How to Retrieve Outlook Contacts From a Hard Drive

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Microsoft Outlook contacts are stored in a single PST file or Outlook Data File. This file also contains emails, calendars and other data associated with your Outlook account. Copying the file to another hard drive is enough to backup your contacts. You can then open the PST file directly using any computer with Microsoft Outlook installed if you need to view the contacts and retrieve them to that computer.

  • Connect the hard drive containing the Outlook contacts to your computer if it is an external drive, and launch Microsoft Outlook. Click "File" in the Microsoft Outlook toolbar, and then click "Open & Export." Click "Open Outlook Data File" to bring up the Open Outlook Data File dialog.

  • Browse the drive containing your Outlook contacts. Locate the Outlook Data File, which has a Microsoft Outlook icon. Double-click the file to load the backup to a new Outlook Data File section on the left sidebar.

  • Double-click the new "Outlook Data File" section on the sidebar to expand it. Click "Contacts (This Computer Only)" under this section to see the Outlook contacts stored in the file.

  • Press "Ctrl-A" to select all of the contacts. Drag the selection to the "People" tab on the bottom of the Microsoft Outlook window to retrieve the contacts.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you cannot locate the Outlook Data File, browse to the root of your drive and click the search box on the upper right corner of the Open Outlook Data File dialog. Type "*.pst" (without quotation marks), and wait a few minutes for Windows to locate the file. Double-click the file once it shows up in the results.
  • Information in this article applies to Microsoft Outlook 2013. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.

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