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Change Default PST Location

A PST file (filename extension - *.pst) is a ‘personal storage table’ file used by Microsoft Outlook to store your personal data such as emails, contacts and schedules. Sometimes you may find that your PST file is too large and that you want to change the default location for your PST files, so that you may allocate more space for them. Furthermore, a system crash or sudden shutdown while you are accessing this file via Outlook could cause it to become corrupted, and thus there is a risk of losing all your personal data. As this is a risk that should not be taken it is important to take measures to backup your PST file before this kind of situation occurs. The method to change the default location for your PST file and how to backup the PST file will be discussed within this article.

How to change the default PST file location

By default, Microsoft Outlook sets the default PST file location to the following folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

To change this location, you must change the ForcePSTPath value in the registry. To accomplish this, the end user is required to conduct the following steps:

  • Quit Outlook.
  • Click Start, and then click Run or hold WinKey+R.
  • In the Open box, type ‘regedit’, and then click OK.
  • Search for the following subkey in the registry.

For Outlook 2003: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook
For Outlook 2002: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook

  • With the Outlook subkey selected in step 4, point to New on the Edit menu, and then click String Value.
  • Type ForcePSTPath, and then press ENTER.
  • With the ForcePSTPath string value selected, click Modify on the Edit menu.
  • In the Value data text box, type the drive letter and the full path of the location that you want Outlook to use when it creates or opens a .pst file, and then click OK.

Once these steps are completed the default location for PST files will have changed. However, this activity should be performed with extreme caution, and it is always best to backup your registry before you try to change the default PST file location

For more information check out our PST Repair site and for repair software check out this PST Repair Software Page