How to Find an Outlook Contacts File

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Microsoft Outlook is an email client included with the Office Suite of applications for Windows. When you use Outlook, the operating system saves your files in the "Documents and Settings" directory for your user name. This directory saves some user-specific configurations, including the contact files used in your Outlook installation. Each Outlook file can be identified by its extension. Contacts are saved with the ".pab" file extension.


Step 1

Double-click the "My Computer" icon on the desktop. If you have Vista, the icon is labeled "Computer." This opens an Explorer window.

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Step 2

Navigate to the "C:\Documents and Settings<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook" directory. Replace "" with your user name logged into the machine.


Step 3

Locate the file with the ".pab" extension. This extension stands for "personal address book." This is the file that contains your Outlook contacts.


Step 4

Click the Windows Start button and select "Search." Enter "*.pab" into the search text box. This searches your entire hard drive for all locations of any file with the personal address book extension. This is a secondary method to find contact files in case your Outlook settings save the pab file in a different location.




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