How to import Outlook Data Files (.pst) – the files formally known as Personal Folder Files (.PST)

If you upgrade from Outlook 2007 to Outlook 2010, your .pst files will auto-magically be imported into your Outlook profile.  You don’t need to do anything (beyond upgrading) to get them there.


If you want to do a clean install where you uninstall Outlook and then install Outlook 2010, you may need to manually import your .pst files into your profile.  As with Outlook 2007, it’s easy to do in Outlook 2010 but the commands to do it are in a different spot.

Here is one way to do it in Outlook 2010 Beta:

1.       In Outlook 2010, click the File tab.

2.       Click Open and then click Open Outlook Data File.

3.       Navigate to the .pst file to import and then click Ok.

You’re done! 


If you or your organization isn’t a fan of .pst files, check out the Personal Archive feature with Exchange Server 2010 and Outlook 2010.  As with .pst files, the Personal Archive feature does not affect user’s primary mailbox size.  The difference is that the e-mail archive folders are stored on the Exchange server and can only be accessed while the user is connected to the internet. Users can access their Personal Archive just like a .pst file in Outlook 2010.  Because archived email is stored on the Exchange server users can access it from OWA as well.  For more information about the Personal Archive in Exchange 2010, see Understanding Personal Archive (


You can also disable .pst files in your organization.  In Planning for Messaging Records Management 2010 Help (, see the sections “Limiting Access to PST Files” and “Configure user's systems to prevent moving or copying Exchange mailbox data to PST files”.


And while I’m on the Exchange Server 2010 tangent, you should definitely check out the new features available if you haven’t already.  See Microsoft Exchange 2010 ( and What's New in Exchange Server 2010 (


Happy Office 2010 Beta evaluating!

Comments (62)

  1. Elizabeth – You might want to post this on the Outlook 2010 forum.  You’ll likely get help faster.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It is very useful knowledge to convert outlook to .pst files.

    You can try third party OST to PST also

  3. Micke Styer says:

    While upgrading Microsoft Outlook 2007 to Outlook 2010, I was lost my PST file data due to corruption. But after reading a technical blog I have got an idea about repairing corrupted PST file through Inbox Repair Tool (scanpst.exe). All steps are written in this blog helped me to recover back my damaged PST file data. To follow up such post visit-

  4. leighfraley says:

    Outlook PST Recovery is a reliable solution to repair and recover Outlook personal storage file ‘.PST’. After repair, the contents are restored to a new importable PST file. The application also facilitates the recovery of folders.

    Get More Info:-

  5. Please post your issues to the Outlook 2010 forum:

    Lots of people there to help.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 and Outlook Web App deliver a rich, familiar Web e-mail experience, so your users can work and collaborate more effectively wherever they are. Users can access e-mail, voice mail, instant messaging, SMS text messages, and more—all in one place and through all major Web browsers.…/outlook-web-app.aspx

  7. Please post your issues to the Outlook 2010 forum:…/threads

    Lots of people there to help.

  8. Are you highlighting and selecting the individual .pst file in the folder you’ve navigated to and then clicking "OK"?  Same thing happen with the archive.pst file?  Or does that one work?

  9. RosiHiltons says:

    You can use any third party application to repair and recover old PST files in new PST files. I would like to refer such a software called Kernel for Outlook PST Repair that can repair and save damaged PST files in new one. For more information visit

  10. Anonymous says:

    I followed this process and my data file was imported correctly; however, send/receive never starts – status bar says "preparing to send/receive" perpetually.

  11. Katy Shawn says:

    Very informative article over Outlook PST file import process. Although Outlook is a very popular email client among all users across the world but it also has some flaws that affects the working flow of users. To tackle with such issues, one solution
    is available here – so you can have a look at here to find complete solution.

  12. Jen Jewell says:

    Very help full article @Catherine..

    Also try Scanpst.exe by Microsoft. Where as other specialized Outlook PST recover and repair app recovers all components from PST file. and saves into new PST file. get more information from

  13. Elizabeth F. Hlavac says:

    I’m attempting the first process above – Copying the .pst and archive .pst from my office 2007 laptop onto a flashdrive…

    1.       In Outlook 2010, click the File tab.

    2.       Click Open and then click Open Outlook Data File.

    3.       Navigate to the .pst file to import and then click Ok.

    However, when I click "open Outlook data file" I get the error "the file Outlook.pst is not an outlook data file (.pst).  What am I doing wrong.

