How to Create a PST File to Archive Outlook Email

Creating A Personal Folder in Microsoft Outlook

Since email server storage is extremely expensive, it’s useful to be able to retain old, low value emails without having to manually save them out to the hard drive as individual files. Instead, you can save old emails in what Microsoft calls a personal storage folder or PST file.

You can either set this to run using the AutoArchive option or you can manually move your old emails (and any other Outlook item) into the PST. The former is a little advanced and should only be attempted when the manual method becomes too cumbersome.

Please note that any email you move into the PST will not be accessible from any other PC as they will be stored on your local C: drive. As such, they also are not automatically backed up unless you choose to store the file somewhere that is already being backed up.

1. To create a new personal folder, go to File > New > Outlook Data File.

2. The option Personal Folders File (.pst) should be highlighted. Avoid using older formats unless you plan to share the file with others running the older versions. Click OK.

3. Name your personal file something descriptive in case you need you create more than one Personal Folder. A common suggestion is to name them by year and then create new archives every year.

Note the location in the Save In box where the file will be created. By default this is put somewhere deep within your personal profile where it will likely be hard to locate later when you want to back it up or move it to another location. Change the location, if necessary.

4. Under Create Microsoft Personal Folders name your folder how you want it to appear in the Folder List of Outlook. Note that you can change these values later if you wish.

5. If you want the personal folder to be password protected, type a password and verify it. Click the checkbox Save this password in your password list if you want the password to save and allow the folder to open automatically.

IMPORTANT: If you choose to encrypt your personal folder, do not forget the password. Once encrypted, there is no way for anyone to access this file without the correct password.

Click OK.

6. Your new Personal Folder should appear in your Folder List.

7. To copy mail from your Inbox to your Personal folder, select it and drag it to your Personal Folder. To copy the entire Inbox, go to Edit > Select All and drag all the emails into the Personal Folder.