Where are my Outlook Files?

Outlook stores your email (and attachments), calendar and contacts together in one file that uses the extension "PST". Unless you tell Outlook to use a different pst stored somewhere else, Outlook creates the *.pst under your Windows user account directory.

In Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013, the default *.pst location for POP3 accounts in new profiles is My Document\Outlook Files. If you upgraded to Outlook 2010 or 2013 and kept the old profile, the *.pst file is not moved. IMAP and Outlook Hotmail Connector data files remain in the local appdata \microsoft\outlook folder.

If Outlook is open, you can open Windows Explorer to the pst location from the File, Data File Management menu. (File, Account settings, Data files tab in Outlook 2010 or 2013.) Select the PST and click Open folder. You can close the Data File Management dialog (and Outlook, if desired) once Windows Explorer is open.

Windows 7/8 and Vista:

If you are using Windows 7, 8 or Vista, the default location for the PST is


Instead of browsing for the folders, you can copy or type the following lines into Windows Explorer address bar or in the Start menu's search folder and press Enter to open Explorer to the correct folder. (This method does not require you to change the Hidden Files and Folders setting.)

In Windows 7/8 or Vista, use this shortcut to access the pst file and other files in the local app data folder:


Outlook support files (xml, srs, outlprnt, VBA, etc):

Other Outlook files, like the Navigation pane customization file (*.xml), toolbar customization file (outcmd.dat), send and receive customizations (*.srs), and print customizations (outlprnt) are at


To access the folder holding the toolbar, Outlprnt, VBA, navigation pane, and nickname files in Windows 7/8 or Vista, use the following shortcut line:


Windows XP or Windows 2000:

If you are using Windows XP or Windows 2000, the files are in the following locations:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

To see the PST files in Windows XP, paste this line on the address bar of Windows Explorer:

%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Outlook support files (xml, srs, outlprnt, VBA, etc):

The folder holding the toolbar, Outlprnt, VBA, rules, and nickname files is

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

You can use the following shortcut in the Windows Explorer address bar in Windows XP:

%USERPROFILE%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Searching for the files

hidden files and foldersBy default, Windows hides a lot of files and folders, including these files. In order to find hidden files using Search, you need to use the Advanced search option to search all hidden files and folders and all system files. (Windows XP search shown in screenshot; for Vista, choose Advanced Search in the search results window.)

In Win 7 and 8, open Windows explorer and type the file name in the Search field on the right.

Browsing for the files:

To browse for the pst using Windows Explorer, you need to show all hidden files and folders.

To show all hidden files and folders in Windows 8, look on the View ribbon in Windows Explorer and add a check to Hidden items.
Windows 8 hidden items

To show all hidden files and folders in Windows 7 or Vista, open Windows Explorer and click on the Organize button on the left, then select Folder and Search Options from the menu.

In Windows XP, open Windows Explorer and go to it's Tools, Folder Options menu.

Click on the View tab and change the settings to show all hidden files and folders.

browse for files

After changing the setting, you can use Windows Explorer to navigate to your user folder then to the folder containing the files.

Windows 98/ME

Windows 98/ME store the files in a different location but they are not hidden, so Search (Find) will find them or you can browse for them using Windows Explorer. On Windows 98/ME without individual user logins, look for:

C:\Windows\Application Data

On a Windows 98 system with individual user logins, look for

C:\Windows\Profiles\user name\Application Data

C:\Windows\Profiles\user name\Local Settings\Application Data

More Information

More information about the files Outlook uses and where it puts them them is at

Outlook & Exchange/Windows Messaging Backup and Dual-Boot (Outlook 2000/2002/2003)
Outlook & Exchange/Windows Messaging Backup and Dual-Boot – Outlook 2007 File Locations
Outlook 2010 Backup and File Locations

  • Bimsara

    Is it possible to recover outlook data after new OS installation? I couldn't back up my emails before new system installation. I have lost my email account with data. Pls help me to recover previous emails.

