Error "Cannot find xxx.pst " when sending / receiving email or opening Outlook 2013

If you can't open or send/receive mail in Outlook due to the error: The file C:\Users\<username>\documents\Outlook Files\<file name>.pst cannot be found. Your .pst file has been deleted or moved.

Note: If Outlook is reporting that your .pst file is damaged or corrupt please refer to: Repair Outlook data files (.pst and .ost)

Confirm that Outlook cannot find your .pst file

  1. When you receive the error that your .pst file cannot be found:
    Screenshot for the
  2. Copy down the file name for future reference and click OK.

    Note: The default name that Outlook uses for a .pst file is: <Your email address>.pst
  3. The next window that opens will be either the default .pst file location or the location you specified when creating your email account.
    Screenshot for .pst file location
  4. Important: Keep this window open and continue with the next section.

Check your Recycle Bin

If your .pst has been deleted and your Recycle Bin has not been emptied, it can be Restored.

  1. Go to your Desktop and double-click on your Recycle Bin icon.
  2. If your .pst file is not there do not continue with this section, jump to the next section.
  3. If your .pst file is there, right-click on it and select Restore.
    Screenshot for restore .pst file
  4. Look in the window you kept open in the first section. If your .pst file appears, click Open.
    Screenshot for the .pst location
  5. Outlook should start normally.

Search for your .pst file

Perform a Search for the .pst file.

  1. Hit the Windows button +F to bring up your Search window.
  2. Enter:

    For Windows 7, type *.pst.

    For Windows 8, type .pst.
  3. If your .pst file is not found do not continue with this section, jump to the next section
  4. If Search finds your .pst file, Cut and Paste it into the window left open from the first section.
  5. Click Open and Outlook should start normally.

Create a new data file

Unfortunately, if you've reached this section, your .pst file is not recoverable. The only option is to create a new one:

  1. In the window left open from the first section, type the name you would like to have for your new Outlook data file and click Open.
    Screenshot for new Outlook data file
  2. Outlook will then ask you if you want to password protect your new .pst file. If you choose to use a password for your data file, enter and verify it in this window. Otherwise, click OK.
    Screenshot for data file password

    Note: Check, Save this password in your password list if you want Windows to remember it.

More information
You can also get help from the Microsoft Community online, search for more information on Microsoft Support or Windows Help and How To, or learn more about Assisted Support options.


Article ID: 2812016 - Last Review: 09/04/2013 09:42:00 - Revision: 3.0

Microsoft Outlook 2013

  • KB2812016