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  1. #1
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    Exclamation Outlook.pst file size limit

    It appears that Outlook 2007's Outlook.pst file has a file size limit of 2 GB, because my wife has reached the limit more than a couple of times. I've run the built in utility to compact it each time, and that buys her some time, but the problem is that she has gotten into the habit of saving EVERYTHING she gets in the way of attachments in Outlook, so she is always on the brink.

    I am working on getting her to save some of what she has elsewhere in her hard drive, but is there by any chance any way to reset the size limit for Outlook higher than the current 2 GB to buy a little time before this happens again, or is that not an optional limit? Obviously, she has got to use her hard drive to store files in, NOT Outlook itself, but if any of you Outlook experts out there can tell me about the file size limit, like is it sunk in concrete or adjustable, then I will get her to move some of her large email attachments and save them outside of Outlook where they belong.

    I thank you in advance for any help or suggestions. We are talking about 64-bit Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 here, with Outlook 2007 as part of MS Office 2007. Thank you in advance for any help or suggestions. Just don't tell me she shouldn't file everything she gets in Outlook though, because I've already told her that. <sigh>

    David E. Cann

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    The best thing to do would be to archive stuff as it gets older. I use one archive file per year, so there is no way that I cannot find what I need. You can increase .pst file size, but as size gets bigger, Outlook gets slower...

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    See The .pst file has a different format and folder size limit in Outlook 2007 and in Outlook 2003 for more information on PST file sizing. You must ensure that the PST file is a Unicode file which is the default for a new PST file in Outlook 2007.

    Joe

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    decann (2013-02-04)

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    JoeP517, the more I think about trying to increase the Outlook.pst file size, the more I dislike the idea. In addition to the primary fact that I am not the techie that most of you are on this forum, and not at all comfortable even trying it on such an important file, but even if I did manage to successfully increase the size, what would I accomplish in the end? It would in the long term only be a band-aid and only temporarily delay the inevitible need for my wife to stop using Outlook as a file cabinet and archive files in her 750 MB hard drive that is about half used. In short, she has painted herself into a corner and is to the point where something needs to be done. <sigh>
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeP517 View Post
    See The .pst file has a different format and folder size limit in Outlook 2007 and in Outlook 2003 for more information on PST file sizing. You must ensure that the PST file is a Unicode file which is the default for a new PST file in Outlook 2007.

    Joe

    David E. Cann

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    The only way I have found which MIGHT give you a Unicode PST file is to delete your Outlook profile, and then create a new one. The only thing you lose when you delete the profile is the settings, so write down your settings (servers, location of data file, etc.) before doing it.

    It now appears that I have a Unicode file, but I won't know for sure till a bunch of email comes and it holds more than 2GB. Nothing else I have tried has worked, and I haven't found any posting anywhere, nor anything on Microsoft's website, that tells me either how to get Unicode, nor how to know if you have Unicode. What everyone says is that I ought to have Unicode by default, but not how to get there if I don't have it by default, nor how to verify that in fact I do have it.

    By the way, you don't have to do anything to your current PST file. When you delete your Outlook profile, and then create a new profile, you can create a new PST file (name it something other than what the previous one was named). In this way, you haven't touched the old one. In fact, you can open it in Outlook and have access to it; it just won't be the "default" PST file.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2013-02-04 at 11:49.

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    Too many questions here to suit me, and not enough answers for me to confidently try to enlarge the file. Not when doing so successfully will only delay the inevitible fact that she just needs to do some serious archiving. . .somewhere other than in Outlook. Thanks for the response.
    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    The only way I have found which MIGHT give you a Unicode PST file is to delete your Outlook profile, and then create a new one. The only thing you lose when you delete the profile is the settings, so write down your settings (servers, location of data file, etc.) before doing it.

    It now appears that I have a Unicode file, but I won't know for sure till a bunch of email comes and it holds more than 2GB. Nothing else I have tried has worked, and I haven't found any posting anywhere, nor anything on Microsoft's website, that tells me either how to get Unicode, nor how to know if you have Unicode. What everyone says is that I ought to have Unicode by default, but not how to get there if I don't have it by default, nor how to verify that in fact I do have it.

    By the way, you don't have to do anything to your current PST file. When you delete your Outlook profile, and then create a new profile, you can create a new PST file (name it something other than what the previous one was named). In this way, you haven't touched the old one. In fact, you can open it in Outlook and have access to it; it just won't be the "default" PST file.

    David E. Cann

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    Why somewhere other than in Outlook? Outlook archiving works very well, as far as I am concerned.

