Duplicate Personal Folders in Outlook 2003

I have 3 copies of identical data in Oulook.  2 are called 'Personal Folders New' and one is called 'Personal Folders', one of the 'New' ones has an icon including a house and clock, the other 2 both just look like 'folders.  Whatever I do, they still all stay as duplicates.  How can I remove 2 of them.... I went to file/folder... but there is no delete option in outlook 2003.  I also tried control panel/mail/properties/data files, but they dont show up there as separate files to delete

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Greetings, timlangford !


Depending on the type of e-mail account (e-mail account: The server name, user name, password, and e-mail address used by Outlook to connect to an e-mail service. You create the e-mail account in Outlook by using information provided by your administrator or Internet service provider (ISP).)  that you use and whether you have updated your version of Outlook or created your own Personal Folders file (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that stores your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file to be the default delivery location for e-mail messages. You can use a .pst to organize and back up items for safekeeping.), you might see more than one folder with the display name Personal Folders  in your Folder List (Folder List: Displays the folders available in your mailbox. To view subfolders, click the plus sign (+) next to the folder. If the Folder List is not visible, on the Go menu, click Folder List.). The default name of the .pst file that you see in the Folder List is Personal Folders. If you didn't specify a custom display name for your .pst file, you might see two Personal Folders. However, it's easy to customize the display name to prevent confusion.

If you no longer want the duplicate Personal Folders folder and are sure that no new items are being delivered to it, you can remove it from the Folder List. If you want to keep the data in the duplicate Personal Folders folder as a backup, you can rename the folder by using the steps in the "Change the display name for a .pst file" section.

Right-click the Personal Folders  folder that you want to remove, and then click Close "Personal Folders".

Note  If the Close "Personal Folders" command is not available, you are trying to remove the .pst file that is currently set as the default delivery location, which can't be removed.To remove the folder from the Folder List, you must first change the delivery location.

   1. On the Tools menu, click E-mail Accounts.
   2. Click View or change existing e-mail accounts, and then click Next.
   3. In the Deliver new e-mail to the following location list, select where you want new messages delivered.

      If you didn't specify a custom display name for your .pst file, you might see two entries for Personal Folders files. Select the one that is not highlighted. When you click the arrow to show the list of files, click the second Personal Folders entry in the list.
   4. Click Finish.
   5. Exit and then restart Outlook.

Best wishes!
timlangfordAuthor Commented:
Thanks War1, sounds hopeful.  I won't be able to test for a few days now (not my PC we are talking about).  I gather you are saying that closing it is all I need to do.  I still don't get something tho - If I have 3 identical 'perosnal folders' , Am I right that they are NOT separate files at all, and by closing them they are eliminated?

I'm trying to get back to the cleanest possible out look.

Also - apart from file size, is there any other advantage (reliability?) in using Outlook 2003 format?

Great help so far, Tim
Tim, any update?

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timlangfordAuthor Commented:
Been away, not had a chance yet, hope to do so tomorrow.  I've not forgotten and will definitely accept your answer once it is sorted!
timlangfordAuthor Commented:
Hi War1,

I checked and all 3 are called 'personal folders fresh', The 'close personal folders' command is not available on any of them.  They are all exact duplicates.  The top folder picture has clock and hoiuse, the other 2 are just folders.

So, since close does not work, how can I get rid of them?

Right clicking the folder and selecting close Personal Folders should work.  

Do a search for PST file and see if you have 3.  PST file is located in C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder. It is a hidden file, so you have to unhide hidden files. Go to any folder and select Tools > Folders Options > View. Check "Show hidden files and folders". Click OK.

Here are other things to try to remove duplicate PST folders

2) Close Outlook, then right click Outlook Icon on the desktop. Select Properties, select Data Files. Remove the links to the backup .pst file.

3) Under the folder named HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Microsoft Outlook Internet Settings you will have a series of folders with long hexadecimal numbers. Two of the folder will point to your *.pst file. You will next to export one of them (Registry | Export registry) and then delete the exported hexadecimal folder. Start Outlook, if it is fubar. Close outlook and import the registry file you just exported. Export the other hexadecimal folder and delete it. Start Outlook again.

If this is too scary, you can do this.

1) Export the folder named HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Microsoft Outlook Internet Settings

2) Delete the folder named HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Microsoft Outlook Internet Settings

3) Go to the folder named HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\

4) On the right, delete the value named: (Default Profile) "Microsoft Outlook Internet Settings"

Now you can start Outlook. Outlook will start like it is in a first run condition and you will have to open your old *.pst file via a File | Open | Personal Folders. Select View | Folder List. Right click on Personal Folders (the one that doesn't have Outlook Today next to it) and select properties. Near the bottom is a checkbox to have mail delivered to this set of folders, check it. Restart Outlook and you're all set.
timlangfordAuthor Commented:
Hi Again War1

Sorry for the delay.  General crazy life + mother dying makes time a premium.

I just looked in registry to follow your comments as above.  If I go to HKEY_CURRENT USER\Software\Microsoft, there is no directory called Windows Messaging anything.  Therer is no close one either, e.g. the windows directory within it has only 3 files and no sub-folders.

Thought it may help to say also that, although the folder in My Computer is called Outlook.pst, in Mail Setup-outlook / Outlook Data Files, the file is called outlook.pst.pst

Also, any relevance to having 2 windows user profiles running on the PC, each with a copy of outlook on? (not for the PC with this problem on, but on my PC)

Thanks. At snails pace, I am sure we will get there to clean up my outlook


Since you do not have the registry key in the fix, you may want to create a new Outlook profile and a new PST file.  Then drag only the relevant emails and data to the new profile.
timlangfordAuthor Commented:
Sorted and hopefully all accepted as excellent - whicxh it has been, Thanks
Tim, glad everything is sorted.
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