Wednesday, December 1, 2004

Moving personal folders


By Francine Otterson

OutlookPower Magazine's Answer Team at the San Diego Outlook User Group responds to a question on how to move personal folder from one system to another.

William A. Gannon wrote:

I'm preparing to move to a new machine so I copied my mailbox.pst to CD. Now when I try to pull it up and read it on the new machine I get the message "File access denied, you do not have access required to access this file".
How do I open and read a saved .PST from an old machine without having it affect my current .PST on the new machine?

Let's first do a quick review about the purpose of Personal Folders. Think of Personal Folders like a virtual filing cabinet, providing a place to store all of your emails for future reference. In some cases it's the main delivery location for all new emails.

Personal Folders can only be used from within Outlook. But the actual Personal Folders file, which is a .pst file, can be stored on your local system, or on a server. It's important to note that even thought it's common to see personal folders stored on a server Microsoft supports them being stored on the local system.

In order to use a Personal Folder, the actual .pst file associated with the Personal Folder must be accessible and you must have appropriate rights to it. If you don't have the necessary rights, Outlook won't be able to add the Personal Folder.

As an example, let's take the issue William encountered above -- "File access denied, you do not have access required to access this file". Most likely, the cause is that there were insufficient access/rights to the file(s) that were copied to CD due to the Read-Only attribute being selected. Check this by right-clicking on the file, select Properties, then remove the check from "Read Only".

I suggest doing this first on the file on the CD, then saving it to the local system. Once saved to the local system, re-check the file to confirm the read-only attribute isn't still selected. Now add the Personal Folder to your Outlook using the .pst file stored on the local system.

Adding additional Personal Folders to Outlook won't cause any issues with your current Personal Folder being used. Outlook is designed to allow multiple Personal Folders, and each Personal Folder has its own .pst file associated with it. One thing to note however is that if prompted to make the new Personal Folder the default delivery location you would want to say "No".

Finally, before moving or copying the Personal Folders (*.pst file), I strongly recommend that you have a viable backup available to protect your data.