Locating the Outlook data files

There may be times when you need to find your Outlook .pst file — for example, when you have a new computer and need to transfer your messages, calendars, contacts, tasks, or notes, or when your computer has crashed and you've lost some of your Outlook data. Here’s a list of places where Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016 save backed-up information on your computer.

Backed-up emails, calendars, contacts, tasks, and notes (.pst)

An Outlook Data File (.pst) contains your backed-up email messages, calendars, contacts, tasks, and notes, and can be stored in one of the following default locations:

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

  • drive:\Users\<username>\Roaming\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

  • drive:\Users\<username>\Documents\Outlook Files

  • drive:\Users\<username>\My Documents\Outlook Files

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Tip: Can't find a subfolder (such as AppData) mentioned below? It might be hidden by Windows. Learn how to unhide folders and file name extensions.

Offline or cached Outlook items (.ost)

Email accounts, such as Microsoft Exchange, Outlook.com, or IMAP keep your mail on a server. The Offline Outlook Data File (.ost) is a synchronized copy of the account saved on your computer, and is stored in one of the following default locations, based on the client version and the Outlook account type:

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Note:  All the data in the .ost file is kept on the server, so you don’t have to back it up. Your account server synchronizes the .ost file on your computer to keep your Outlook items current.

Personal Address Book (.pab)

Personal Address Book (.pab) files are lists of names and distribution lists, used in Outlook 2003 and earlier versions. To use them in Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016 for Windows, convert the files from one of the following default locations into a contacts folder by clicking File > Open & Export > Import or Import/Export.

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

  • drive:\Documents and Settings

Offline Address Book (.oab)

The Offline Address Book (.oab) is used by Microsoft Exchange Server accounts. It contains information, such as names, e-mail address, titles, and office locations, from the Global Address List (GAL) on an organization’s Exchange server.

You don't have to back up or restore this file as it is created and updated automatically by the server. It's stored in the following default locations, based on the client version and the Outlook account type:

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Other Outlook Data

This section shows file locations by file type:

Navigation Pane settings (.xml)

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Outlook\profile name.xml

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\profile name.xml

Registered Microsoft Exchange extensions (.dat)

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Print styles (Outlprnt with no extension)

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Signatures (.rtf, .txt, .htm)

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures

Stationery (.htm)

  • drive:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery

  • drive:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\ Microsoft Shared\Stationery

  • drive:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery

Custom forms

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Forms

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Forms

Dictionary (.dic)

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\UProof

Templates (.oft)

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

Send/Receive settings (.srs)

  • drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Message (.msg, .htm, .rtf)

  • drive:\Users\<username>\Documents

  • drive:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents

How to unhide folders and file name extensions

Some of the folders might be hidden folders, and Windows might have file name extensions (such as .pst, .ost, .pab) turned off. To show hidden folders and file name extensions, do the following:

  1. Open Control Panel.

    • In Windows 10, right-click the Start button, and then click Control Panel.

    • In Windows 8, press the Windows key + X, then click Control Panel.

    • In Windows 7, click Start > Control Panel.

  2. In the View by list, make sure either Large icons or Small icons is selected so that you can see all the icons in Control Panel.

  3. Click Folder Options.

  4. Click the View tab.

  5. In the Advanced settings box:

    1. Under Files and Folders, uncheck the Hide extensions for known file types box

    2. Under Hidden files and folders, click the Show hidden files, folders, and drives button.

    3. Click OK.

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