Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Storint Microsoft Outlook folders on an external hard drive ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Storint Microsoft Outlook folders on an external hard drive
Category: Computers
Asked by: lwilson-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 31 Mar 2003 10:00 PST
Expires: 30 Apr 2003 11:00 PDT
Question ID: 183698
I need to store a substantial archive of email folders on an external
hard drive.  I am presnetly carrying 13K+ messages in my Inbox, for
example.  Guidance please on how to export these archives while
retaining the same Folder designations.  I am on Outlook 2002 on a XP
Professional platform.
Subject: Re: Storint Microsoft Outlook folders on an external hard drive
Answered By: answerguru-ga on 31 Mar 2003 12:05 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi lwilson-ga,

The problem you have described is one that endless Outlook users have
come across at some point or another, and so it is very well

Assuming that you wish to archive these messages so that they can be
loaded back into Outlook at a later date, the following information is
meant for describing how this is done.

*.PST Files

Microsoft has designed the *.PST file format (also known as the
Personal Folder File) as the means by which Outlook can perform
function on email messages (it can actually do a lot more with the
other elements in Outlook but I will focus on email messages as that
is what your question focused on). Each installation of Outlook
creates a default PST file where where sent/received messages are
stored. Each time Outlook is opened, it will attempt to retrieve this
specific file as it is integral to the operation of the program.
Furthermore, this file format is capable of seperating messages into
the folder structure you see in Outlook.


Outlook XP (as well previous versions of Outlook) have the ability to
extract email by manipulating the main PST file for a given
installation. This is know as the Import/Export function - using the
export portion of this feature will allow you to select specific
folders that you want to extract to a file for archiving. This will
not affect the state of your messages within Outlook since you are not
changing the main PST file, but simply creating a new one.

The steps for exporting email using the Export feature (complete with
screenshots) are laid out step-by-step in this article provided by
Texas Tech University:


The result of exporting certain folders and messages is a file
(something like mybackup.pst that you've specified) that is stored in
a known location on your system. From your question, it seems that
this file will be very large if you export everything at once, so you
may want to segment the export process so that you end up with
manageable file sizes (these options are available during the export
process). From this point, you can treat this file just like any other
file you may want to move - you can either move the file(s) onto some
sort of media (such as a CD or zip disk), or directly onto your
external hard drive if it is connected to your system.

You may be wondering how to view the contents of PST files without
actually bringing them back into Outlook. I've come across a useful
utility, MailNavigator, that will show you what is contained within an

Hopefully this has given you a better understanding of not only how to
archive email in Outlook XP, but also the underlying structure behind
it. If you have any problems understanding the information above
please feel free to post a clarification and I will reply in a timely


Google Answers Researcher

Search Strategy:
PST "file format specifications"
"outlook xp" export folders

Request for Answer Clarification by lwilson-ga on 31 Mar 2003 13:34 PST
Great answer.  Tnak you.  Calarification please.  How do I create a
*.pst folder on the external drive?  I am using an Iomega 20GB
Peerless drive.


Clarification of Answer by answerguru-ga on 31 Mar 2003 15:29 PST
Hi again,

You can save directly to your external drive ONLY if the drive is
connected to your system and you can "see" it from Windows Explorer.
In order to achieve this, just click the "browse" button at the point
where you are naming your file during the export process. Navigate to
your external drive and select the location within that drive where
you want the PST the be saved.

If your external drive is not visible, then you will have to save it
on an internal drive and transfer this file once the connection is

lwilson-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
I was very pleasantly surprised.  The response was quicker than I
expected, it was clear and even provided a link to a related site that
deals with the issue.  Take a bow.

Subject: Re: Storint Microsoft Outlook folders on an external hard drive
From: answerguru-ga on 31 Mar 2003 13:32 PST
Hello again lwilson-ga,

I just wanted to thank you for the great rating and kind words!

Subject: Re: Storint Microsoft Outlook folders on an external hard drive
From: lwilson-ga on 31 Mar 2003 14:32 PST
You are welcome.  Re my earlier question: how do I create a *.pst
folder on the external drive.

Subject: Re: Storint Microsoft Outlook folders on an external hard drive
From: e_is_mcsquare-ga on 03 Apr 2003 13:54 PST
Would be better to not to start this THNAK YOU chains, plzzzzzzzzz...
keep the things at pure technical level. a thanking gesture is
welcome, but not in some 3-4 individual posts.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy