Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Outlook folders come in different types based on the kind of item they are designed to hold. For
example, your Inbox is a folder and it is intended to hold email messages, but you cannot store a
contact there.
Outlook Data Files
For most Outlook users, program data and items are stored in an Outlook Personal Folders file. This
is true if you are using a POP, IMAP, or HTML email account. The file has the .PST extension and is
by default named OUTLOOK.PST. The folder on your hard disk where this file is normally kept is
n Windows XP and Windows Server 2003: X:\Documents and Settings\ user \Local
Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
n Windows Vista: X:\ user \Local Settings\AppData\Microsoft\Outlook
Here, X is the drive letter, usually C, where the operating system stores user settings, and user is
the name you have used to log on to Windows. If the computer is configured for more than one
user, each will have their own separate and independent Outlook Personal Folders file.
You can have more than one Personal Folders file, but only one is designated as the default, which
means Outlook uses it to store account settings, messages, and other items. Additional PST files are
used for special purposes such as archiving old items. You cannot change the storage location of
the default PST file.
Outlook Data File Compatibility
Beginning with Outlook 2003 and continuing with the current version, Microsoft changed the
internal format of PST files to allow for storage of more items and folders and to support multilingual
Unicode data. This format is not compatible with Outlook versions 97 through 2002. If you install
a new Outlook over one of these older versions, the old format PST file will be automatically
converted to the new format. If, however, you want your PST file to be compatible with Outlook 2002
and earlier, you must create a PST file in the older format. This is explained later in this chapter in
the section “Creating a New Personal Folders File.”
Hidden Folders?
The folder where the Outlook data file is kept may be hidden, which means that it normally does
not show up in Windows Explorer or My Computer. To see hidden folders and files, you must
change a view option by selecting Options from the Tools menu (in My Computer or Explorer, not
Outlook) and then on the View tab, selecting the Show Hidden Files and Folders option.
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