How to move your Outlook PST file from one directory to another

What are you moving?

When you store your Microsoft Office Outlook email data on your computer, it's stored in a file on your hard drive called a PST file, such as "Outlook.pst".  It shows up in your Outlook window as a root folder, such as "Personal Folders," with various mailbox folders underneath it.

Step 1: Finding the PST file

In the main Outlook window, in Mail view, in the Navigation Pane (usually on the left):

  • Right-click on "Personal Folders" or the root folder of the PST file you want to move.
  • Choose "Properties for Personal Folders" in the pop-up menu.

In the Properties window that opens:

  • Click on the "Advanced" tab.
  • Look at the "Filename" text box, and make a note of the full drive, path, and file name listed in the box.
  • Close the window.

Step 2: Moving the PST file

If Outlook is still running, close it. Outlook must not be running during this step.

Open an Explorer window.  This can be done one of several ways:

  • Open the "My Computer" or "Computer" icon on the desktop, or
  • Click on the Start button and choose "Computer" in the right column, or
  • Press Windows+E on your keyboard.

Browse to the folder in which the PST file is stored:

  • Navigate using the folder list, location bar, or breadcrumb bar to the location "Computer"
  • Open the icon corresponding to the drive letter of the full file name you noted before.
  • Open each folder in sequence corresponding to the path of the full file name you noted before.
  • Click once on the PST file in the folder.

Cut the file in preparation for moving it:

  • If you have an Edit menu, click on Edit, then click on Cut.
  • If you don't have an Edit menu but you do have an Organize menu, click on Organize, then click on Cut.
  • If you don't have either menu, right-click on the PST file, and choose "Cut" from the pop-up menu.

Browse to the drive and folder where you want the PST file stored instead.

Paste the file, moving it:

  • If you have an Edit menu, click on Edit, then click on Paste.
  • If you don't have an Edit menu but you do have an Organize menu, click on Organize, then click on Paste.
  • If you don't have either menu, right-click on an empty part of the window away from file and folder icons, and choose "Paste" from the pop-up menu.

Step 3: Telling Outlook that your PST file has been moved

Open the Control Panel window.

Open the Control Panel item Mail:

  • If you're using Windows 2000, or if you're using "Classic view" in Control Panel:
    • Open the "Mail" icon.
  • If you're using Windows XP or Server 2003:
    • Click on "User Accounts," then click on "Mail"
  • If you're using Windows Vista, 7, or 8:
    • Click in the "Search" box in the upper-right corner of the window.
    • Type "mail" and wait for Windows to search the Control Panel.
    • Click on the "Mail" or "Mail (32-bit)" Control Panel item search result.

Modify the PST file location:

  • Click on "Show Profiles"
  • Select the profile corresponding to your PST file.
  • Click on "Properties"
  • Click on "Data Files"
  • Select your data file from the list.
  • Click on "Settings"
  • An error message will appear reporting that the data file could not be found at the old location. Click on its OK button.
  • A file browser window will appear.  In it:
    • Browse to the PST file's new location.
    • Select the PST file.
    • Click on "Open"
  • Click on "OK"
  • Click on "Close"
  • Click on the other "Close"
  • If necessary, click on "OK" again.

Finish

Start up Outlook again, and everything should be the same as before.

Content source

Move your Outlook data file to another location at Microsoft Office Outlook Help.

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