Retrieving Outlook 2003messages and contact from a dead hard drive

Posted on 2009-02-18
Last Modified: 2012-05-06
I have a hard drive that went bad and will not boot into windows but I can slave the sata hard drive to another system and get access to it's (hard disk) content. The only thing I want off of the drive is my old email messages and my contacts. Is there anyway to retrieve that information off of the hard drive? Even if I never backup up my messages or contacts?
Question by:rhellinger
    LVL 4

    Expert Comment

    All depends on if cached mode was turned on or if they saved all messages in a local pst file.  Otherwise all nessages will be in their mailbox on the exchange server.
    LVL 2

    Accepted Solution

    Try to look in this folder:
    Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
    Replace <username> by your windows login name.
    This folder should contain an .ost (cached) or .pst (personal) Outlook data file with all mails.
    If it does not then you probably used Exchange mode without caching.
    LVL 97

    Assisted Solution

    Hello rhellinger,

    Were you using Outlook as a standalone computer or connected to Exchange?

    Adding to what Crusader said, the PST or OST contains your emails and contacts.  You can copy it from slave drive to local drive and open it in Outlook.

    PST and OST files are hidden files.  To unhide hidden files adn folders, In Windows XP, open Windows Explorer or any folder.  Click on Tools > Folders Options > View. Check "Show hidden files and folders".  If you want to see system files as well, uncheck Hide protected operating system files.   Click OK.

    In Windows Vista, open Windows Explorer or any folder. Click the Layout button (to the left of the Views button). Click Folder Options > View tab. Check "Show hidden files and folders".   Click OK

    Hope this helps!

    Author Closing Comment

    Thank you guys. I thought that in order to retrieve emails and contacts from a bad hard drive, you would have had to first export a .pst file and save it somewhere so that if things like bad hard drives happen you can simply import the .pst file back into your outlook. I didn't know that it automatically saves a .pst file. Thank you guys again

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