Last reviewed on May 5, 2015   —  49 Comments

When you add a password to a pst file, every time you start Outlook, a dialog box will ask you for the password. Once you enter the password, the contents of the pst will be accessible to anyone who uses your computer while Outlook is open.
enter pst password

If you know the password but are tired of using it, you can remove it or change it and save it to your password list. If you can’t remember the password, see Remove forgotten passwords for instructions.

  1. Right click on the .pst file name in your folder list.
    Outlook's Data File Property command
  2. Choose Properties (Data Files Properties in Outlook 2010/2013), then Advanced button.
  3. Click Change Password button.
  4. Type your password in the Old password field.
  5. Leave the New password and Verify fields blank.
    Change the password on a pst file
  6. Click Ok and work your way back to Outlook.

This dialog is also accessible from File, Account Settings, Data File tab. Select the pst file and click Settings.

Remove forgotten passwords

Many years ago, Microsoft released a utility called pst19upg.exe to upgrade old versions of *.pst (Personal Folders) files so they would work with a later version. One side effect of this was that it removed the password from the pst file. So if you passworded your pst and forgot the password, you can use this utility to remove the password so you can access your email.

This will not work with pst files created in Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010, or Outlook 2013. This utility only works with the older ANSI pst files used by Outlook 2002 and older, not the new Unicode format pst, available in Outlook 2003 and up. You will need to use a utility with the newer pst format.

You need to use two utilities to remove the password from an ANSI pst (old format):

  1. pst19upg.exe
  2. scanpst.exe – This is installed when you install Outlook. It should be in your Office folder, under Program files- usually C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OfficeXX (where XX is the version number) or use Windows Search to find it.

If this method doesn’t work or you have forgotten the password on an Unicode pst, you’ll need a commercial password cracker program.

Tip: Make sure you have plenty of free space available – the utilities will need approximately 3 times the size of the pst to work with.

How to remove a password using Scanpst and pst19upg

  1. Close Outlook and make a copy of the PST file to work with.
  2. Run scanpst.exe on the copy of your pst and choose Repair, if prompted. There is no need to use the backup option in ScanPST, since you are working with a copy.
  3. Open a Command Prompt (Start menu, Run) and paste or type the file path to pst19up and your pst name: pst19upg.exe -x filename.pst and hit enter.
    The command line will resemble
    “C:\My Documents\pst19upg.exe” -x outlook.pst
    This will create a copy of the pst called “filename.psx” (where filename is the same name as the original pst file).
  4. When complete, rename the original pst file to something else, such as filename.old.
  5. At the command prompt, type pst19upg.exe -i filename.psx and hit enter. Remember, you need to use the full path to pst19upg.
  6. This creates a password-free pst file from the psx file.
  7. Run scanpst.exe against recovered pst and choose Repair, if prompted. As before, you don’t need to make a backup using ScanPST because you are working with the backup.
  8. Open the file in Outlook using the File, Open, Outlook Data file menu.

Tools to Recover Lost Passwords

Kernel for Outlook PST Password Recovery

Kernel for Outlook PST Password Recovery is a free tool to recover forgotten password from Outlook PST files. Software takes Outlook PST file as input and does not require Outlook to be installed and configured. It supports password recovery from PST files created in MS Outlook 2010/2007/2003/XP/2000/97.

Mail PassView

Mail PassView allows you to view and recover lost e-mail account passwords and other account information for Outlook and other mail clients. Freeware. Version 1.43

Protected Storage PassView

Protected Storage PassView is a small utility that reveals the passwords stored on your computer. The passwords are revealed by reading the information from the Protected Storage. Works with Windows 95/98/ME, Windows NT, Windows 2000 or Windows XP. It does not work with Vista. Version 1.63


PstPassword can recover the PST passwords of Outlook 97, Outlook 2000, Outlook XP, Outlook 2003, and Outlook 2007. You don't need to have Outlook installed to use this utility, you only need the original PST file that you locked with a password. Freeware. Version 1.10

Recovery ToolBox for Outlook Password

Recovers forgotten or lost passwords for mail accounts and also passwords for LDAP services that the Microsoft Outlook mail client uses in its work. Recovers passwords for password-protected Microsoft Outlook data files (files with the *.pst extension).

Stellar Outlook Manager

With Stellar Outlook Manager you can back-up your important emails, compact large PST file, identify and remove duplicate emails, get back lost password, repair corrupt PST files and even split large PST files. All these functions can be managed conveniently in just a few clicks through a central console.

Stellar Phoenix Outlook Password Recovery

Outlook Password Recovery software helps in recovering the lost or forgotten password. The password recovery software scans the locked Outlook PST file and provides a set of six different passwords for that file. Stellar Outlook password recovery software has the capacity to recover the password with special characters and also allows to save the generated password in a text file. The recovery software is easy to use and compatible with almost all the Windows operating systems like Windows 7, Vista, Server 2003, XP, 2000 and NT4 (SP6).


  1. Danniel Butler says

    You are amazing! I had a client somehow lock themselves out of their pst file but they did not want to pay for a commercial product to remove the password. Found this and it worked like a charm!!!

  2. Johnny Gómez says

    Hi Diane I followed the steps you published in order to remove my pst file password but it gave me an error, do you have any idea about this kind of error?
    F:\Documents and Settings\jgomez17\Mis documentos\Descargas\pst19upg>pst19upg.ex
    e -x PST2012.pst
    Exporting: PST2012.pst (version 19)
    to: PST2012.psx
    Could not open PST file PST2012.pst
    ERROR 0x80040119
    Program terminated in error (80040119)

    I hope you can help me, please.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I'm assuming this is a typo? to: PST2012.psx
      Did you run scanpst on the pst copy? That error code usually indicates you need to run scanpst on the pst file.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      If you are talking about my questioning this file name: PST2012.psx - there is no psx file type. There is a pst file type.

