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Compact A PST File To Improve Outlook Performance & Avoid Corruption


Microsoft Outlook is a popular email application, enriched with highly advanced features and a user interface empowered with great functionality. Each version of Outlook has something new that pampers users and lets them enjoy various enhancements. Nonetheless, even a perfect development is not actually perfect in all ways and the same applies to MS Outlook. A common problem faced by users is Outlook PST file corruption and slow performance of the application. Below are details of the PST file, the problem it creates as well as its solution. Let us have a look.

What Is A Outlook PST File

Outlook PST (Personal Storage Table) file is an Outlook data file that stores all Outlook data, such as email messages, attachments, contacts, etc., in an organized manner. The file is stored on the local user system and hence allows easy access. Earlier versions of Outlook such as Outlook 2002 had a 2 GB size limit, later versions (Outlook 2007/2003) have a 20 GB capacity, and the most recent versions, Outlook 2013/2010, offer a 50 GB size limit.

Problems PST Files Create

In the above section, you saw that there is a pre-defined size limit for Outlook PST. The problem occurs when you keep on adding data to the file and it reaches its prescribed limit because, in this case, the file is immediately corrupted, which means you can encounter a huge loss of information. Organizational data is always important and you need to deal with a big challenge when loss occurs. Moreover, a bloated PST file also causes slow Outlook performance.

With the above discussion, it is clear that it is highly important to reduce the PST file size to keep it away from corruption and give a hike to Outlook performance. In order to make a PST file smaller, you need to compact it. Let us understand the concept of compacting a PST file.

Whenever you find that your Outlook mailbox is being overloaded, your first choice is removing the items that are not to be used in future since they do nothing but occupy extra space. Next, you should delete the items from ‘Deleted Items’ folder too. However, the most important thing to know is that the file size is still not reduced because the free space is not removed and hence cannot be reclaimed or reused. Compacting PST removes free space; however, note that it leaves either 4% of the total file size or 16 KB of free space. You can compact a PST file as follows:

Step 1: Open MS Outlook

Step 2: Click on ‘File’ in the menu, and then click on ‘Data File Management’

Step 3: Select your ‘Personal Folder’ and click on ‘Settings’

Step 4: Switch to the ‘General’ tab and then click on ‘Compact Now’

Step 5: Click ‘OK’, and then click on ‘Close’.

The process for compacting a PST is a bit different in Outlook 2010; you need to perform the following:

Step 1: On the Ribbon, click on ‘File’, and then go to ‘Info’ tab in the menu

Step 2: Click ‘Account Settings’ tab and then click again click ‘Account Settings’

Step 3: Switch to ‘Data Files’ tab

Step 4: Select your Personal folder and click on ‘Settings’

Step 5: Switch to the ‘General’ tab and click on ‘Compact Now’

Step 6: Click ‘OK’

Step 7: Click ‘Close’

You are now done!

Note: If you do not find proper results with the manual method, simply opt for an external utility software program to compact the Outlook file. A famous tool to reduce the size of PST files efficiently is Stellar Phoenix Compact PST tool.

Written By

Jane Parker is a professional blogger and technology explorer, would love to write anything that she feels interesting or can helps user in understanding typical things in easy way. Currently she is doing research on various method to repair corrupted PST file and also analyses how to perform PST Recovery.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. glenys

    February 25, 2014 at 1:35 am

    Thanks for reminding me about the need to compact the Outlook files.
    Very clear step-by-step guide.

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