How to View a PST File


Used by Microsoft Outlook, Personal Storage Table (PST) files are data files used to store your personal messages, contacts and other information within the email application. The files have a ".pst" extension and are stored on your computer's hard drive. PST files can also be exported to a CD or DVD for backup purposes. You can easily view the contents of a PST file using Microsoft Outlook.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Open Outlook by clicking on the program's icon on your computer's desktop or by clicking "Start," "All Programs," "Microsoft Outlook."

  • Click "File," then "Open."

  • Click on "Personal Folders file (.pst)."

  • Navigate to the directory containing the PST file you want to view. Click on the ".pst" file's name to select it.

  • Click "OK." The PST file's folder name will open in the Outlook application window under the Folder List. Click on the folder's name to view the individual elements of the PST file.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you can't locate the PST file you want to view, click "Start," then "My Computer." Click "Tools" on the main toolbar of the open window. Click "Folder Options," then click on the "View" tab. Click on the circle next to the wording "Show hidden files and folders" under the heading "Hidden files and folders" to deselect this option so you can view PST files that are hidden. Click "Apply," then "OK." Complete steps 2 through 7 to open and view the PST file you want.
  • Once you are finished viewing the file, click "Start," then "My Computer." Click "Tools," then "Folder Options." Click on the "View" tab. Click on the circle next to the wording "Do not show hidden files and folders" under the heading "Hidden files and folders" to hide files again. Click "Apply," then "OK."

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