Microsoft Outlook. It allows you to backup address book, mail and other folders, mail accounts, message rules, signatures, stationery, and all personal settings. Backup jobs can be scheduled to run on a regular basis. Supports Outlook 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010.

Backup Outlook Data Files using a Batch (.bat)

How to use a Windows batch file to backup your Outlook data files.


With BackupMyFolder! For Outlook, you will be enable to configure in one click the folders you want to backup, configure when to do the job and get a full history of previous backup runs. BackupMyFolder! for Outlook 200x and 2007 is FREE


Save all your Outlook settings including Emails, Contacts, Tasks, your Calendar, Notes, Journal entries, Email accounts, Outlook rules, Signatures and many more

Folder Backup for Outlook

Use Folder Backup to preserve Microsoft Outlook data, with 1-Click Backup from Microsoft Outlook toolbar and manual backup when needed. Instant backup and recovery of a selected Outlook folder in just a few clicks. Restore only those items that have been removed or updated. Compatible with Windows 8, Microsoft Office 2013 and Office 365. Free and Pro versions available.

MessageExport for Outlook

MessageExport for Outlook is an add-in that helps you get your email out of Outlook in particular way. MessageExport lets you save selected or new email messages to different formats, including PDF, EML, MSG, GIF, TIF, HTML, MHT, CSV, txt, and others. MessageExport can convert, name and save Outlook email in a single operation. Includes a timer function, so MessageExport can run every xx minutes to process new emails in a specific Outlook folder and save it in text format on a network folder.

OutBack Plus

Backup your Outlook Personal Folders (.pst files) in a compressed, zip compatible, archive for a smaller and more easily managed file. All of your critical Outlook control files are included in the backup - Signatures, Stationery, Wizard Rules, etc are preserved for easy recovery. OutBack Plus allows you to restore the backup data to the same or another machine. Automatic reminder to backup after a set number of days - according to your needs. Works with all versions of Outlook, including Outlook 2010 32- and 64-bit.

Outlook 2003/2002 Add-in: Personal Folders Backup

The Personal Folders Backup download creates backup copies of your .PST files at regular intervals, in Outlook 2002 and later versions, making it easy to keep all of your Outlook folders safely backed up.

Outlook Backup Email

Outlook Backup Emails is a handy tool to backup and restore Microsoft Outlook .pst files . The backup can be done manual or automatic at specified time intervals. It also work with Outlook Express and other email clients, and can be a good tool to move between pcs the Microsoft Outlook email by unexperienced users.

Safe PST Backup

Backup Outlook PST files automatically using Safe PST Backup, a Free tool to back up and archive email. Create backup of Contacts, Calendar, Tasks or other Microsoft Outlook Personal folders with a few clicks. The backup will be done in the background regardless of whether Outlook is running or not. Safe PST Backup solution uses incremental backup model to back up and transfer only changes made to Outlook items. Schedule and automatically back up Outlook at specified time intervals or back up selected PST files manually. Multi language support. Get more with Enterprise Edition. Version 2.50

Stellar Phoenix Mail Backup

An mail back up utility which allows to backup all the objects like emails, contacts, notes, calendars etc. Take incremental, differential and full backup to save backup at any location. Some of the other main features of backup software are: schedule backup process, preview of emails which could be recovered, feature to restore complete as well as selected emails etc. Software works with Outlook 2010 (32 bit), 2007, 2003, 2002.


If your network is set up so that you can use Outlook at any machine (“roving profiles“), your Outlook files may be in a different location. Try using Start | Find to locate each type of file. If you don’t see any .pst files after you search, you may need to adjust the settings in Windows Explorer to show hidden and system files. Choose Tools | Folder Options, then switch to the View tab, and select Show hidden files and folders.

Personal Folders .pst files are among the files that are normally not included in a Windows 2000 (or later) offline files synchronization. However, you can edit the system policy that controls the file types so that .pst files can be included. See Error Message Files of This Type Cannot Be Made Available Offline.


  1. Ben Thoele says

    We use public folder contacts and would like enable 50 or so public folder contacts with the "show this folder as an e-mail address book" setting in each contact folder. We want to do this across all our machines. Do you know which file or registry key controls that?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      It's in the registry, but I think it is a different key for each profile. I'll have to check on that. You can use a utility called regshot to get before and after shots of the registry then compare them.

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