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Cannot find my local .PST file

Posted on 2011-02-15
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
Although my account in Outlook is set to run in cached mode, I cannot find my .PST file locally on my XP WS. It is supposed to be in C:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook, but there are only a couple of older ones there.

Yes, I am looking under the correct user...

How can this be?

I also switched the cached mode on on a Vista WS, and could see the PST file building up as it was "cached".

Server: SBS 2003
Windows: 2003 SP2
WS: Windows XP Professional V.2002 SP3

Any ideas?
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Question by:SmallBuisNisse
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11 Comments
 
LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34895234
When you run in cached Exchange mode, Outlook creates an .ost file not a .pst file, so looking for a .pst will find nothing at all.
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LVL 16

Expert Comment

by:Carol Chisholm
ID: 34895237
Have you chosen to Display Hidden Items
( Tools - Folder options - View - Show Hidden files?
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Author Comment

by:SmallBuisNisse
ID: 34895911
I know. Sorry should've said pst/ost. The same goes for the ost file. It is old.

Caroichi; yes.

What I aim to do is to backup my PST files prior to a planned SBS server re-install.
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 34895931
An .OST is completely different to a .PST.  If you use Cached Exchange mode - you have an .OST file not a .PST file.

If you want a copy of your Exchange mail - export your mail to a .PST file and place it somewhere you can find, like the desktop.
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Expert Comment

by:Carol Chisholm
ID: 34895936
In Outlook , look in Account settings Data files and check the location.

If it is an OST then your data is on the server and you will ahve to EXPORT it to a PST.

However if it is an OST your Exchange backup should handle that too. And your server migration plan.
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Expert Comment

by:Larry Struckmeyer MVP
ID: 34896198
One more thing about an ost file.  If the exchange server is lost it can be used to create a pst file, or, if the *same* store comes back on line you will sync any changes, as though you were on an airplane.

but if you disjoin from the domain, that ost is orphaned and all its contents are lost.  So be careful if you are planning to create a new domain.  As Alan has pointed out you need to copy your exhange mail box to a local pst file before you take down the existing SBS or any exchange server.
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Author Comment

by:SmallBuisNisse
ID: 34896363
Ok, what I find on the SBS is a few old .pst files, but not the current users files. This is all very confusing... I don't feel comfortable working with this, as the pst files seem so illusive!

It is my understanding that the pst files should be exported from the server to a safe place during the upgrade. But, how?
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Accepted Solution

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Alan Hardisty earned 250 total points
ID: 34896414
Are you listening to anything that I have said so far?

If you work in cached Exchange Mode - you don't use a .PST file, so searching for one won't reveal anything because you are looking for something that doesn't exist.

To produce a .PST file from a cached exchange client, you need to open up outlook, expert the mailbox to a .PST file and then you have your .PST file.  At present, all you have is an .OST file, which is a locally cached copy of your mail that lives on the server.
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Author Comment

by:SmallBuisNisse
ID: 34896874
According to Microsoft: Outlook users use two types of Outlook datafiles. an Outlook-datafile (PST) that stores messages and other elements on the computer.... To be able to access your messages etc. when not connected to the email server, another file type is created called Offline Outlook-datafile (OST). The file on the harddrive that contains a copy of the email messages and Outlook elements.

Understanding that the .PST file was non-existent on the ws when running in cached mode, I assumed that it at least was still existing on the server, as the .OST file supposedly should consist of copies of the actual messages etc.

See also "Outlook Data File (.pst and .ost) locations"
http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/outlook-help/introduction-to-outlook-data-files-pst-and-ost-HA010354876.aspx?CTT=1

I also read that exporting to a pst file from Outlook had to be done folder by folder. No wonder one gets confused, but hey, this is what we learn from...

One thing is what the experts say, another thing is that we lesser subjects understand it, and what it entails... Thank you for bearing with me! OST file is now in the making on my ws.
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Author Closing Comment

by:SmallBuisNisse
ID: 34896889
Thank you!
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Author Comment

by:SmallBuisNisse
ID: 34896910
Thank you also to Flyfisher and Carolchi for taking an interest!
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