Best Practices for Using Microsoft Outlook from a Sales Perspective

How to Rename a .pst File (Without Corrupting the File)

Outlook .pst files can be renamed, but you have to be careful about how you do it or you will corrupt the file and end up with a ghost folder in your Outlook folder list.

If the folder for the .pst file is currently visible in the Outlook Folder List view of the Outlook Navigation Pane then you need to close the folder (click here to see how). 

Exit completely out of Microsoft Outlook.  Outlook has a nasty habbit of not completely exiting out of your computer’s memory even when you do not see it anymore in your Windows Applications list.  to confirm Outlook really is completely out of memory, right click in your windows task bar and select Task Manager from the pop up menu (see screen print below).

Task Manager Option on Pop Up Menu

The Task Manager window will now open (see screen print below).  Select the Processes tab and sort on the Image Name column (click on the column header to change sort order).  Confirm that you do not see Outlook.exe in the list view as it is listed in the screen print below. 

 Tast Manager Window

If you do see Outlook.exe listed, check to see if the value listed in the Mem Usage column is fluctuating or staying the same.  If the Mem Usage value is fluctuating, give Outlook some more time to close completely – this can take a while if you have a large mailbox or a lot of add-ins loaded so you may need to give it a few minutes. 

If the Mem Usage value stays stagnant for several minutes, Outlook is hung up in memory and will need to be closed.  The easiest way to close Outlook is to select it in the list view and click the End Process button, but you will get a message informing you that information could be lost if you persist – I’ve never actually lost data by click the End Process button, but proceed at your own risk.  Another option is to reopen Outlook and try exiting again.  The final option is to restart Windows.

Now that Microsoft Outlook is closed and completely out of memory, go to your Archive Folders file in your file system and rename it preserving the .pst file extension. IMPORTANT NOTE: make sure that you do close out the archive folders in your Outlook folder list (previous step) before renaming the file out in your Windows folder system.  Otherwise, you will end up with a corrupted file that will not work properly in the Outlook folder list.

You can now open Outlook and add the pst file back to your folder list.

This post was written by MistyKhan and published on March 2, 2008 in the following categories: Archiving, How-To's. You can leave trackbacks on this post at this address. To follow the comments on this post subscribe to the RSS feed.


Thanks for the tip Misty. My issues began when I installed Project 2007 on an all Office 2003 (including keeping Project 2003) on an XP Pro box. When Microsoft Updates installed Office 2007 SP1 it messed up something in the Office 2003 applications. Most of the issues were minor but it broke my Lookout, BCM, Outlook Personal Folders Backup and a couple other add-ins.

I have come to really appreciate those three named applications and was getting edgy that I didn’t have daily back-ups, couldn’t use Lookout, and had no BCM menu or toolbar entries.

I’m pretty knowledgeable about how to troubleshoot these kinds of things but I ran into several problems throughout the day. After insuring that I had a working copy of my .pst file on a Vista box running Office 2007, I tried to import a copy of the backed up BCM database (an .msbcm file). I never got past an access denied message because “me” on the Vista box wasn’t the same as the “me” on the XP Pro box.

At that point I did an uninstall of BCM on the XP box and then installed Office 2007 Pro as an upgrade to Office 2003. Since my .pst is pushing 5 gigs it took a bit of time for the upgrade to be useable. After some false starts I had my Outlook 2007 running and imported the backup of my BCM data that the Vista box couldn’t use. Both BCM and Outlook Personal Folders Backup were working fine on the XP box. I tried to install Lookout but got a message that something else was preventing that from happening – probably Windows Desktop Search. I then updated that to v 3.01 so it will search Outlook.

The next problem I had to solve was that my beautiful new install wouldn’t download my hotmail despite having done so for at least the past five years using the http protocol and add-in. After several attempts to try to get that to work and searching for a solution I decided to install the Windows Outlook Connection with uses MAPI instead of http. That worked. I then uninstalled the http account so I wouldn’t keep getting cryptic error messages about my mail being redirected.

The last problem I solved dealt with the Vista box not having access to the backed up .msbcm file. I exported a copy of the .bcm file from my XP Pro box, copied it over to the Vista box, and imported it into BCM on that machine. Being a .bcm file and not being a .msbcm file got me around the issue of permissions and it loaded and worked perfectly.

You probably know all this stuff but I figured I’d share my experience with you in case any of it helps you solve similar issues in the future.

I’m always open to ideas that will improve my efficiency and that often means improvement in my utilization of Outlook. I subscribed to the tips and after I got your twit, I am now following you there.

  • Robert Banghart
  • 08:49
  • March 16, 2008
  • 1.


Wow! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a detailed comment! I’m sure this will help several other people going through the 2003 to 2007 upgrade pain!


Thank you for sharing this information. I think it is useful for many clients.

My pleasure. And thank you for taking the time to leave positive feed back – much appreciated! Please let me know if there are other topics we haven’t covered yet that your clients would like find useful. Misty


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