An overview of Personal Folder [PST] files
Personal Folder files [also known as PST files] are used by Microsoft Outlook to store all of the information which is shown within the main Outlook display - including email, Outlook Contacts, Outlook Calendar, tasks, etc.
Note: if you are operating in a corporate environment that utilizes Microsoft Exchange, then your personal data is usually located within the Exchange server data base. You may, however, also have a Personal Folder file stored locally on your own machine. If you use Exchange and do not have a local Personal Folder - then the balance of the notes below are not applicable to you.
Points to note:
- Most Outlook users have a single Personal Folder which shows in Outlook as "Outlook Today". You may, however have any number of Personal Folders (and hence any number of PST files).
- Outlook 2002 (Outlook XP) and all earlier versions, have a strict limit of 2gb per Personal Folder file. Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 PST files do not have this limitation.
- Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 can use PST files from prior versions of Outlook, but Outlook 2002 (and earlier versions) can not use Outlook 2003/2007/2010 type PST files.
- Care must be taken when transferring the older format PST files to Outlook 2003/2007/2010. If it is done improperly, then all data will be duplicated.
- The Outlook PST files are located in various places -- depending upon the version of Windows in-use at the time. With Outlook 2003/2007/2010 it is simple to see the current location using the menu "File" - "Data File Management".
The PST files (like any file) are subject to corruption and data loss. Hence, if your data is important to you, then it is wise to make a backup copy. The Personal Folder files can be saved manually, but it is much easier and much safer to use the OutBack Plus utility.
An evaluation version of OutBack Plus is available for download.