Moving Your Outlook Data File To A New Location

It should be mentioned at this point that these instructions are for use on a single user PC which is not connected to an Exchange server – if you are in a multi-user networked environment your system administrator will define the location of your Outlook data.

By default, Microsoft Outlook stores all it’s data in a .pst file which is located in the users documents and settings folder on the C drive.

Now, if you’re like me and always worried about the possibility of hard drive failure or the necessity of having to re-install Windows / Applications you may want to store your Outlook Data in a different place.

Before we show you how to achieve this, maybe we should talk a little about storing important data on a different drive.
With the cheap price of hard drive storage these days, it makes sense to have a second hard drive fitted to your PC which is used purely for data storage, then if you need to format drive C, re-install Windows, and all your applications you won’t have to worry about losing all your data. Within Windows it is very easy to change the location of your ‘My Documents’ folder, which is of course where you would store all your important data. to do this:

  • Right click on the ‘My Documents’ folder on the desktop,
  • Select the Properties tab and in the Target field enter where you want your ‘My Documents’ Folder to reside. (I have a second hard drive mapped in as drive F so my target reads F:My Documents
  • Within the ‘My Documents’ folder create a folder named ‘Outlook Data’ where the Outlook data will be stored.
  • Once you have created the new location for your .pst file, you will need to locate your .pst and copy it to the new location. (See the associated article on backing up your data for instructions on locating your .pst file)
  • Once the file is copied rename the old version to something other than .pst or (if you’re feeling brave) delete it entirely.
  • When you next start up Outlook, you will probably be given a warning message telling you that Outlook is unable to find your .pst file. Depending on the version of Outlook you are using, you will either see a dialog with a ‘Browse’ button, or you will be presented with the standard file selector dialog, either way navigate to the new location for your .pst file and select it.
  • Once Outlook has started and successfully loaded your new .pst file, you can safely delete your old one.

Note – it has been reported in some case that E-mail filtering rules can sometimes need re-setting once a transfer has been completed.

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