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Outlook PST 1.5GB getting slow and glitchy

gump2k asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-05
version: Microsoft Outlook 2002

My PST has reached 1.5GB in size, and Outlook is starting to crash every other day or so, having to restart in safe mode etc.

I've heard that when a PST reaches a certain size it will completely lock up, so I need to do something now.

What should I do, I dont want to manually go through and delete big attachments etc.........
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You should use the Archive option available in the file menu to Archive items older than lets say (decide on a suitable cut off date for you) December 31, 2005.

What will happen here is that the pst file items older than the date above will be archived to the default archive file (another pst) or to a location of your choosing.

It's basically removing the old items.

Hope this is helpful to you.

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will i still be able to access these/will google desktop seacrh still find them?

Forgot to mention, once archiving starts you need to allow it to run itself through and complete. You will be able to see archiving ... at the bottom right hand corner within the outlook window.

It's better if you could back up the Archive file as well. Later when you need to you could access your prior emails as well.

not sure about Google though...

You access the email by right clicking personal folder and selection Open Outlook Data file or similar option and then browsing and locating your archived pst file.

Hi Gump,

Is the PST file on a network drive? PST files are not optimized (and not even supported) to run from a network drive. See http://support.microsoft.com/kb/297019/

The PST file size limit is 2 GB, but that doesn't really affect speed. Once it reaches 2 GB, the file will be corrupt, period.

Archiving is an option, it will basically move older items to a second PST file you can use. I would really advise you to do a search for the messages with the largest attachments, and save them to the hard drive outside the PST file. Keep in mind that you only have to save a couple of large attachments to bring the PST file size back a few hundred megabytes.

You don't have to go through the mails manually, just open Advanced Find and open the tab More options. Run a search for messages larger than 10,000 KB or something. Maybe there's a lot of duplicate items, which is even easier to clean up.
Top Expert 2008

Greetings, gump2k !
>> will i still be able to access these/will google desktop seacrh still find them?

Yes, Google Desktop search will be able to find archive email.  Google Desktop will have to re-index the database, so it can find archive email.

>> What should I do, I dont want to manually go through and delete big attachments etc...

You can use Outlook Advanced Search to find emails with large attachment. Delete them or archive, as you choose.  

Make sure to compact the folder, or the free up space will not show.  In Outlook, go to File > Outlook Data Files. Highlight the account. Click Settings > Conpact Now.

Best wishes!
Top Expert 2008


We have not heard from you in awhile. Did any comment help you solve your problem? Do you have any more question? If an Expert helped you, please accept his/her answer above with an excellent or good grade.

Thanks, war1


Sorry for the delay

I have now tried archiving, twice, everything from before 2003 into 1 archive file, and everything then before 2004 into another. These files have been created, at around 80MB each, but the main PST file has not reduced in size???

To reduce the file size you'll have to compress the file.

In the Outlook Folder list, open the Properties of the PST file. There should be a button that says 'Compress now'. That will reduce the file size.
Top Expert 2008
>> These files have been created, at around 80MB each, but the main PST file has not reduced in size???

After you moved the emails, compress the folders.  Then you will be able to gain the size.  

Hit View, Folder List, and you can click on "Personal Folders" to see Outlook Today, or drag it over to the Shortcut bar to restore it's icon. In either case, right click on that and you'll also find Properties, and the Advanced button which has the Compact Now button for compression.
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