Remove a password from an Outlook *.pst File

Last reviewed on February 6, 2014

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.
  2. Outlook's Data File Property command

  3. Choose Properties (Data Files Properties in Outlook 2010/2013), then Advanced button.
  4. Click Change Password button.
  5. Type your password in the Old password field.
  6. Leave the New password and Verify fields blank.
  7. Change the password on a pst file

  8. 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.

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.

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.

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

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

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 Phoenix Outlook Password Recovery

Outlook Password Recovery software helps in recovering the lost or forgotten password with its advanced mechanism. 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).

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.

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