  • Diane Poremsky

    It depends - if the new install left the old install's files alone, yes; but if you reformatted or otherwise deleted or wrote over the old windows install, no. Most recovery disks that come with computers delete the old install.

  • HJM

    where are th auto-complete (NK2 equivalent) files kept for Outlook 2010. I need to move an email account to a different user on same Win7 64-bit PC but the auto-complete addresses did not move, or at least do not pop up when creating a new email. Thanks.

  • Diane Poremsky

    It's supposed to be in the datafile. If not, you can open a message, click To then add all the addresses in Suggested Contacts and your contacts folder to a new message, then close the message without sending to populate the autocomplete list.

    We have more information on it at Outlook 2010 Suggested Contacts and Autocomplete

  • Geoff

    Can you tell me how to link my pst file to OUtlook. My compute crashed and I had to set up a new user and then set up all my programs again. In outlook nothing shows in my contacts/addresees/phone numbers even though the pst file is there. I have tried to copy the file and import but it always says that it is aleady linked to Outlook.I am running outlook 2007 on Vista

  • Diane Poremsky

    Do you have your old pst file? If so, go to Account settings, and check the data files that are in the profile. If the old pst is listed you can set it as default. If its not listed, add it. Use existing data file as the delivery location has the basics - I need to update it for Outlook 2007 and 2010 but the basic idea is the same.

  • Roger Brandt

    I have Windows 7 Home Premium and the route you described above doesn't exist on my computer. The Appdata folder shows up under the ADMINISTRATOR folder. I open several other folders (only one folder with each step down) and this deadends with several folders, none of which have any link to Outlook files.

    I got a glimpse of something more similar to what you described in your article on "where are my outlook files" when I recently tried to save an attached message from Outlook. The computer auto selected a folder that was listed under my user name, just as you described but when I use Explorer to find the file, there are no folders titled "Appdata" under my user name.

    I am the owner, sole user, and administrator of my computer and as far as I know I have never created a user file with the intention of it beings separate from my administrator files. I have no idea why the appdata folder I see in the Outlook save dialog box is not visible to me under my name in the Explorer folders.

    Any idea what is going on?

  • Diane Poremsky

    Those folders are hidden files and folders - go to the Organize button in Windows Explorer (top left) and choose Folder and Search options, then View tab. Set the option to show hidden files and folders. When you jump to the folder using the shortcuts, you shouldn't need to change this setting, but if you can't see the files, you'll need to.

  • Tarjia

    We upgraded from Office 2003 to 2007, and now have 2010. I have a user whose cabinet has disappeared from a multi-account configuration in Outlook 2010. One account contained email stored in a "Cabinet" under the Inbox, called "Cabinet". This cabinet was a part of earlier versions of the Outlook client before 2007.

    The other account was created recently in Outlook 2010. The older account was in Outlook first, then the new one added. The problem is that a few days ago, I reconfigured the tabs for default "E-mail" and "Data File" to use the newer account, and the user's cabinet in the older account has now disappeared.

    I have searched for the file locally, tried a repair, had him log into a different machine and configured only the one account in Outlook, but the cabinet is still not there.

    Wondering if you have any suggestions? Thanks.

  • L. D. Holland

    Is there a way to move in one operation all emails from a named folder (e.g., "LDH" in Outlook to a regular folder in Explorer?

  • Diane Poremsky

    Select all, drag and drop? This will work fine, as long as you don't have duplicate subjects - as outlook will use the subject for the file name. If the subject is the same, you'll need to use VBA to add the time stamp to the file name.

  • t. wood

    Hi Diane

    I use Outlook Express 2003, and while my contacts folder is still in tact - with my individual contacts inside it - when I compose a new email, using the 'To' facility, no addresses appear. This is particularly annoying, as there are many email addresses that I don't have stored in Contacts, but are stored in Outlook's memory - in the cache, I think?

