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Outlook Data File NOT PST File - Accessing

Hi All

Hoping for a solution to this one, i have read past comments on similar situations so far to no avail, also read all i can find at Microsoft.com

Have Windows XP Pro running with MS Office XP.

Outlook file has thrown up an error now when opening "can not open Folder, Folder not available see Administrator if it continues" or similar........

No Exchange server running, Have located the original profile "outlook" have created a new profile "Outlook1" but can not import nor open the Outlook file, just keeps returning this file is not a PST file, yet it is happy to state it is an Outlook Data File.

Client hasnt backed up! "god they never do!!!"  how do we access the Data file and import or once again open the old file so he can have his history and emails ... some Government emails and Tax files he can not afford to lose (yes i know and told him well back up then!!)

Any help is greatly appreciated.

OutlookMicrosoft Applications

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8/22/2022 - Mon

Greetings, Benny1967 !

Look for the PST file where emails are stored in the old profile. The file default location is in C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\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.

Best wishes!

Hi War1

thanks for that but i have found the file as stated above just outlook is not recognising it as a pst file, when i go to import it says "this file is not a pst file" yet it is.............

any other clues?

Are you logged in as administrator?  You may need to take ownership of the old profile folder and files.

HOW TO: Take Ownership of a File or Folder in Windows XP
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William Peck

yep, its not a permissions thing, its that Outlook doesnt recognise its own file as a pst file, in properties it claims to be an Outlook Data File however it will not import or open, just says "not pst file", i have tried moving file to another machine to import, same issue.


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How big is the file?  If it's two gig and used with an older version of Outlook, you may have to try war1's suggestion in regards to recovering or repairing.  If you run the scan pst utility, does it still see it as an incorrect file type?

Outlook uses a database format devised by Microsoft known called PST.   Offline use also uses a form of PST called an OST. Sometimes things go wrong with large files. PSTs are no exception.


As mentioned by kjanicke Outlook data files are two types - .PST and .OST

Both are shown as Outlook Data File in file properties, but if you view them through the command prompt you can see the actual file extensions. Check these and veirfy that you are opening the .PST file, not the .OST file.

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Hi all

yes have already verified that i am using the PST file, will run the repair tools over it soon and see if that helps.. file size is 774meg

will leave results here soon




If the user tried to open the file in notepad or some other type of editor, it may have corrupted the file.

Just as a bit of added info, it is actually possible to recover deleted items from a PST with a hex editor.  But this will corrupt the file, and you have to run the scan pst utility afterwards.

Good luck!!  Our users never back-up either.

Thanks War1

just ran tool over file and was able to import it ....

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