How to Restore Outlook PST Data File in Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007 or 2003

If you have previously backed up your Outlook Data and now you want to restore  your Outlook backup archive (.pst file) to another computer, then read this article to find out how to do this. 

First of all, we remind you, that the best and most reliable way to perform a backup or restore of your Outlook data is to do that manually, and not by using the “Import / Export” capability given by Microsoft Outlook. The reason for doing this manually and the suggested procedure to take a backup of your Outlook data are described in this article: How to Backup Outlook data.

In this tutorial you 'll find detailed instructions on how you can restore Outlook PST data file in in a new Windows installation or another computer. (Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003).

How to Restore Outlook Data (.PST)

Step 1: Open Outlook without creating a new account.

1. Open Outlook application and as Outlook is running for the first time, it asks you to create an account. Bypass this step by choosing No and then Finish.

Restore Outlook PST


Step 2: Locate Outlook Personal folders data file (.pst).

When Outlook runs for first time, creates a new Outlook PST file (e.g. Outlook.pst) to store it's data. Proceed and locate where the PST file is stored on your disk, by following the instructions below: *

* Note 1: By default, Outlook PST file is stored the following location on your computer: **

  • Windows XP:
    C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Windows Vista or 7:
    C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Office 2016, 2013: If you 're using Outlook 2013 (Office 2013) the Outlook data files are stored, by default, at this location:
    C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Outlook Files\<YourEmailAddress>.pst

** Note 2: To be able to view Outlook PST files, enable the Hidden Files View (From Control Panel > open Folder Options and at the View tab, check the “Show Hidden files, folders and drives” option.)

Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013 & 2016: (For Outlook 2003 click here)

–  To locate where Outlook 2016, 2013, 2010 & 2007 stores, your Outlook Data file (.pst):

1. From Outlook's main menu go to File > Info > Account Settings. *

* In Outlook 2007 go to: Tools > Options, click the Mail Setup tab, and then click E-mail Accounts.


2. In Account Settings window, choose Data Files tab and click to Open File Location.


3. Continue to Step 3.

Outlook 2003

–  To locate where Outlook 2003 stores, your Outlook Data file (.pst):

1. From Outlook's main menu, choose Tools > Options

Backup Outlook

2. In Options window choose Mail Setup tab.


3. In Mail Setup tab, choose Data files


4. In Data Files window, choose Open Folder.


5. Continue to Step 3.


Step 3: Restore your Outlook Data files (.PST)

1. Close all open Outlook windows.
2. Then write down the name of the current Outlook PST file. (The default name is: “Outlook.pst”)
3. Rename the Outlook PST file  to any name you want (e.g. to “OutlookEmpty.pst”).




4. Without closing this window, open a new Windows Explorer and find and copy (here) the Outlook PST file from your backup location.
5. Now in Outlook's data store folder, you should have two Outlook PST files named:

  1. Outlook.pst (this is your Outlook PST Data file, from the backup)
  2. OutlookEmpty.pst (this is the empty Outlook PST data file, which is created at Outlook's first time launch)

– Rename (if needed) the Outlook PST backup file to the name you wrote down previously.


7. Now open your Outlook application and you should have successfully restored your Outlook data.
8. The final step, to start working with Outlook, is to set up your e-mail account * and you 're done!

* Note: To setup your email account go to: File > Accounts Settings > New  or  Tools > Account Settings > New if you 're working with Outlook 2007 or 2003.

That it! Let me know if this guide has helped you by leaving your comment about your experience. Please like and share this guide to help others.

If this article was useful for you, please consider supporting us by making a donation. Even $1 can a make a huge difference for us in our effort to continue to help others while keeping this site free: