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 and newer, 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.
- Open the profile (Control panel, search for Mail) and click on Data files.
- Select the account and click Open File Location to open the folder containing the PST in Windows Explorer.
- Close the Account Settings dialog
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Reopen the Data Files window and double click on the account's data file.
- Now you'll get a 'can't find data file' error message, like this: The file C:\Users\username\Documents\Outlook Files\email@example.com - firstname.lastname@example.org (POP3).pst cannot be found. After you click Ok, you can show Outlook where to find it.
- Close the dialogs and you are ready to restart outlook.
Don't forget to check your Rules Wizard rules to make sure they're still moving data into the right folders.
Video Tutorial: How to move a pst
This video tutorial shows how to move a pst file. I'm using Outlook 2016 and Windows 10 but the steps are similar for Outlook 2007 and newer and Windows 7 and newer.
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.
Changing the default PST folder location
You can change the default folder location Outlook looks to using the ForcePSTPath registry key. You need to set this key before you create this profile when you use an older version of Outlook, or before you add the account to the profile if you have Outlook 2013 and newer.
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.
This key also changes the default location used for IMAP *ost files in Outlook 2013 and newer. The ForcePSTPath key will cause Outlook to recreate the pst files used by IMAP accounts in Outlook 2010 and up 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.
Type regedit on the Start menu and when the Registry Editor comes up, double click to open it.
Browse to the following subkey in the registry.
For Outlook 2016, 2019, 365 go to
For Outlook 2013, the path is
For Outlook 2010 go to
For Outlook 2007 (POP3, Sharepoint, and default pst files only):
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 and up, 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 2016/2019/365 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!
Old Method to move PST files
Find the current location of the PST by looking at the properties for Personal Folders in File, Account Settings. Then, follow these steps:
- Close Outlook.
- Move the file to the new location. (You can also use this technique to rename the file.)
- Restart Outlook. When you're prompted for the location of the now-missing PST file, point to the file in its new location.
- If mail is being delivered to a pst you moved or renamed, go to File, Account Settings and select the account that uses the pst. Verify the correct pst is listed next to the Change Folder button.
If you are moving a .pst file to a different machine that is running Outlook, see Moving Outlook to a new computer
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.
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).
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.
You need to check your Rules Wizard rules to make sure they're still moving data into the right folders.