How to import .pst file data into Outlook

Microsoft Outlook automatically stores messages, contacts, appointments, tasks, notes, and journal entries in one of the following two locations:

  • In a personal storage folder, also known as a .pst file, on your hard disk drive. C:\Documents and Settings\profilename\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.pst
  • In a mailbox that is located on the server. Your mailbox is located on a server if you use Outlook with Microsoft Exchange Server.

You can use a backup of your .pst file to restore or move your Outlook data if you experience a hardware failure, lose data unexpectedly, have to transfer data from one computer to another computer, or have to transfer data from one hard disk drive to another hard disk drive.

How to back up Personal Address Books

Your Personal Address Book might contain e-mail addresses and contact information that is not included in an Outlook Address Book or contact list. The Outlook Address Book can be kept either in an Exchange Server mailbox or in a .pst file. However, the Personal Address Book creates a separate file that is stored on your hard disk drive. To make sure that this address book is backed up, you must include any files that have the .pab extension in your backup process.

You can use this backup to restore your Personal Address Book to your computer or transfer it to another computer. Follow these steps to restore the Personal Address Book:

  1. Close any messaging programs such as Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, or Windows Messaging.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run. Copy and paste (or type) the following command in the Open box, and then press ENTER:
    control panel

    Control Panel opens.

    Note If you see the Pick a category screen, click User Accounts.

  3. Double-click the Mail icon.
  4. Click Show Profiles.
  5. Click the appropriate profile, and then click Properties.
  6. Click Email Accounts.
  7. Click Add a New Directory or Address Book, and then click Next
  8. Click Additional Address Books, and then click Next.
  9. Click Personal Address Book, and then click Next.
  10. Type the path and the name of the Personal Address Book file that you want to restore, click Apply, and then click OK.
  11. Click Close, and click then OK.

Note The Outlook Address Book is a service that the profile uses to make it easier to use a Contacts folder in a Mailbox, Personal Folder File, or Public Folder as an e-mail address book. The Outlook Address Book itself contains no data that has to be saved. 

Microsoft Outlook automatically stores messages, contacts, appointments, tasks, notes, and journal entries in one of the following two locations:

  • In a personal storage folder, also known as a .pst file, on your hard disk drive.
  • In a mailbox that is located on the server. Your mailbox is located on a server if you use Outlook with Microsoft Exchange Server.

You can use a backup of your .pst file to restore or move your Outlook data if you experience a hardware failure, lose data unexpectedly, have to transfer data from one computer to another computer, or have to transfer data from one hard disk drive to another hard disk drive.

How to import .pst file data into Outlook

You can use the backup copy of your .pst file to restore your Outlook data if the original .pst file is damaged or lost. Everything that is saved in the .pst file is returned to Outlook.

Follow these steps to restore, or import, your data into Outlook:

  1. If the .pst file that you want to import is stored on a removable device, such as a floppy disk, a portable hard disk drive, a CD-ROM, a magnetic tape cassette, or any other storage medium, insert or connect the storage device, and then copy the .pst file to the hard disk drive of the computer.When you copy the .pst file, make sure that the Read-Only attribute is not selected. If this attribute is selected, you might receive the following error message:
    The specified device, file, or path could not be accessed. It may have been deleted, it may be in use, you may be experiencing network problems, or you may not have sufficient permission to access it. Close any application using this file and try again.

    If you receive this error message, clear the Read-Only attribute, and then copy the file again.

  2. Open Outlook.
  3. On the File menu, click Import And Export. If the command is not available, rest the pointer over the chevrons at the bottom of the menu, and then click Import and Export.
  4. Click Import from another program or file, and then click Next.
  5. Click Personal Folder File (.pst), and then click Next.
  6. Type the path and the name of the .pst file that you want to import, and then click Next.
  7. Select the folder that you want to import. To import everything in the .pst file, select the top of the hierarchy.
  8. Click Finish.

Personal Address Books

Your Personal Address Book might contain e-mail addresses and contact information that is not included in an Outlook Address Book or contact list. The Outlook Address Book can be kept either in an Exchange Server mailbox or in a .pst file. However, the Personal Address Book creates a separate file that is stored on your hard disk drive. To make sure that this address book is backed up, you must include any files that have the .pab extension in your backup process.

You can use this backup to restore your Personal Address Book to your computer or transfer it to another computer. Follow these steps to restore the Personal Address Book:

  1. Close any messaging programs such as Outlook, Microsoft Exchange, or Windows Messaging.
  2. Click Start, and then click Run. Copy and paste (or type) the following command in the Open box, and then press ENTER:
    control panel

    Control Panel opens.

    Note If you see the Pick a category screen, click User Accounts.

  3. Double-click the Mail icon.
  4. Click Show Profiles.
  5. Click the appropriate profile, and then click Properties.
  6. Click Email Accounts.
  7. Click Add a New Directory or Address Book, and then click Next
  8. Click Additional Address Books, and then click Next.
  9. Click Personal Address Book, and then click Next.
  10. Type the path and the name of the Personal Address Book file that you want to restore, click Apply, and then click OK.
  11. Click Close, and click then OK.

Note The Outlook Address Book is a service that the profile uses to make it easier to use a Contacts folder in a Mailbox, Personal Folder File, or Public Folder as an e-mail address book. The Outlook Address Book itself contains no data that has to be saved.

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