  14. Ben says:

    I have downloaded the 2010 beta and want to install it on my primary PC at home as it’s the only way I can truly beta test the products.  

    The one issue I have is the handling of my outlook 2003 PST file.  Will Outlook 2010 simply open this file and use it as it normal or will it need to perform some sort of magical file conversion to a new PST (or other) Outlook format?  If it does do this is there any way I’ll be able to get my PST file back (complete with current emails) when the beta ends (i.e so I can take my PST file and put it back into Outlook 2003)?


  15. John Kurfees says:

    Downloaded Office 2010 Beta, could not access my information. Deleted 2010 and know can’t get office Outlook 2007 to work. What do I need to do? Error message indicates it can’t find data files? Cannot open default folders. Cannot open because a data file to send and receive is not  available.

    Help Thanks,

  16. Lutz911 says:

    Hey Elizabeth, it might be too late at this poing but perhaps this might help someone else…  I ran into the same issue but finally got things to work by doing the following:

    1) On the PST file in question, go to "Properties" -> "Details" -> "Remove Properties and Personal Information"

    2) Go with the defaults of "Create a copy with all possible properties removed" and apply the changes.

    3) After it was done I was able to finally open the resultant file (has a "- copy" appended to the filename) using Outlook 2010.

    I logged this on the before-mentioned forums here:

  17. George says:

    What does OWA mean?

  18. Arkied says:

    Yes, but how to recover 3 months of recent emails NOT converted from 2007 to 2010.

  19. MarcinK al Muzzy says:


    You might know it till now but OWA is:

    Outlook Web Access


    Internet based Outlook application – launches via Internet Explorer




  20. I followed the instructions says:

    I followed the instructions above but I keep getting the message that the pst file I am trying to open isn't a pst file??? It is most definately a PST file I verrified that… Now what? I tried several different ways of importing etc along with the simple way mention here… no luck always says it isn't a PST file…



  21. paula says:

    When I try to import my pst files into outlook 2010 it is asking for a password but I did not put a password on it when I did the back up……has this happened to anyone?

  22. Mike Watson says:

    I met with the same problem on my Win XP SP3 machine. It was working fine and suddenly after the machine reboots, I got the scanpst.exe file. I downloaded the file from this Forum and when I run the program, I got another error message saying "An unexpected error preventing access to this file (my outlook.pst), use the scandisk to fix the check the disk for errors, and then use the Inbox Repair Tools to fix the errors again". I ran the checkdsk with the F (fix errors) options under cmd and after that, I still not able to fix the Outlook error. Any help please!! I am getting despertae with teh Outlook and I have so much my previous mails in it. The Outlook is more than 3.5 GB in size. Thanks for any help that will be offered.

    <a href="">outlook pst repair</a>

  23. Jane Hawn says:

    Have done the above at least 12 times and pst created in 2003 still does not import

  24. outlook pst repair says:

    i was having and <a href="">outlook pst repair</a> issue when I was attempting to open the file that was attached for the scanpst and learned a new methot of finding originally installed version. If you right click the .PST file, then click "open with" you will get a dialog box. Click the down pointing arrow to the right of "other programs" and then click on browse. Now double click microsoft office, double click office 12, then scroll down the list to scanpst and double click it. Scanost is right above it and has the same icon….a ripped envelope.

  25. lorigonzo says:

    I want to import one pst into another pst file in Outlook 2010. I cannot find any information on this.

  26. Karen Coffey says:

    When I go to open and pst file it tells me there is nothing to view. Then when I go to import and try to import it tells me that the pst file is all ready in use. I am not sure what else I can do to get these e-mails moved. I was able to do my contacts and calender with no problems.

  27. Fayne says:

    I'm trying to copy/move my pst files from a XP pc to a W7 laptop but keep getting an error message when importing to the laptop help

  28. Seamus says:

    I just installed MS Outlook 2010 on new computor with Windows 7 and can not open Outlook files I exported on to the new computor or export them into Outlook 2010 as I need to have old outlook to open the files. Please help.

