In Microsoft Outlook, what are personal folder files, and how do I create them?

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In Outlook, a personal folder file is a file with a
.pst extension that is located on your computer’s hard
disk instead of the server. Personal folder files contain messages,
forms, files, and other personal folders. You work with a personal
folder file as you would with any other file. You can save, copy, and
move a .pst file to another location on your computer or a
server. These files allow you to view your read messages when you are
not connected to the server.

Setting up personal folders

  1. In Outlook 2010, click the tab, and then from the drop-down menu, choose .

    In earlier versions, from the menu, select (2007) or (2003).

  2. Select the tab, and then click .
    In Outlook 2003, , click , and then click .

  3. If you only use Outlook to view personal folder
    files, select . If
    you want your personal folder files to be compatible with previous
    versions of Outlook, select . Click .
  4. The Create or Open Outlook Data File window will
    open. From the drop-down menu next to “Save In:”, select a location to store the personal folder file.
  5. In the “Filename:” field, enter a filename for the folder file
    (e.g., Becky's Personal Folder File). A .pst
    extension will be added automatically.

    Note: This is the name for the .pst
    file only. You will need to name the folder separately (see next

  6. Click . You will now see the Create Microsoft
    Personal Folders
    window. The name that you supply here will
    appear among your mail folders in Outlook; use a name that is related
    to the contents of the folder. For example, if you named the
    .pst file Becky's Personal Folder File, then
    you may want to name this folder Becky's Personal Folder.

You can also password-protect your personal folder. If you do not
password-protect the folder, any Outlook user profile can access the
.pst file at any time.

Warning: If you forget your folder password, there is no
way to recover the information in the .pst file.

Using personal folders

You can use personal folder files to save copies of your email,
calendar, and contacts, or to move email off the Exchange server. To
move mail to a personal folder file, right-click the message you wish
to move. From the menu that appears, select
. From the list that appears, select
a folder and click .

Note: Any messages you move to a personal folder
will be removed from the Exchange server and will be available only on
the computer or disk on which you created the .pst file.

You can also move messages by clicking and dragging them to the
appropriate folder. If you wish to copy messages (i.e., leave a copy
in the original folder), drag and drop the
messages into the personal folder. A menu
will appear, allowing you to choose or .

To repair your personal file folders, search the
Microsoft Help and Support web site on the terms outlook .pst

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