Outlook 2007 whose .PST file is 19GB

I have a user here who has a 19GB PST file in Outlook 2007 on a Windows 7 system.

Needless to say, Outlook is behaving slow and there are all sorts of spurious error messages popping up.

The use does not want to "start again" because they want to look back at old emails depending
on which job they are working on.

What solution do you recommend?
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Assuming that there are emails in there from several years, I'd create new pst files, one for each year and copy mails from that big pst to the new 'yearly' pst files.
yo_beeDirector of Information TechnologyCommented:
By default PST have a max limit of 20 GB and warnings start around 19 GB.
There is a reg hack that will allow the PST to grow to 50 GB as a Max.


here are the settings

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Open in new window

Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Create one or more new PST files and move messages there until you get it down to a reasonable size. Outlook 2007 has the standard concept of "Archive Folders" which is typically in a file called archive.pst. But there's no reason why you can't make as many PST files as you want — and your user may open them in Outlook 2007 via File>Open>Outlook Data File (and leave them open so all of the messages are readily available). I recently did this for a user by creating several PST files (via File>New>Outlook Data File) for past years. The file names were 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013. She kept her 2014 and 2015 messages in her Outlook.pst file, but moved all of the 2010 through 2013 messages into the corresponding PST file. This got her main Outlook.pst file down to less than 1GB. Regards, Joe
Determine the Perfect Price for Your IT Services

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden with our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Download your free eBook now!

Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
@Joe - Nice comment, basically what I'm suggesting ;)
furunoAuthor Commented:
Ok so I create a new PST file then what? I will still have this 19GB albatross lurking in the
background. How do I "break it up"?
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
You copy (or move) from the big file to the smaller files. Moving will shrink the big file. Copying will not. After copying all to new files, archive/backup/delete the big file. You should create multiple new pst files for this.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Yes, Gerwin, and you've been around EE long enough to why it happens. :)  For those who don't know why, I click the link in an email as soon as I see a question that interests me, which opens it in a browser tab, then I usually take several minutes to write the response, sometimes testing my proposed solution to make sure it works, sometimes capturing screenshots, etc. I do everything offline in my fav text editor, then copy/paste into the open browser tab. Sometimes I remember to hit Refresh first, usually not, so I don't see other posts until after I clicked the Submit button. In fact, sometimes the question has already been closed by the time I hit the Submit button! Regards, Joe
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
@Joe - Yes I know how this happens ;) I suggested a while ago to refresh the question once you press 'Preview' so you would see (in the background) if there are new comments to the question. So you would have a chance to change your comment before submitting.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> Ok so I create a new PST file then what? I will still have this 19GB albatross lurking in the background. How do I "break it up"?

You move (not copy) messages from the 19GB albatross into the new PST file(s). Then you do File>Folder>Properties for "the albatross", click the Advanced button, then the Compact Now button. This will reduce the size of the albatross now that you've moved (not copied) the messages out of it. Regards, Joe

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
furunoAuthor Commented:
ok thanks

Is "compact now" is fairly safe to use without use whinging next week
that an email from 2010 is missing :)?
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Compacting is freeing up unused space in the pst archive, it should not delete anything. Copy/backup that big file if you have to or if you feel unsure.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
While you were writing that reply, I captured a screenshot for you:

Comapct Now PST
Thought it might help.

I would make a backup of the albatross before doing anything. If something goes awry, either with moving messages or compacting the folder, you want to be able to recover it easily. I've never had Compact Now fail, but I've also never used it on a 19GB file. My strong recommendation — back it up! Regards, Joe
furunoAuthor Commented:
ok, Gerwin and Joe.

Thanks for taking the time to write up that excellent advice.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome, furuno, happy to help. I see that you addressed your thanks to both Gerwin and me, and I think that's appropriate, but you gave all 500 points to me. I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to request an Admin to re-open the question so that you may re-close it, this time splitting the points between Gerwin and me, as I think we were both helpful in getting you to a solution. If you don't know how to split points by accepting multiple comments, here's an EE Help article explaining it:

Regards, Joe
furunoAuthor Commented:
No problem!

As soon as the Admin, re-opens the question I will do a 50/50 points split.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
> I will do a 50/50 points split.

That's very appropriate!
Gerwin Jansen, EE MVETopic Advisor Commented:
Thanks Joe and furuno ;)
furunoAuthor Commented:
Just a quick one.

When the emails are imported into new .PST via "moving" and not "copying" how is
this distinction made in Outlook?

Because I have created new .PST now and File > import seems to be only method (for transporting
messages from the old PST to new PST) ?
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
Do not use import! Do Edit>Move to Folder.
furunoAuthor Commented:
ok edit> move to folder I see that now


Thanks Joe.
Joe Winograd, Fellow&MVEDeveloperCommented:
You're welcome. Let us know how big the albatross becomes after you move out lots of messages and compact it.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.