  29. Bob Kirkham says:

    Just converted 2007 to 2010 Outlook.  Everything appears fine except that some folders created to isolate emails no longer appear, i.e. new folders were created in 2007 to organize emails and for easier retrieval.  Any insight on this would be helpful. Did to recommended upgrade path.

  30. Giorgi says:

    how can i import my old mails to my new exchange server Data file? I tried dragging and dropping but imported mails only remain on my computer. What can i do to synchronize my local mail database with exchange data store?

  31. Doug says:

    I don't want to "open an export of 2007 pst in 2010, I want to "import" it, so it becomes my primary pst file.  But when I attempt to do this, it says the file has an error.  Has this happened to anyone in the past, and how do I remedy it?

  32. sarah says:

    I've installed OUtlook 2010 and successfully imported my 2007 files. HOWEVER, the directories have not imported and I have emails from 2008 – 2012 to redistribute.

    Any ideas?

    ALSO, archive files are not importing?!



  33. Mary Ann Lawford says:

    When I open my contact manager in Outlook 2010 the contact list is there but when I click on it I get an error that says the contact is missing.  I am doing this from a backup file of my 2007 Outlook into my new 2010 Outlook.  What is going wrong ?    Thanks for your help.

  34. Ibrahim Migdad says:





  35. JimSarkah says:

    Hi Ibrahim,

    As we know that Outlook stores all email information in PST file. If you need to shift your email data from One PC to other than you can simply use Outlook Import & Export Wizard. It will help you to create backup data from One PC and you can easily import email item in New PC outlook profile.

  36. Joe San says:

    Dear All,

    Please note that sometimes when you import from 2007 into 2010, the outlook fails to send/receive and says can't read data file. You should delete your account, recreate it and in the manual setup, there is an option when you sets the outlook to use existing data file. Then you should browse your data file and everything will be working afterwards.

  37. bill says:

    how about importing a pst file into another pst file – Outlook 2010??

  38. bill says:

    so its actually, File tab, Options, Advanced, Export.

    the Export button gives the import features as well. just the older Outlooks.

  39. arun says:

    Thanks very much. Appreciate this information.

  40. Bob Hyatt says:

    opening pst did nothing.

    I archvived an account and deleted it from outlook.

    when I did file -> open -> open pst file -> clicked on file (265Kb in size)

    nothing happened.

  41. Incomplete says:

    When most people think of importing a file… they think it has something to do with actually importing data.

    For example … if you haev an exchaneg account and want to bring in pst data . … this is just opening a pst file. not importing it.

  42. duminda says:

    I have copied 2007 pst to 2010.When click send and receive old mails again come from server.please help….

  43. outlook pst repair says:

    How can i import my old mails to my new exchange server Data file? Its really so interesting matter to discuss..I've shared it with so many guys too, they also got it so informative and useful…

  44. carl says:

    thank you.  that worked perfectly

  45. Souman says:

    I would suggest this application to recover your outlook files. I personally tried and it worked like a charm

  46. jakehurt52 says:

    Work with ost/pst files by using ost to pst converter

    OST to PST Converter Toolbox contains a lot of handy solutions

    For more info

  47. Lalith says:

    It worked like a charm..

  48. wimonwan says:

    thank you very much, you are more clever my IT Dept

  49. Phil says:

    I am moving from one computer to a another and downloaded my outlook archived emails on a flash drive, how do i install them on new computer in outlook ?

  50. Muhammad Irfan Aslam says:

    I am trying for Load outlook emails without pst file, but due to increase in size, its say to Delete some files to load, can someone guide how to load it

  51. Gene DeVito says:

    You guys are great! Your information was invaluable, thank you.
    Showcase Television Network, Inc.

  52. Febbie Malherbe says:

    When I want to import my pst file to Outlook I get the message 'The Personal Folder file(.pst) is already in use in the current profile.' How do I continue with the import. thank you very much for any advice.

  53. sowjanya says:

    Thank you very much.
    This information was helpful.

  54. Gabe Rosario says:

    Is there a way to add a corrupt PST file back to your profile. We are testing backup software and want to see the affects of a corrupt PST file. It won't let me add it because it's corrupt. Is there a way around the error a to let me add it to my data

  55. Sally Ricks says:

    I have been using MS Outlook 2013. The option to open PST file is same, File >> Open & Export >. Open Data File

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