Searching additional Outlook data files (PSTs, OSTs) in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010

By: standss , Aug 5th, 2010

I’ve had several requests from readers who want to find out how they can use Outlook to search older PSTs (that are currently closed). There is good news and bad news…

BAD NEW first… Outlook can only search through a data file that has been indexed by Windows Search. The Bad News is that only files that are connected (i.e. open) in Outlook will be indexed. If you have older PSTs that you do not want connected to Outlook, then they cannot be indexed by Windows Search and therefore cannot be searched.

The GOOD NEWS… As long as you are happy to have the PST connected to Outlook then the processes is EASY!

To open an Outlook data file click File-Open-Open Outlook Data File and then use the screen to locate the Outlook data file.

The selected file will automatically be indexed (indexing takes some time). You can use the following steps to also ensure that the file is selected for indexing.

In Outlook 2010…
Click File-Options-Search.

Click the Indexing Options button and then click the Modify button.

Ensure that the data files that you want indexed are ticked.

NOTE: OSTs cannot be indexed unless you are in Cached Exchange Mode. If you have opened an OST, it will only show up in the list if it is open in Cached Exchange Mode.

In Outlook 2007

On the Tools menu, point to Instant Search, and then click Search Options.

Under Indexing, ensure that the data files that you want to include in your search are selected in the Index messages in these data files list.

Useful resources:
Instant Search is not finding items

2 Replies to “Searching additional Outlook data files (PSTs, OSTs) in Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010”

  1. if i have a mess of duplicate and half size PST files because of transfering pst files over the network, (by saving a copy onto the network server) from computer to computer, as staff change desks, and want to get it tidied up so that i do have every old email, but not up to 6 copies! is there a way of finding ‘duplicate emails?’

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