What is the PST File

PST stands for Personal Storage Table. A PST file is a Microsoft Outlook Data file that used to store a user’s Outlook data and web-based mail accounts, such as emails and email attachments. It may also include e-mail folders, addresses, and other data.

Organization: Microsoft
Category: Database
Format: Binary

PST files are mainly used by all versions of Microsoft Outlook, from version Outlook2000 up to Outlook 2010.

About the Outlook PST File

If you are using a POP3 account, Outlook can’t live without them. Outlook 2010 and previous versions also used pst-files for caching IMAP data.

PST files also are used for storage, and exports, even when you are using an exchange or Outlook.com.

PST files are very important to outlook and knowing how to properly treat pst-files is the most important basic outlook skills as well.

Contents of a PST file

Outlook stores all your folders and items

The default folders within a pst-file for a POP3 account are given below:

Size limit for different versions of Outlook:

Location of PST-file

  1. Outlook 2007 and previous on Window XP
  2. C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\

  3. Outlook 2007 and previous on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10
  4. C:\users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\

  5. Outlook 2010 on Windows XP
  6. C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\My Documents\Outlook Files

  7. ‘Outlook 2010’, ‘Outlook 2013’, ‘Outlook 2016’, ‘Outlook 2019’, and ‘Microsoft 365’ on Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10
  8. C:\users\%username%\Documents\Outlook Files

Note:-Upgrading to Outlook 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, or Microsoft 365 will not move/shift your pst files to the new location/folder.

Backing up or copying a pst file

Backing up a .pst file is a very simple task as simple as copying it to another location. However, copying a pst file can only be done when the outlook is closed. If you close Microsoft Outlook and you still cannot copy the pst-file, you might have a shutdown issue with Outlook.

Opening a pst file

To open a pst-file:

If you have backed up your pst-file to a CD-ROM, DVD, you’ll first need to copy the pst-file back onto your hard disk. Verify that the ‘Read Only’ file property isn’t enabled as Outlook needs Read and Write access to the file.


Never try to open your pst-file by overwriting an existing pst-file. Doing so will corrupt your Mail Profile and could lead to countless issues.

Removing an opened pst-file

If you want to remove a pst-file from Outlook, do not delete the file but remove/close/disconnect it in Outlook first. After removing the pst-file from Outlook, close Outlook to release the lock on the pst-file and then you can safely delete it.

Deleting a pst-file

If you want or trying to delete a pst-file from your disk, make sure you have already removed the pst-file from Outlook. If you do not do this, you’ll end up with errors in Outlook that could possibly be ending up corrupting your mail profile.

Reducing the size of a pst-file

The pst-file is a database file, it will never shrink directly in size after you have deleted something from it and emptied the Deleted Items Folder.

System Restore and pst-files

Because of the original location of the pst-file, it is a common misconception that using system restore will allow you to recover a deleted or corrupted pst-file. A pst-file isn’t a system file it is a data file.

How to Change OST?

PST is a file format which is used by the famous email client server MS Outlook. It holds multiple email items like emails, calendars, tasks, todo, etc. RecoveryTools Outlook Migrator is an advanced software that allows users to change emails from OST files to various emails client as well as to webmail services.

PST File – Related Solution

Download for Windows 100% Safe and Secure Download for Mac 100% Safe and Secure Buy Now 30 Money-Back Guarantee*