Webopedia on Google+Webopedia on TwitterWebopedia on FacebookTech Bytes Blog
Main » TERM » P »

Personal Storage Table (PST)

A PST file, or personal storage table (.pst) file, is a Microsoft Outlook Data File that stores a user's Outlook data for POP3, IMAP and web-based mail accounts, including all mail folders and the items within the folders, such as emails, email attachments, to do items and appointments, contacts and more.

Personal storage table files are used by all versions of Microsoft Outlook, from Outlook 2000 up to Outlook 2010. PST files in early versions of Outlook (Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2002) were stored in ANSI format and have a maximum size of 2GB, while later versions save the PST file in Unicode format and have a maximum size of 20GB (Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2007) or 50GB (Outlook 2010).

For Windows Vista and later OSes, Outlook PST files are stored by default in C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\ for Outlook 2007 and in C:\Users\%username%\Documents\Outlook Files for Outlook 2010.

PST files can be compacted using the "Compact Now" option in Outlook's Data File Management area, and corrupted PST files can be repaired using either Microsoft’s ScanPST application or a third-party application.

A similar Outlook data file known as an OST file, or offline storage table (.ost) file, functions as a cache for Microsoft Outlook's Cached Exchange Mode feature. With OST files, Microsoft Exchange Server and Microsoft Hotmail (via the Outlook Hotmail Connector) store archived versions of a user's Outlook or Hotmail data on a local computer instead of on the mail server in order to provide availability to these items when access to the server is unavailable.

Unlike PST files, OST files are tied to the mail account configuration and cannot be opened or backed up individually.

See also Webopedia Quick Reference: All File Extensions.




Forrest Stroud is a senior enterprise IT editor and writer with more than 15 years experience. Forrest has managed and/or written for some of the most recognizable technology content sites on the Internet, including ServerWatch, Webopedia, WinPlanet, Enterprise Storage Forum, ASPNews, Database Journal and many more.





TECH RESOURCES FROM OUR PARTNERS
DID YOU KNOW?
Hype Versus Action in the Developer's World

Often times technologies start as hype but with time become adopted. As a developer or technologist, it is worth reading the hype and knowing the... Read More »

Microsoft Hyper-V Network Virtualization Q&A

The top 5 Hyper-V questions with answers provided by Nirmal Sharma, a MCSEx3, MCITP and Microsoft MVP in Directory Services. Read More »

Storage Trends: Solid State and Software Defined

Solid state drives and software defined storage are two leading trends in the rapidly growing storage market.  Read More »

QUICK REFERENCE
How to Create a Desktop Shortcut to a Website

This Webopedia guide will show you how to create a desktop shortcut to a website using Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer (IE). Read More »

Flash Data Storage Vendor Trends

Although it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace of ongoing product releases, here are three recent highlights in the flash data storage... Read More »

15 Important Big Data Facts for IT Professionals

Keeping track of big data trends, research and statistics gives IT professionals  a solid foundation to plan big data projects. Here are 15... Read More »