Copying data from old hard disk to new pc system, but i dont understand the outlook.dat files?

Hi there I have a client with a broken PC.

I am copying their data over to a new machine.

I searched for an outlook.pst file but only seemed to come across outlook.dat files?

Are these the same as pst in terms of... if i import the file?

I dont want to corrupt the new installed pc and just wanted to make sense of this before I proceed.

Can anyone let me know about this please


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The outlook.dat files contain no information of your emails or contacts.  These are stored in yout Outlook.pst file.  The default place for these files are in c:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Try doing a manual search for this file.  You may need to, in Explorer, go to Tools > Folder Options > View and select "Show Hidden Files and Folders for this to be visible.

Hope this helps!



Outlook.dat holds user customizations as well as a few other tidbits.  Very hard to transfwer these correctly.

You need the .pst file.  On the old machine, use the MAIL applet in the control panel to locate where the datafile (.pst) is located.
auraorangeAuthor Commented:
ill keep looking, but in the outlook folder there is the .dat file of 160mb, but there is not a pst file in that location, it seems very weird.

back soon...
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version of Outlook?
One more thing ...

If  the client is using exchange and the dilivery location is the exzchnage mailbox, then the .pst file will be on the server. No need to transfer then, just attach the new pc to the old account.

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I also meant version of OS, not Outlook ......

By default when you first run Microsoft Outlook, a Personal Store File or PST will be created. The PST file contains all of your PIM (Calendar, Contacts, Notes, Tasks, Journal) as well as your E-Mail data.
The default location of the PST depends on which version of Microsoft Windows you are running and how Windows itself was installed.

The default locations are as follows:

Windows 95, 98, 98SE, Millennium (Single user mode)
   C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\

Windows 95, 98, 98SE, Millennium (Multi-user mode)
   Windows\Profiles\<Username>\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\

Windows NT 3.51

Windows NT 4.0
   C:\WinNT\Profiles\<Username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\

Windows 2000, XP, 2003
   C:\Documents and Settings\<Username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\


If you are unable to locate your PST file in the default location for your Operating System:

Open Microsoft Outlook
Select View then Go to and choose Outlook Today
Select File point to Folder and click Properties for Personal Folders
Click the Advanced button
The location of your PST is listed in the Path box
Have you tried simply looking for *.pst?  It is possible to not use the default name "outlook" as the pst name.  Also, any chance they may have used outlook express, not outlook?  If that is the case, look for "*.dbx" files.
Actually, the default location is not on the server but on the local disk drive. if there's a pst file, (there's a chance it was never created) you can check where it its by going to FILE>DATA FILE MANAGEMENT and there it should show you where the outlook its mapped from. or maybe search for a .OST file. goodluk
>>>Actually, the default location is not on the server but on the local disk drive.

Well, that's true if they're using a LOCAL pst file.  If they are using the Exchange Mailbox as the default delivery location, then the pst WILL reside on the server.  If you read the comment from @meintsi then you will see that he clearly states this.


auraorangeAuthor Commented:
Thanks it took a bit of working out but you were right
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