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Personal Folders Size Limit using Micorsoft Outlook


Email and contacts and appointments are all stored by Microsoft Outlook in a PST file. The size of that file is limited to only 2 GB on older versions of Outlook. As the file size increases and approaches the 2 GB limit things get unstable and it is very easy to lose all your email and contacts. Needless to say, if you do not have them backed up somewhere, this can create a very big problem for you. (Backing up your PST file instructions can be found in the Microsoft Support website. We will add a link here in the near future.

The Archive Folders are NOT kept in the same PST file as Personal Folders. That is one reason it is a good idea to archive your mail periodically. It keeps the Personal Folders PST file size down by moving the items to the Archive Folders PST file.


How to check the size of Personal Folders

To check the size of your Outlook Personal Folders file:

  • Open Outlook
  • Right-click on 'Personal Folders' in the (usually) left pane
  • click on "Properties"
  • click the "Folder Size..." button near the bottom right of the Properties Window
  • the size will be shown in a "Folder Size" window
    • the results are usually show in KB (KiloBytes)
    • to see how many Gigabytes this is, move the decimal place to the left six (6) places (this is the same as dividing by 1,000,000 - which will convert KB to GB.
    • For example: 325678 KB = .325678 GB; 1289345 KB= 1.28935 GB

This procedure will also work on the Archive Folders PST file size. You can have multiple Archive Folders - just be sure to name them differently and observe the size limits on them, also.


Personal Folders (PST File) Size Limits

Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (PST)

• Used by:
• Outlook 97, Outlook 98, Outlook 2000, Outlook 2002
• IMAP and Windows Live Hotmail accounts in Outlook 2003
• Outlook 2007 if explicitly chosen
• Size limit:
• 2 GB
• Cannot be increased

Outlook 2003-2007 Personal Folders File (PST)

• Used by:
• Outlook 2003 (with the exceptions above)
• Outlook 2007
• Size limit:
• Configurable; 20 GB by default
• For performance and stability reasons, it is not recommended to increase the limit beyond 20 GB.

As your PST file approaches the limit or suggested maximum size (check the size via the Total size given in the Folder Size dialog), you can move old messages to a separate archive PST file — or delete them, of course.

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