Recovering Outlook 2003 email & folders

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My mother board & CPU went south on me so I decided I would pull my 2 hard drives out of my PC and install them in external hard drive cases (which worked very well). I then set up a new Windows XP pc (my old one was 2000 running outlook 2003). The new pc recognized my external drives and I proceeded to try and find all of my email (PST) files on my old hard drive. I can not find any of my current email anywhere. Except for some archive files there are no pst files. Does anybody have a clue as to where I should be looking? (That will teach me for not keeping my achieving current!!)

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Hi,

The best way to find is use the Search option(you might have tried it before.) Generally the PST files are stored in different folders depending on OS, I have XP installed and the Path is “C:Documents and SettingsUsernameApplication DataMicrosoftOutlook”
try this if you were using XP as your old OS.
or find is the best option or a similar path but you need to explore all Microsoft folders & sub-folders. I remember that in windows 2000 professional, the path was something crazy like a 128-bit address.
The PST’s there, but you need more time to explore.

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  • Pedwards17
    In addition to looking for pst files, you may want to look for .ost (offline storage) files. If your email can't be found in a pst, it's probably in an ost somewhere. Hope this helps.
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  • DaxStefan
    Hello, Make sure you are looking in HIDDEN FOLDERS AND FILES. The likelihood is that the OST and PST files are hidden under your documents and settingsuserapplication datamicrosoftofficeoutlook or similar. The PST file is a PERSONAL folder file that you may have created, however, if you have been working LIVE but have had the mail creating an Offline file then it will be an OST file not a PST file. You may find the file is called OUTLOOK.OST. Hope this helps Dax
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  • Technochic
    OK, well I am confused. Correct me if I am wrong, but archive files ARE pst files. Yet you say you found the archive files and they are NOT pst's???? Did you look at the details of the files to be sure? I am running office 2003, and I double-checked before writing this, and sure enough, the archived files ARE pst's even in outlook 2003. A personal file will be named whateveryounameit.pst, the archived files are named archive.pst's. And yes you have to go into folder options and select "view hidden files" and uncheck "hide extensions of known file types". Then run your search for *.pst, and *.ost consecutively, and in advanced search settings, check "search hidden files and folders" Lots of people I know set up a different location for archiving than the default = documents and settings>yourprofile>local settings>application data>microsoft>outlook. So unless you changed the location you archived to, that is where you will find them, but only if you have your folder settings set to view hidden files and folders first. If were not archiving (and it sounds like you were since you mention finding archive files), and you were running outlook 2K3 in cached mode, then you will find your mail in .ost files instead. Look at the size of the archive files you found, if they are larger than a couple of meg, then that is where your email is.
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  • Stoker53
    Have you attempted a search of the drive for "*.pst"?
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  • CSGSD
    Outlook scatters the files you need all over the place. make sure you get the files from these locations: Documents and SettingsUSERNAMEApplication DataMicrosoftAddress Book USERNAME.wab Documents and SettingsUSERNAMEApplication DataMicrosoftoutlookoutlook.* Documents and SettingsUSERNAMELocal SettingsApplication DataMicrosoftOutlookall_pst_files.pst You also have the ability to put your outlook.pst file anywhere on the system and you can name it anything you want with a .pst extension. I have seen systems where the user has deleted their outlook.pst (accidentally???) and is using their archive.pst file for their current mail file. Keep in mind that your archive.pst file can be `any name?.pst also. Best to search the whole drive for *.pst, *.wab, and *.nk2.
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  • Dtorizuka
    dumb question but were you connecting to Exchange or just doing POP? i do not recall with OL3K, but with OL2K there is a corporate setting and a standard/POP setting which puts data into an index like OL Express instead of a pst file?
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  • Dtorizuka
    HD you PM'd me that ur using POP next time "reply to all" so everyone can help you out. So if ur using POP, you may try looking for mulitple files under docs and settingsusernamelocal settingsapplication dataidentitiessome-big-hex-number (like in Outlook Express) Again, I cannot confirm this is the case as I don't have a system with OL3K available to test, but I'm sure OL2K when not in Corporate mode did this? What you can try doing is selecting Import in OL3K and point to the folder you think it is and see what happens? And perhaps my comment here will spark someone else to give you the correct answer? good luck
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  • Stevesz
    Unless you have moved them, the PST files for Outlook are contained withing a hidden folder structure. Go to your folder options and chose to unhide hidden files. Then navigate to Documents and Settings(username)Local SettingsApplicatin DataMicrosoftoutlook and you will find the files you need. You can also do a search telling the search dialog to look in hidden folders.
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  • HDSupport
    I have unhid everything on my hard drive and there are no outlook.pst files to be found. I have a feeling that more than just my motherboard had issues. Thank you all for your assistance. I have learned a very valuable lesson on backing up files. (I should have included my outlook in my back up procedures on my home PC)
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  • Akonsta
    You may have already given up, but I have a very strong feeling that your files are still somewhere on your hard disk. When you have a catastrophic hardware problem (like a fried motherboard), it rarely (I'd like to say never) leaves "clean" problems. In other words, if it was the motherboard, then you would probably notice lots of other files looking weird or missing. The fact that you are only missing your mail makes me think that the data is still there, its just not obvious. When you were checking the documents and settingsusername folder, were you looking on the external drives? (I noticed that some of the earlier messages correctly referred to the default location of these files as being on the c: drive, but when you attached the old hard drives to the new machine, I'm assuming that they neither of the drives is recognized as c:. So, the first thing I would do is to see if you can find the directory x:documents and settings on either of the (now) external drives. If you can't, then you should check to see if the new machine is set to hide system files (which is the default setting, I believe). If you are hiding them, unhide them (you can do this by opening Windows Explorer and going to Tools|Folder Options|View. Just below the hidden folders options is the hide protected operating system files, which I usually turn off. Make sure you apply these settings to all folders. If you still can't see the directory x:documents and settings (where x is the letter of the external drive), then you might have stored your system files on a partition that is not showing up. On your old machine, do you remember how many hard drive letters you had when you did a directory? If you do see x:documents and settings, you should open that directory and look for the subdirectory that has the name that you used to log into the old machine (if you didn't have to log in on the old machine, check under default or administrator). If you don't see any user names under documents and settings, then something weird is going on. If you are still interested in poking around for the files, let me know what you find after you've done the above. One more thing, I'm assuming that this machine was not part of a domain, but rather a standalone or in a workgroup. If that assumption is not correct, there may be other places to look as well. I hope this helps. ---Andrew Modern Proverb: You only lose money on stocks when you sell them. Konsta's Corollary: The only time you've really "lost" data is when you stop looking for it.
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