Where is your Outlook Data File?

By: standss , Mar 20th, 2012

I recently read an interesting article on TechRepublic about the 10 most important things to teach Outlook users.

One of the point refers to… backing up your Outlook data. I am frequently surprised by how many Outlook users just assume that their Outlook data is backed up when they backup their Documents folder. Guess what… your Outlook data is not in your Documents folder.

Unless you are part of a corporate network using MS Exchange, all your Outlook data is stored in one Personal Folder file.

  • This file has a .pst extension and is saved somewhere on your computer.
  • This one file probably contains all your Outlook folders, e-mails, contacts, tasks, calendar items, journal entries and notes inside it.
  • (Unfortunately) This file is NOT saved to your Documents folder (at least not by default) so chances are you are not backing it up.

So let me show you how to find out where your Outlook Data File is stored:

The exact location depends on the version of Outlook and Windows. To find out where your Outlook data is:

  • Go to your Inbox and make sure that the list of folders is displayed
  • Right-click the top-level folder and select Properties
  • Click the Advanced button. The full path to where your Data file is stored will provided in the box labeled Filename:

It would be a good idea to include that file as part of your normal computer backup plan. This ensures that your Outlook data is also getting backed up along with other things.

If you are using more than one PST (e.g. a separate file for archives), then you need to do the above for each of your Outlook data files.

I hope that this little tip helps keep your Outlook data protected.

Do you have your own tips on how to better use Outlook, share it with us and our readers by leaving a comment below.

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