  3. Leon Steinhardt says

    That's the error code I got when I tried the procedure on my .pst from Outlook 2007 (which you noted would not work, which I can now confirm).
    I don't think Mr. Gomez had a typo, I imagine pst19upg.exe showed the message "to: PST2012.psx" as part of its progress display.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Yeah, I realized later that the extension is changed by the software - I hadn't used it in "forever" forgot how it worked. Thanks for the confirmation.

  4. Don says

    When I transferred Outlook 2010 from old computer to new, The .pst file required (I thought) a password. I know the password, but it's just a nuisance now. How do I get rid of it?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Right click on the pst name in the folder list. Choose Properties, then Advanced. click Change password and leave the new password field blank.

  5. Don says

    Thank You.
    In Outlook 2010 64-bit the "Change Password" is found by going into "Account Settings" while in Outlook. Under "Data Files" single-click on outlook.pst, then click on "Settings"

    • Diane Poremsky says

      You can get into the password dialog either from Account Settings or using Properties (Data File Properties), Advanced button. There are too many clicks either way. :)

  6. Sam says

    The Kernel for Outlook PST Password Recovery, wow, it works perfectly. It recovered my password flawlessly! Thank you so much.

  7. Vineet says

    I have transferred the data (including pst files for Outlook 2010) from old computer to new. Now the .pst file is asking a password. I have never set any password and also I don't know the password. How do I recover the password now? I have tried Kernel for outlook, Nucleus pst recovery software but they didn't work. Please help.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      If you click Ok (as if the password is nothing), does it work? There have been instances where upgrading from older versions of outlook, that the password dialog came up when it was set. Some times, the password crackers will work on it, other times not. If a blank password won't work, try running scanpst on a copy of the pst.

  8. David says

    I am experiencing what Vineet describe also too. scnpst on the copy version did not work, and pst19upg.exe did not create a PSX file when I ran it. Clicking OK on the password prompts an invalid password.

    Upon reading reviews on the Kernal software, it didn't seem to have positive reviews.

    Any other suggestions?

  9. pierre says

    I have the same problem as Johnny Gómez's one.
    - I used scanpst,
    - then using pst19upg:
    Exporting: Outlook_last.pst (version 19)
    to: Outlook_last.psx

    Could not open PST file Outlook_last.pst
    ERROR 0x80040119

    Program terminated in error (80040119)

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Do you have an old PST format? That application is only used on ANSI PST. If you have the newer Unicode PST format, you need to use a utility to remove the password. I usually recommend pstpassword for this.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      You'll need to remove it and then set a new password, if desired. I usually recommend PstPassword - its free.

  10. Klara says

    Thank you for the post!
    Unfortunately, it didn't work with the scanpst and pst19upg which would have been a "clean" fix. But luckily, Kernel for Outlook worked like a charm and in a minute so now I can use my Outlook again.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      scanpst and pst19upg only work with the old ANSI pst format, not the new pst format in Outlook 2003 and newer.

  11. Serch says

    I have a problem my outlook is 2007, it locked my pst for no reason.. I've tried all tools listed here and none of them work, PstPassword gives me a partial password only, any more help would be highly appreciated...

  12. Serch says

    When I use PstPassword I opened the pst file but the passwords are not displayed :(, I tried to use the More Passwords option (F8) but none of them seem to work, the version listed in the program says that is 23.

    I scanned the pst and repaired it but it didn't work then I used PST Password Recovery Free, it creates a partial password something like TH1***. The thing is that I never set a password for it, my outlook got messed up and I re-create the profile and that screwed up the pst file. Any other ideas I could use?.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Did you try no password? Just click the button to use the password? When the password error is due to outlook getting confused and thinking there is a password, a blank password sometimes works.

  13. Serch says

    I tried that, I clicked the ok button with no password in it but it didn't work.. what else do you recommend me to do?. Thanks.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      The password utilities are the only way I know to do it. Do you get any error message or just the password dialog?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Dang. There are some days you really hate Outlook. :) I'm out of ideas on this - the lost password tools usually fix it.

  14. April Azure says

    I discovered that a corrupted PST file can cause this issue. You'll probably see that the size of your PST file is very small, like 500kb. What I was able to do is right-click on the corrupted PST file from Explorer and choose "Restore Previous Versions" You can then select an earlier restore point on the file before it was corrupted.

  15. Priya says

    The Kernel for Outlook PST Password Recovery, wow, it works perfectly. It recovered my password flawlessly! Thank you so much.

  16. Ranadeep B says

    I am using Outlook 2013 and i have forgotten my pst password. Can you help me to remove the password from my pst, so that i can access my pst.
    It has very important emails. please assist.

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      Any of the utilities on this page should recover the password for you - i happen to like pstpassword from nirsoft.

  17. Shakil says

    Hi Diane,

    I tried the given options but all are costly to buy. Trial version dont give full password details. I am using Outlook 13. Can you please help me here.


  18. Shakil says

    Thank you Diane for quick reply. Yes, Nirsoft is free but when I tried the one from Nisoft it gives error as "windows can not access the path, you may not have access to this item" :(
    All others are for buying as of now.

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      That sounds like a permissions problem. What version of Windows are you using?

  19. Mahesh says

    Thanks Diane.. You are a lifesaver.. Used the free tool kernel PST data recovery tool... Excellent software..

  20. KEn says

    Hello, my PST file size is 3.6GB, i have forgotten password, i use Kernel PST Password Recovery but it is not working. It show error: seek failed on an unnamed file. Please help me.

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