Where Does Microsoft Outlook Store Emails?

By D.L. Hughes

Microsoft Outlook stores emails as PST (personal storage table) files. The location of these files depends on which Microsoft Windows operating system you are using. The default file name is called Outlook.PST. It is important to know where your email files are located when backing up or transferring information. The following provides information on Outlook email file locations for Microsoft Office XP, 2003 and 2007.

Windows XP

Windows XP stores Outlook email files at the following location: C:\\Documents and Settings\\username\\Local Settings\\Application Data\\Microsoft\\OutlookFor all Windows operating systems, the “username” of the file path is variable based on the login name being used. If more than one person uses a computer and each has a different username, each user's email files will be stored in a different location.

Windows Vista

Windows Vista stores Outlook email files at the following location:C:\\users\\username\\Local\\ Application Data\\Microsoft\\Outlook.

Windows 7

Windows 7 is the replacement for Windows Vista and is scheduled for release in October 2009. Based on preliminary testing, Windows 7 stores email files in the same location as Windows Vista.

Why Can't I Find My Email Files?

If you can’t find your email files in the default location, it's usually because the path has been hidden by the default settings of the operating system. To view the default location, click on the \"My Computer\" or \"Computer\" icon, then click on the \"Tools\" menu and select \"Folder Options\". If you can't see the Tools menu in Vista, press the \"ALT\" button once and the Tools menu will be visible. Click the \"View\" tab. Under the \"Hidden Files and Folders\" selection, change the radio button to \"Show Hidden Files and Folders\". Click \"OK\" to close the window and you will be able to see the path to your email files.


Outlook automatically archives email. This means mail is moved to another PST file called Archive.PST. The archive file is also stored in the default file location as noted above.