Move an Outlook Personal Folders .pst File

Last reviewed on May 8, 2014   —  7 comments

You can’t rename or move a Personal Folders .pst file while Microsoft Outlook is running or through the properties for the PST file in either Tools | Services or Outlook Today.

If you are using Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010, we recommend going into Control Panel, Mail and pointing Outlook to the moved pst instead of waiting for Outlook to prompt you to locate the moved pst. See New Method for details.

New Method (Recommended)

This method can be used for POP3 or IMAP accounts, as well as SharePoint and Subscribed Calendar data files.

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 account and click Open File Location to open the folder containing the PST in Windows Explorer.
  3. Click Open File Location

  4. Close the Account Settings dialog
  5. Move the PST to the desired location. The PST files used by POP3 accounts can be renamed. (Default name for pst files Outlook creates for email accounts is email@address.pst)
  6. Reopen the Data Files window and double click on the account’s data file.
  7. Now you’ll get a ‘can’t find data file’ error message, like this: The file C:\Users\username\Documents\Outlook Files\email@domain.com – email@domain.com (POP3).pst cannot be found. After you click Ok, you can show Outlook where to find it.
  8. Data File Can't be found error

  9. Close the dialogs and you are ready to restart outlook.

A video tutorial is available at How to move the IMAP personal folder (*.pst)

If you have multiple Outlook profiles, you’ll need to select the correct profile. Open the Mail dialog in Control panel, click Profiles and double click on the desired Profile, then click Data Files. Continue with Step 2 above.

Old Method

Find the current location of the PST by looking at the properties for Personal Folders in Tools | Services or for, Outlook 98/2000 in Internet Mail Only mode, in the properties for Outlook Today. Then, follow these steps:

  1. Use File | Exit (Exit and Log Off in Outlook 98/2000 in Corporate/Workgroup mode) to quit Outlook.
  2. Move the file to the new location. (You can also use this technique to rename the file.)
  3. Restart Outlook. When you’re prompted for the location of the now-missing PST file, point to the file in its new location.

If you are moving a .pst file to a different machine that is running Outlook, see:

Note: this method only works with POP3 or standalone PST files. See How to move the IMAP personal folder (*.pst) if you need to move an IMAP or SharePoint PST files. Files used by the Outlook Connector cannot be moved using these methods.

Notes | More Information

Outlook Connector files

Outlook Hotmail Connector creates a pst, ost, or nst file in %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook folder and you can’t move it using normal methods. It is possible to repoint the folder or file using symbolic links or junction points. You could also use a registry hack to move the user profile folder (this will affect all files in the user profile).

For more information, see Symbolic Links (MSDN), Junction Points (MSDN), and How to Move Shell Folders (and contents).

Notes

If you try to locate a PST file with Start | Find on a Windows system, you need to be aware that Windows treats PST files as hidden files. In Windows Explorer, use Tools | Folder Options | View to make sure that hidden files are shown.

Moving the file may cause both Outlook Bar shortcuts to be regenerated. You should also check your Rules Wizard rules to make sure they’re still moving data into the right folders.

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

Please post long or more complicated questions at Outlookforums.

7 responses to “Move an Outlook Personal Folders .pst File”

  1. suksun tathana

    verry goood

  2. Gary Reese

    do not use any of these methods. I am a senior windows administrator. Leave your file where it is if you have configured Gmail or another web based mail client to download to Outlook. Set it up, it works don't change it. Leave it there, and don't listen to anyone who tells you different.

  3. Jon

    according to ms, there also maybe an additional step required. can't someone write a small utility to do this "procedure" without all the manual human intervention required?
    jon
    ref: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook-help/move-your-outlook-data-file-to-another-location-HA001112480.aspx

  4. Ethel

    I went through all the procedures and it worked. Inbound service is working properly. But when I tried to send mail problem occurs. There appears to be an error "0x8004010F" saying Outlook data file can not be accessed.

    Please help me. :(

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