Delete Outlook "Ghost" PSTs by Editing the Registry

Michal Bednarz of CodeTwo software discovered this simple method for removing ghost pst's from a profile when his free utility, CodeTwo PST Ghostbuster doesn't remove them.

  1. Close Outlook.
  2. Go to the folder where the pst is stored:
    C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook (Windows XP)
    C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook (Vista)
    and make a copy of the Outlook.pst file. The file should be copied to the same folder. (Select the PST, press Ctrl+C to copy, Ctrl+V to paste)
  3. Rename the original file to Outlook1.pst and the other one to Outlook2.pst.
  4. Restart Outlook.
  5. Since Outlook cannot find the PST file, it displays a message box asking you to choose which PST file it should use. Select the Outlook1.pst file.
  6. Outlook will again display the same message box for the ghost PST. This time select the Outlook2.pst file.
  7. Outlook will start and you will see two PST stores in the profile as usual.
  8. Right click on the second PST and the Close command should now be active so you can remove it from the profile.
  9. Close and start Outlook again. If everything is all right and the second PST file didn't appear again in the profile, you can delete the Outlook2.pst file from your disk.

If this does not work, you can follow the instructions in Delete Ghost PSTs to delete it from the registry if you want to avoid making a new profile. If that method fails you'll need a new profile.

Note that ghosts often indicate corruption in the profile and you may have other issues until you create a profile, but these methods will take care of the immediate annoyance until you have time to redo the profile. .

  • Don

    Thanks - worked perfectly ro remove a "ghost" pst that had been deleted a year earlier.

  • joe zink

    Hey, I tried everything on this and several other pages. The solution for me was/is OLFix. You can find it here:
    Much MUCH better than recreating the profile.

  • JRK

    Outlook 2003 was causing so many problems due to constantly search for a ghost PST file. It was slow, constantly freezing and not giving me access to my backup PST fime on an external drive. I had moved to Windows from XP2.

    I had another problem with Photoshop Elements at the same time and asked advice on a forum. The program seemed to load OK but when I went to use it, it wanted to download again everytime I tried to access it.

    I was told that it was probably caused by a corrupt user account. Following simple instructions in W7 I created a new User Account and deleted the old one. HEY PRESTO all my problems disappeared and the system is running perfectly including OUTLOOK 2003 which had actually started giving me problems in Win XP.

    It may work for others - worth a try!

  • Diane Poremsky

    What fixed the problem with Outlook was the new profile you created in the new Windows account. Creating a new windows account to fix ghost pst files is a lot of overkill - you pretty much need to set *everything* up again and may need to reinstall programs. It's definitely not a 'let's try this first' step for any problem.

  • Ricky

    Actually, the regedit solution worked well. I renamed the working "Personal Folders" by adding my initials like this "XXX Personal Folders". I then searched in Regedit for "001e3001" as suggested and deleted the one entry that didn't have the initials. Behold, the ghost disappeared without having to recreate my accounts or import all of the stored emails and contacts. Good suggestion!!!

    P.S. I was using Win7 and there were, I think, three valid entries after I renamed, not two.

  • Gabriel

    The Solution for me was to use the two posted Add-Ons:

    First I used "CodeTwo PST Ghostbuster"
    But this resulted in Ghost PST files that had no name, and that showed: when right clicking as their name
    Next I tried: "Public Fix Profile for Outlook"
    There were no red entries
    I deleted first everything, folders and entries, under a section called 'Unrelated Sections'... This did not do the trick
    Next I deleted the 'unnamed' entries under Store Provider... Deleting the unnamed did the trick:

    Suggest following 2 steps:
    1- Run the tool by CodeTwo
    2- Delete Unnamed Entries under Store Provider
    if 2 fails, try: 3- Delete everything under 'Unrelated Sections'

  • Gabriel

    On my previous post... turned out not a permanent solution,
    For a few hours, outlook did not work, then the ghost files just re-immerged after restarting the PC and outlook...
    outlook working fine again, but still with the ghost files...

  • icaruscoil

    2003 Outlook on XP here.

    This was the fix for me thanks! I haven't been able to remove an old archive from Outlook for months. Goodbye imaginary archive.

    One note is that it inserts a 00 between each "character" of the filename in hex. So 2010 Archive would be 323031302041726368697665 but a search didn't find that. I looked through and found it by eye and it looked like this:
    in the data values on the right panel.

  • Bret Williamson

    I did what Gabriel on Jan 17, 2012 said to do and it worked like a charm. Code Two PST Ghostbuster got rid of the PSTs, but left "blank" ones still appearing in Outlook 2003. Then used the Public Fix Profile for Outlook and looked for unnamed entries in Store Provider. Deleted those and ghost PSTs are now completely gone. Thanks a bunch!

  • S. Wilson

    Thank you so much!!! I know this is a really old article, but it helped me get rid of some ghost PST's that dropped into my Outlook 03 after I archived some old emails to folders. Really did not want to have to redo my profile :-D

  • Diane Poremsky

    Yeah, a new profile will work, and is often quicker, but people have many reasons for wanting to try and save a profile.

  • Yup

    I've seen this solution all over the internet and find when I go follow the file path, I do not have "Windows Messaging Subsystem". Why is that?

  • D Poremsky

    Which version of Outlook do you use? Beginning with Outlook 2013, the profile path moved to the OfficeOutlook path - HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice15.0OutlookProfiles

    (Looks like i need to update the page. )