About Outlook Personal Folders (PST) File

The personal folders file, with a file extension of .PST, is used by various Microsoft interpersonal communication products, including Microsoft Exchange Client, Windows Messaging and all versions of Microsoft Outlook. PST is the abbreviation of “Personal Storage Table”.

For Microsoft Outlook, all the items, including emails, contacts, and all other objects are saved locally in the corresponding .pst file, which is typically stored in a specific, pre-designated directory, as below:

Windows versions Directory
Windows 95, 98 & ME drive:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook


drive:\Windows\Profiles\user name\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Windows NT, 2000, XP & 2003 Server drive:\Documents and Settings\user name\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook


drive:\Documents and Settings\user name\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Windows Vista & Windows 7 drive:\Users\user name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
Windows 8, 8.1, 10 & 11 drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook



You could also search for “*.pst” files on your local computer to get the PST file locations.

Moreover, you can change the location of the PST file, make a backup of it, or create multiple PST files to store different contents.

As all your personal communication data and information are stored in the PST file, it is very important to you. When it is get corrupted for various reasons, we strongly suggest using DataNumen Outlook Repair to get your data back.

Microsoft Outlook 2002 and earlier versions use an older PST file format that imposes a 2GB file size limit, and it only supports ANSI text encoding. The old PST file format is also called the ANSI PST format commonly. Since Outlook 2003, a new PST file format is introduced, which supports files as large as 20GB (this limit can also be increased to 33TB by modifying the registry) and Unicode text encoding. The new PST file format is called the Unicode PST format generally. It is rather easy to convert the PST files from the old ANSI format to the new Unicode format with DataNumen Outlook Repair.

A PST file can be password-protected to secure confidential data. However, it is very easy to use DataNumen Outlook Repair to break the protection without requiring the original passwords.


What is a PST File?

A PST file serves as a storage container for your online data, allowing users to save and retrieve email contents.

Benefits of Using PST Files:

  1. Addressing Mailbox Limitations: Given the limited space in most mailboxes, typically around 200 MB, PST files act as a backup for overflowing inboxes.
  2. Enhanced Search: With recent updates to Windows Search, you can swiftly search within PST files and your inbox in Microsoft Outlook using the Quick Search feature.
  3. Backup Assurance: For those seeking extra backup assurance, moving emails to PST files can be invaluable, especially during events like server crashes.
  4. Ownership & Mobility: Imagine having unhindered access to your data offline. A PST file can be stored on a USB, offering easy portability and access.
  5. Increased Security: PST files can be fortified with added security layers, making them ideal for those dealing with sensitive email content.

Drawbacks of Using PST Files:

  1. Lack of Remote Access: Once emails are moved to a PST file and off the server, remote access via platforms like OWA or syncing mobile phones becomes unavailable.
  2. Storage Concerns: PST files can consume precious hard drive space, leading to increased backup times.
  3. Potential Vulnerabilities: Despite precautions, there’s always a risk of data loss with PST files. Their accessibility can also introduce liabilities. For corrupt PST files, you can use DataNumen Outlook Repair to recover data from them.


  1. https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/office/introduction-to-outlook-data-files-pst-and-ost-222eaf92-a995-45d9-bde2-f331f60e2790
  2. https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/office/find-and-transfer-outlook-data-files-from-one-computer-to-another-0996ece3-57c6-49bc-977b-0d1892e2aacc