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How-Do I:   change my Outlook .pst file from .PST format to Unicode format?

Posted on 2006-06-20
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I was told that the MAX. file size an Outlook .PST can be is about (1.9xGB) in .PST file format.
I was told that if the .pst file was in Unicode format, then there is NO FILE size limit (or it was something like 5 GB).

Can you please answer the following questions:

1.  What do I have to do to 'convert' an existing .pst file (1.6 or so GB) from .pst format to unicode format?
2.  Would the 'new' unicode format file still be called a .pst?  Would it still have the .pst file extension?
3.  What is the trade-off when going from .pst to unicode?
4.  If your unicode file can be 5 GB, and your .pst files can be 2GB ... why doesn't everyone switch to unicode for more room?
5.  What is the step-by-step process I go through to start using unicode format for my .pst files instead of the MS .pst file format?
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Question by:pugdog_fan
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Dufo G. Belski earned 1000 total points
ID: 16944731
1.  You can't convert it.  You'll have to create a unicode PST and copy everything from the old pst to the new pst.
2.  Yes.
3.  None I'm aware of.
4.  Unicode is only available in Outlook 2003.  And your pst can actually be over 20 GB.
5.  Tools, Email accounts, add or change, new Outlook data file, select OL 2003 format.

http://www.outlookpower.com/issues/issue200408/00001350001.html
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Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 16945379
Greetings, pugdog_fan !

To add to what asycokid said, you asked, "3.  What is the trade-off when going from .pst to unicode?"

You only use unicode PST only in Outlook 2003.  You cannot read unicode PST in Outlook 2002 and earlier versions.

If you do not want to purchase Outlook 2003, then you have make due with Outlook old PST format, ansii.  Ansii formatted PST file will hold 1.97 GB email.  You can archive the emails in the old PST file.
http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;290847

You can divide up the PST file to smaller PST file, say one for each year.
http://pubs.logicalexpressions.com/Pub0009/LPMArticle.asp?ID=52

Large PST file can easily get corrupted.  So creating and managing smaller PST files is recommended.

Best wishes!
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Author Comment

by:pugdog_fan
ID: 16947662
Cool .... got it ...

Here is the LAST issue then (and I will close out this question) ...

If I have a .PST on a system, is there anyway to 'tell' if it in ANSII or UNICODE file format?

We have a system here that we 'think' we created the .pst in UNICODE, but we are not sure ...
We didn't want to be back in the same boat again (when the file gets to 2 GB ... only to learn we thought it was unicode ... but it was still ansii format).

I read the URL link you provided, and that was GREAT!  The only thing it didn't really talk about is how to determine the existing .PST file type.

Thanks!

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Assisted Solution

by:war1
war1 earned 1000 total points
ID: 16947681
# On the Tools menu, click Options.
# Click Mail Setup, and then click Data Files.
# Click the data file you want to check, and then click Settings.
# Check the Format field to see if it contains the string Personal Folders file or Personal Folders file (97-2002). Personal Folders file indicates the new format that supports multilingual Unicode (Unicode: A character encoding standard developed by the Unicode Consortium. By using more than one byte to represent each character, Unicode enables almost all of the written languages in the world to be represented by using a single character set.) data and offers greater storage capacity for items and folders. A file with the Personal Folders file type is not compatible with earlier versions of Microsoft Outlook. Personal Folders file (97-2002) indicates the earlier format that is compatible with earlier versions of Outlook.

Reference: http://office.microsoft.com/en-au/assistance/HP010435561033.aspx
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Expert Comment

by:war1
ID: 16975492
pugdog_fan,

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
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