Outlook PST File Location (Create/Import/Open PST Files)

This guide will help you find the Outlook PST file location, as well as how to create, import and open Outlook PST files. It works for all versions of Windows.


Almost everyone knows that Outlook is a service used for storing emails for every account in a personal table storage the so-called PST file. However, in order to find out the location of these files, you need to know the exact version of Outlook on your PC. Here’s where Outlook stores your files and how you can move them if you need to.

What is an Outlook PST file?

Immediately after you set up an account in Outlook, a database for each one gets created in the form of a PST file (personal table storage). There this service stores all the letters, calendar stuff, contacts, corresponding to a given account. You may change your Outlook settings so that the data in a PST file might or might not get compressed and encrypted. The more data you store in your PST file, the slower your Outlook service gets.
The extensions in your Outlook Data Folder are marked in the following way: .ost. The format of these files is the same as the one of the PST ones. The difference is that the .ost files are used as temporary offline storage of emails for Exchange servers and for various webmail hosts. For example, Gmail files get stored in .ost files.

Outlook PST File Location

The Guide

This location of these files entirely depends on the version of Outlook installed on your PC. The default file location for Outlook 2007 and 2010 is the AppData folder (at the following location):

However, regardless of your version of Outlook, this service always stores all OST files at that same AppData address.

Ever since the introduction of Outlook 2013, the address of the PST files has been moved to the Documents directory. As a result, at the present moment Outlook 2013 and 2016 keep their PST files in the following location: C:\users\username\Documents\Outlook Files

If you want to check where Outlook stores the data for an account, you can check it from within the Outlook itself.

For users of Outlook 2010, 2013, and 2016:
Open the ‘File’ menu.
Select the ‘Account Settings’ menu.
After that you should go with ‘Account Settings’.

For users of Outlook 2007:
Look for the ‘Account Settings’ feature.
You can find it on the ‘Tools’ menu.

Inside the ‘Account Settings’ dialog you will see a ‘Data Files’ tab.
From there choose the account you need to find the PST files for.
After that hit the ‘Open File Location’ button.
Doing that will load a File Explorer window that shows the folder containing your PST file (or OST file, if you’ve chosen an account that has one).

The way to change the location of a PST File

In case you want to or need to change the location of your Outlook files from your default hard disk, you should know that you can’t just move them to a different address via File Explorer. If you want to move them anyway, you will have to dive into the Windows Registry to set a new location where Outlook will store data files. After that you will be able to move your existing PST file in File Explorer.

Before we proceed with the guide below, we want to warn you not to take that task lightheartedly as Windows Registry is a powerful, but complex tool. You should always back it up before modifying anything inside it. What’s more, you should be extremely careful when you work in such a sensitive environment.

– Open the Registry Editor;

– Once there – you are supposed to use the left sidebar to navigate one of the keys mentioned below, (that depends on the version of Outlook you have):

Outlook 2016 : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Outlook\

Outlook 2013 : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Outlook\

Outlook 2010 : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\

Outlook 2007 : HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Outlook\

– The next step is to set a different value inside the Outlook key relevant to you.
– In order to do that, right-click on the chosen Outlook key.
– Then follow these instructions: New à Expandable String Value.
– Give the new value the name ForcePSTPath.
– Click twice on the newly-set ForcePSTPath value (or ForceOSTPath in case of .ost files ).
– This will  load its Properties window.
– There you should enter the address (where you would like to store new Outlook data files) into the “Value data” box.
– Finish that operation by hitting OK.

After that shut down the Registry Editor.
At that moment Outlook is supposed to create new PST files at the address you set. Also, you may use File Explorer to move the PST file from the previous location to the new one. When you open Outlook again, everything should work as smoothly as before.

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