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How-To recover email from Computer Crash

Steve Krause

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Question from Reader - Email Request




I had a PC failure with some missing DLL files. XP Pro would not boot and so I had to reload a fresh XP copy by creating a partition within a partition on my PC to avoid any loss of data. The 2 most important banks of data to me are my word and email files. I use Office Enterprise 2007 which contains the Microsoft Outlook program I use for E-mail.


Since I have installed the fresh copy of XP Pro, all my program settings and files have been in a disarray. I had to set up the Email account from scratch and hence lost all my previous e-mails. I had emails from 2004 all the way to 2007 sitting in one of my folders called .PST. I was somehow able to import them into the freshly installed Microsoft Outlook.


What I am unable to do is to import the 2008 email that I believe are sitting in one of the folders namely outlook.pst, backup.pst, archive.pst and backup.pst.


Since the 2008 emails were already in my Office 2007 (Enterprise), I am now at a loss as to why I cannot transfer these files. On another note, I cannot seem to identify these files since all I see is the Microsoft icon. What is the best way to solve this problem. I see the mail folders. When I tried to use your suggested method by creating a new folder and dragging the pst files, all I did was copy the entire pst "AS IS" in my inbox. It did not automatically load the actual messages.


Am I doing something wrong?


Thank you kindly.


Hello Reader


Youch, sounds like you had a serious meltdown..... (Hate it when that happens).


The good news is all your data "SHOULD" be on the drive so although it might be annoying and take some time, you should be ok (with a little work.....).


First, good job. Looks like your 80% there on recovering your data.


Second, can you answer a few questions for me.


Where is your email account? Do you have a company email server or do you just have a private ISP mailbox? Does your Outlook client download all mail locally or does it stay on the server? Don't know? (thats ok if you don't). Your 2008 email, is this email you copied into a 2008 .PST file or was this the email in your inbox?



While I wait for some of those answeres, I'm going to assume that the email your looking for is in a .PST file. So, let's start with getting your email back:


A .PST file is nothing more than a storage file that Outlook users to store email on your hard drive. Normally, outlook will connect to a server and store email there and if you want to store files on your hard drive, you copy them into the .PST file. Outlook will sometimes ask if you want to ARCHIVE old email. If you say yes it will copy the email from the SERVER mailbox to a .PST file stored in your outlook profile normally called archive.pst


Normally, on Windows XP your outlook profile will be located here:


C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook


This is normally where you will find all of your .PST files which will contain all the email your looking for. To import the email into you existing Outlook Mailbox, follow these steps:


1) Open Outlook

2) Click File - Open - Outlook Data File

3) Navigate to the location of your OLD .PST files and Double Click on the .PST file you want to import


Outlook should work for a few seconds while it add's the file but after its done, the new PST should show up on the Left of Outlook under your Mailbox.


Keep me updated.

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Really appreciate the response.


I tried the method to import the OLD .PST file via the instructions you gave me. I see two of them there that are about 2 Gig in size. Assuming these are the ones we are after, I see nothing happen when I double click on them going through


C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook


Could this be as a result of the PST format?? There is an old and a new one from what I am reading on the net. Something about Unicode??


In any case, I see the files there and was not able to transfer them to my new outlook. I say new but it was just re-installed.


My ISP is one I pay for so I am sure that there is a server. However, once I download the email to my PC, nothing stays on the server. Although, strange enough you mentioned this because I did notice that when I was on webmail, I see some old emails on the server as well. Now I am confused. This would mean that the e-mails are still on a server??


Not that I am trying to confuse the matter, how do I manage to transfer the PST files back to Outlook since the 1st method did not work. Nothing happens when I double click those folders. I was able to get one of them working backup.pst and that was done prior to me sending my first email. These other folders are a bit stubborn J


Thank you kindly

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I think I might have confused you sorry.


You cannot just double click on the .PST file to import them. You must open them from INSIDE Outlook.


1. Open outlook

2. Click File - Open - Outlook Data File

a. This should open a browse window. Navigate to the location of your old PST files

3. When you find your OLD .PST file, Click it then Click OK in Browse Window

4. This should open the .PST file into your current Outlook Profile and it should show up on the LEFT side of your Outlook Windows UNDER our Mailbox. The .PST file is usually named the same thing as your INBOX.


Let me know!



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