    I have tried all of your troubleshooting tips going from Contacts / Properties / Outlook Address Book / and then ticking 'Show this folder as an Outlook Address Book - but this has not solved the problem . Neither has Tools / Email accounts / View or Change existing accounts / Removing and then replacing the Outlook Address Book etc .... as well as the tips about the Address Book options, but none of that has worked, which is why I am at this page.

    I understand that my info is probably stored in cached memories in the files listed above , but I'm afraid that's where I draw a blank. I have located the files, but cannot open them, and even if I could, I don't think I'd know what to do with them.

    I am using Windows XP, Google Chrome as default browser, but Windows IE 8 as well.

    If you can lend any advice to this probelm it would be very much appreciated.


    T. Wood

  • Diane Poremsky

    Are you clicking the To button? If nothing comes up when you click the To button, it's a problem with the address book service. This only shows addresses in your contacts folder.

    If nothing comes up when you begin to type an address, that is the autocomplete cache. In Outlook 2003, this is an NK2 file which can only be read by a 3rd party utility. We have a list of tools at recover autocomplete cache tools - you need to use a tool to recover addresses not in your contacts.

  • David Lemire

    Is it possible to get contacts and calendar split between 2 pst files? I'm struggling to get outlook to sync with my iphone and have been working with the outlook data files. I created a new one, supposedly with no data, and made it the default (intent was to back sync from the iphone to outlook). When Outlook loaded there was my calendar, but no contacts.
    Any thoughts on the data issue and/or the syncing issue?

  • t. wood

    Thanks Diane -

    It was the auto-complete cache that was the problem; it had gone blank when I started to type a name.

    I downloaded the tool you suggested, and now I can open up a file of everyone I have ever sent an email to, regardless of whether they have previously been saved in my contacts list.

    Is there a way to get all of these unsaved names and email addresses to appear again in the 'to' line as you start to type? For instance, you type the letter 'j' and suggestions used to come up with everyone whose name begins with J? I had a look under 'export to outlook contacts' but that only puts the name into contacts, not into the 'to' line 'memory' facility. If not, I have all my email addresses back now, so that's the major part of the problem solved.

    Thanks for your help.

    T Wood

  • Desmond

    I have terminated my connection to a Corporate Microsoft Exchange account. I unwittingly overlooked transferring all my Contacts to my personal POP3 'area'. From what I have read, a lot of the data is held in the 'offline' .ost file - which I have located on my local drive in the AppData/Local folder structure - and its quite large ! 400Mb.
    a) Can I expect all my Contacts to be in this file
    b) How can I gracefully open, read and transfer these contact to my local 'area'

    Many thanks in advance...


  • Diane Poremsky

    Yes, contacts is in the ost file. How long ago did you delete the corp account or profile from your computer? the easiest fix is to use system restore to roll back before you deleted it - this restores the registry settings with the account so you can export the data you need before deleting the account or using system restore to return to 'todays' point.

    If you realized the error in your ways after the restore point is gone, you need to use an expensive tool to recover the contacts.

  • Joe

    I downloaded Windows 8 Consumer Preview the other day, but Microsoft Outlook 2007 vanished and with it all its Contacts. Could you help me in retrieving? Thank you.

  • Joe


    I can't find any of my Microsoft Outlook 2007 Contacts since downloading Windows 8 Consumer Preview a few days ago. Please help me relocate. Thank you.


  • Diane Poremsky

    Which install option did you choose? The profile may be lost with any option, but upgrading should keep the actual program. (I used the new install option and need to reinstall everything.)

    Press the Windows key on your keyboard to go to the metro start screen and open Windows Explorer. Expand the C drive - do you see Windows.old in the folder list? If so, the data file should be under the users folder, but you may need to take ownership of the files to see them. If you upgraded from Windows 7, the old pst file should be in C:Windows.old\Users\[oldusername]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook. Right click on your username and choose Properties, then Security and add your user account to the list, giving it full permission to the folder path.