  13. #9
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by decann View Post
    Too many questions here to suit me, and not enough answers for me to confidently try to enlarge the file. Not when doing so successfully will only delay the inevitible fact that she just needs to do some serious archiving. . .somewhere other than in Outlook. Thanks for the response.
    If she is running pop3, you can change her settings to make sure that email is held on the server for a while, say 30 days. Then sit back and wait for the crash. When she no longer receives email, and figures out that she is no longer receiving email, you will likely have at least a couple of weeks to deal with the problem, because all of the missing emails will still be sitting on the server, waiting for her to have a good PST file to which to download them. Drag your feet a bit more, and then explain to her that she has maxxed out on the amount of email that she can keep in her PST file. Then wait a bit more to let that thought settle into her mind.

    That is your best chance to cure her of this.

    My experience is just like yours. In my case, I have tried to find a totally automatic archiving solution, so that I don't have to fool with it any more:
    http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...n-Outlook-2007



    Been there, done that, got the Tshirt.

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    I agree, and the fact it "works very well" is what caused this problem in the first place. It doesn't work well at all when you reach the size limit on the Outlook.pst file (2 GB?) and Outlook tightens up like a drum until you compact it again. It's not hard to imagine eventually reaching a point where compacting doesn't do it any more.
    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    Why somewhere other than in Outlook? Outlook archiving works very well, as far as I am concerned.

    David E. Cann

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    The only real long term solution IMHO is to get her to do what she should have been doing in the first place, and archive important files in that underused hard drive and regularly delete what she doesn't need. This constant "brinksmanship" is for the birds.
    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    If she is running pop3, you can change her settings to make sure that email is held on the server for a while, say 30 days. Then sit back and wait for the crash. When she no longer receives email, and figures out that she is no longer receiving email, you will likely have at least a couple of weeks to deal with the problem, because all of the missing emails will still be sitting on the server, waiting for her to have a good PST file to which to download them. Drag your feet a bit more, and then explain to her that she has maxxed out on the amount of email that she can keep in her PST file. Then wait a bit more to let that thought settle into her mind.

    That is your best chance to cure her of this.

    My experience is just like yours. In my case, I have tried to find a totally automatic archiving solution, so that I don't have to fool with it any more:
    http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...n-Outlook-2007



    Been there, done that, got the Tshirt.

    David E. Cann

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    I agree with you to a limited degree, but as the one who has to deal with the consequences of what would happen, I really prefer avoiding the "nuclear issue" if I can.
    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    If she is running pop3, you can change her settings to make sure that email is held on the server for a while, say 30 days. Then sit back and wait for the crash. When she no longer receives email, and figures out that she is no longer receiving email, you will likely have at least a couple of weeks to deal with the problem, because all of the missing emails will still be sitting on the server, waiting for her to have a good PST file to which to download them. Drag your feet a bit more, and then explain to her that she has maxxed out on the amount of email that she can keep in her PST file. Then wait a bit more to let that thought settle into her mind.

    That is your best chance to cure her of this.

    My experience is just like yours. In my case, I have tried to find a totally automatic archiving solution, so that I don't have to fool with it any more:
    http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...n-Outlook-2007



    Been there, done that, got the Tshirt.

    David E. Cann

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    Quote Originally Posted by decann View Post
    I agree, and the fact it "works very well" is what caused this problem in the first place. It doesn't work well at all when you reach the size limit on the Outlook.pst file (2 GB?) and Outlook tightens up like a drum until you compact it again. It's not hard to imagine eventually reaching a point where compacting doesn't do it any more.
    I have Outlook emails archived dating back to 2005. My "live" outlook.pst file keeps just email messages from the current year. Once I get to a new year, I simply archive all last years posts to a new file, specific to that year. My "live" outlook file never goes much above 500 MB and I have no performance issues with Outlook.
    With this, I compact the "live" .pst file 3 or 4 times a year, to recover space from deleted posts and such. I have been doing this without any issues for several years and that was the sense in which I used "works without issues".

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    It's "6 of one, a half dozen of the other," she either does what you suggest or periodically archive it to HD. I choose the hard drive, which is the way I do it and I've never had an Outlook.pst file ever exceed 1 GB, while here is likely never BELOW 1.5 GB. I thank you for the suggestion.
    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    I have Outlook emails archived dating back to 2005. My "live" outlook.pst file keeps just email messages from the current year. Once I get to a new year, I simply archive all last years posts to a new file, specific to that year. My "live" outlook file never goes much above 500 MB and I have no performance issues with Outlook.
    With this, I compact the "live" .pst file 3 or 4 times a year, to recover space from deleted posts and such. I have been doing this without any issues for several years and that was the sense in which I used "works without issues".

    David E. Cann

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    According to the KB article in post #2 a Unicode PST file for Outlook 2007 can be up to 20GB in size. That should last a while. See the last section at Create and use .pst data files in different versions of Outlook for instructions on creating a Unicode PST file and then moving data to it.

    Joe

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