How to Find Default Location of Outlook PST Files in MS Windows OS?

Written By Deepmala
Chirag Arora
Approved By Chirag Arora  
Published On October 4th, 2023
Reading Time 3 Minutes Reading

Microsoft Outlook is a renowned and most commonly used email client which saves its data file in PST file format. PST stands for Personal Storage Files or Personal Folder File. The desktop based version of MS Outlook creates a backup of its files like emails, contacts, calendars etc. in PST file format in the local machine. Before find default location of Outlook PST files, one should know the technical part related with this Personal Storage File created by Microsoft Outlook. All data needs some kind of character encoding structure to save itself on the machine. Microsoft Outlook creates PST files using these encoding structure.

ANSI and UNICODE File Format

The older Microsoft versions like 1997 to 2002, the PST data files were stored using ANSI encoding. Clearly it was an extended adaptation of ASCII coding. And it’s main disadvantage was, the encoding had a 2 GB size limit. And thus it resulted in “.pst file has reached the maximum limit” error.

From Outlook 2003, data files are stored in UNICODE encoding and it’s maximum file size limit can be user-defined. It provides a virtual limit of 20 GB size. In Microsoft Outlook 2010 and later editions like Outlook 2013, 2016 etc. have increased size limit. The default maximum file size limit is of 50 GB.

Find Default Location of Outlook PST Files in Windows 11/10 / 8 / 7

As told, Microsoft Outlook PST files in local system varies according to the versions of Outlook and Windows OS editions. Here let us go through the varies Windows operating system editions and location of PST files according to Outlook version.

Windows 98/ME

In MS Windows 98/ Millennium Version stores Outlook PST files in a different location, where it is not hidden. So the ‘Windows search’ option will also be helpful to find the default location. Now get the location:

1) Windows 98/ME Without Individual User Logins

  • C:\Windows\Application Data

2) Windows 98 System with Individual User Logins

  • C:\Windows\Profiles\user name\Application Data
  • C:\Windows\Profiles\user name\Local Settings\Application Data

Windows XP and 2000:

Microsoft Outlook 2013 and above editions are not compatible on Windows XP and 2000 versions. Also MS Office 2010, 32 bit edition is compatible on Windows XP model.

Outlook 2000, 2002 & 2003

  • C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook


  • C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook


  • C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Documents\Outlook Files
  • C:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Windows Vista

MS Office 2010 version with both 32 or 64 bit is compatible on Windows Vista. But latest versions like Outlook 2013, 2016 editions are not compatible on Windows Vista.

Outlook 2000, 2002 & 2003

  • C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook


  • C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook


  • C:\Users\UserName\Documents\Outlook Files
  • C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

Windows 7, 8.1, 8, and 10

MS Office 2003 and latest version are compatible on Windows 7 OS, whereas MS Office 2007 and later versions are only supported in Windows 8, 8.1, 10 editions. The default location of Outlook PST files in Windows 7, 8, 8.1 and 10 are same as that of Windows Vista for corresponding Outlook editions supported.

Outlook 2013 and 2016:

  • C:\Users\username\Documents\Outlook Files
  • C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • C:\Users\username\Roaming\Local\Microsoft\Outlook


This blog is meant to help Microsoft Outlook users to find the default location of Outlook PST files in Windows operating system easily. Since the location of PST various according to Outlook versions and Windows editions, this will be helpful for novice user.

Also Read: Outlook 2013 – Additional Features