  • Sherri

    I recently changed from imap to pop3 in outlook 2010 (windows 7). I have all of my calendar events and contacts in outlook but when i try to search for something nothing is coming up. My email search is fine but I cannot figure out what to do. I have rebuilt the index but this has not fixed the problem. Any advice is appreciated.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Do you see the items when you just look in the calendar or contacts folder? How many pst files are in your profile? If more than one, are they all being indexed?

  • Nasir Mahmood

    Respected Sir / Madam,
    I want to recover my previous emails in Outlook 2003 after Re-installation of Windows XP. Please tell me the procedure so that i can recover emails regarding the year 2010,2011.
    I will be highly thankful to you for your fully support and co-operation.

    Thanks & Regards,
    Yours sincerely,
    Nasir Mahmood

  • peter

    I'd like to get access to the underlying .pst DB, search for a range of dates and then do two things to about 2,000 calendar entries: 1. turn off notification and 2. change the end date from 2012 to 2014.
    My other option, if possible, would be to export the db into something (.csv?), find the date range of entries and then change the reference column for "end date" to 2014 and "notification" to none (which I would need to know if it was represented by zero but that's too far to worry about).
    Any suggestions?
    Are you familiar with this?

  • Diane Poremsky

    I am familiar with the pst sdk- it's for hard core programmers. Is there a reason why you want/need access at the pst format level? Turning off notification is fairly easy right within Outlook. Or you can use VBA. If you are talking about recurring appointments, I highly recommend making new ones - extending recurring events will rewrite the event and you'll lose any exceptions. Changing the end date is not recommended if you need to keep history of the meetings. It will need to be done in Outlook, not exported. (Exporting breaks into single events.)

    Manual method to turn off the reminder: Filter for the date range. Group by the Reminder field, drag from the Yes group to the No group. Or use In-cell editing. Both or done using list view and may be faster than writing (or looking for) VBA.

    Changing the end date: assuming recurring events with exceptions: Export to CSV format and open it in Excel - remove any events that don't need to be importing then import the now-single events for a history of past occurrences. Change the dates on the original recurring event so it goes forward.

  • Jorge

    I've been trying to move my Outlook email files from my old PC to a Mac. I have Outlook 2003 on the PC and Outlook 2011 on the Mac. I have Exported the PC Outlook files to a .pst file and successfully imported it to the Mac Outlook .. EXCEPT that not all of the email files were included in the .pst transfer file. I have tried exporting them in a variety of different ways, and they just don't appear when I try to import the .pst file into the Mac. I've even tried to copy my archive.pst file in full from the PC, but it does not have the missing emails. Any idea how I can get these missing emails to export to a .pst file?

  • Diane Poremsky

    Without looking at the missing messages, its hard to say what is wrong. Rather than export from Outlook 2003 to a new pst, find the pst file and copy it to the Mac. If the messages won't import from the copy of your working data file, then you need to compare the messages that import with those that don't - what is the message format, any special features, etc.

  • em

    I have Outlook 2003 and Windows XP and also use Hotmail Outlook Connector. Mistakenly, I deleted an Outlook profile. Now, I cannot open my pst files or even associate Outlook with a new datafile. When I click on Datafiles under the profile, the dialog box says Not Available, Mail Delivery Location. Hence, I cannot save sent messages or file my Inbox into personal folders. Can you help?

  • Diane Poremsky

    How long ago did you delete the profile? If you have a Restore Point, go back before you deleted it. Otherwise, unless you also deleted the pst file, your data is either in a local pst or in the Hotmail account online - create a new profile and you'll have the data back.

  • Mark

    Oh I could KISS YOU! KISS YOU! I've spent hours just trying to find where my Microsoft Outlook pst file is found on Windows XP and I got all sorts of round and round in circles type answers and now, you answered the exact question I had.. why is life so hard but thank god I found you! Blessings to you!!!!!

  • Russ Smith

    I found this thread via google. I have a user whose Outlook 2010 won't manually send and receive. he has to close outlook, open it and then hit send receive. Through googling I found reference to comments by Diane about deleting the .srs file and then Outlook will recreate it and that "could" fix the problem. Or delete and create a new account. I also found reference that deleting the .srs account is very risky?

    What's the recommended first thing to try, repairing the Outlook account, deleting it and recreating it, or deleting the .srs file? If I delete the .srs file do I have to close outlook first and will it create a new one when I open it again?

    thank you,

    Russ Smith

  • Diane Poremsky

    The SRS file holds the send and receive configuration you see when you press Ctrl+Alt+S. It is zero risk - if you have a lot of custom send and receive groups you can rename it so that if it doesn't work, you won't have to recreate them. But the vast majority of users never create SR groups or change the settings.

    I would start with deleting (or renaming) the SRS file. It's no pain and there is a high chance it will fix the problem.

    You will need to close outlook, delete the file then reopen outlook.

  • Russ Smith

    Thanks Diane, we went ahead and deleted it and it did what you said and recreated the .srs file. The problem is apparently intermittent it will work fine for 3-4 hours and then stop working so we'll have to wait and see if this worked. If not I guess delete the account and recreate it. thank you for your help.

    Russ Smith

  • Diane Poremsky

    If the SRS doesn't help, make a new profile but don't delete the old one. See if it works in the new profile...

  • maria

    i upgraded from outlook 2003 to outlook 2013 and all my personal folders are gone and all my emails !!!! i'm freaking out as I work from home and this is all personal real estate information I need to retrieve - any suggestions please ? I would like to restore outlook 2003 how can I do that without making a bigger mess than I already have ?

  • D Poremsky

    Which Windows version? The files might be in the local app data file - in Win7/8, type or paste %localappdata%Microsoftoutlook in the address bar of windows explorer and press enter. Using the details view, do you see a large data file dated the day you upgraded?

    If you find what you think are the missing files, go back to outlook and use File, Open to open the data files so you can see if the missing content is there.

  • LouFromMI

    I have a client with outlook 2013 set up with an IMAP account to a third party mail provider. She was having trouble with outlook sending the same email numerous times. Not thinking, I killed her profile and renamed her .ost file to .ost.OLD then recreated her account. This is IMAP not exchange so her contacts and calendar aren't on a server, they were local. Any ideas how I might find and restore her contacts and calendar? Thank you :)

  • D Poremsky

    System restore should work. Roll back to before you deleted the account then rename the pst back to the original name. Export the special folders to a pst then use that pst as the default in a new profile. As long as its set as default before you open outlook for the first time, the imap account won't have the special folders.

  • http://www.accessauto.com Linda Yazell

    A couple of days ago I downloaded and installed the new version of SugarSync, and when it synced with my laptop, it only synced about 5 folders from My Documents, and at the same time disappeared all my other folders from my laptop. I did a system restore to a couple of days previous, but then changed the path to my Documents (it's now C:UsersLindaFavoritesDocuments etc. How can I get the path changed back to C:UsersLindaDocuments, rather than having to figure out how to redirect all the shortcuts to Favorites? Any help would be appreciated.

  • Weev Berry

    I sent an email from outlook 2003, in January 2014, in April 2014 I got a new base unit, my email address hasn't change, but all the emails sent before April have vanished. Is there anyway to get these back? It was an incredibly important email!

  • http://www.slipstick.com/ D Poremsky

    I'm guessing they are in an old pst file on the old base unit.

    Is this an imap account? Outlook 2003 keeps sent items in an local pst file with calendar and contacts.

  • Chris

    I have upgraded to microsoft 10 and my outlook has disappeared, where is it?

  • http://www.slipstick.com/ D Poremsky

    Which version of Office are you using? Can you find it if you type Outlook when the start menu is open?

    If not, you'll need to reinstall or repair the install.