How to Split PST Files - A Complete Guide

Jan 4, 2024 | By Deepak Singh Bisht

Navigating the world of MS Outlook can sometimes be challenging, especially when it comes to managing PST files, also known as Personal Storage Tables. These files are crucial for keeping your Outlook data organized, including your emails, calendar events, and contacts. However, as you accumulate more data over time, these PST files can grow significantly in size, leading to potential issues. Large PST files might slow down Outlook, increase the risk of data loss, and even cause file corruption, turning them into a significant concern for regular users.

To tackle this, our guide offers several strategies to help you effectively split large PST files into smaller parts. We cover both manual methods and the use of specialized tools, such as the PST File Splitter Tool. Whether you're dealing with oversized PST files or simply looking for more efficient ways to organize your Outlook data, this guide is designed to streamline the process. Get ready to streamline your Outlook experience and safeguard your important data with ease.

What is a PST file?

A PST file, or Personal Storage Table, is a file format used by Microsoft Outlook to store a user's email messages, contacts, calendar events, and other data. It's essentially a personal storage space for Outlook users, acting as a database for all their Outlook information. The PST file is stored on the user's computer, making it an integral part of managing personal data within Outlook.

Role in Outlook

In Outlook, the PST file serves as the backbone for data storage. It's where all your emails, calendar entries, tasks, and notes are kept. Whenever you use Outlook, whether for sending emails or scheduling appointments, all this information is stored in a PST file.

Technical limitations

PST files have size limits that vary depending on the Outlook version:

  1. Outlook 2002 and earlier versions: The PST file size limit is 2 GB. Exceeding this limit can lead to file corruption.
  2. Outlook 2003 and 2007: The size limit was increased to 20 GB.
  3. Outlook 2010 and later versions: The default size limit is set to 50 GB, but it can be increased manually if needed.

As users approach these size limits, they might notice a slowdown in Outlook's performance, prompting the need for effective PST file management.

Evolution over different versions of Outlook

Over the years, the PST file format has evolved to meet the growing demands of Outlook users:

  1. Original format (ANSI): The earlier versions of Outlook used the ANSI format, which had a limited size capacity of 2 GB. This format was more prone to corruption due to its size limitation.
  2. Updated format (Unicode): From Outlook 2003 onwards, Microsoft introduced the Unicode format for PST files, significantly increasing their size limit and enhancing their stability. This format also supported multilingual data and offered better compatibility with various Outlook versions.

Managing these PST files, particularly in terms of their size, is a critical aspect of ensuring an efficient and safe Outlook experience.

Why should you split PST files?

Splitting PST files in Microsoft Outlook is an essential step for several practical reasons. As PST files, grow in size, they can start to affect your Outlook experience negatively. Here's a closer look at why breaking down these files is beneficial:

Improved performance: Large PST files can slow down Outlook. You might notice emails taking longer to load or attachments opening sluggishly. Splitting these large files helps keep Outlook running smoothly, making your day-to-day email tasks more efficient.

Avoiding file corruption: One of the major risks with oversized PST files is the potential for corruption. This becomes a serious concern as files approach or exceed their size limits, leading to possible data loss. By splitting PST file into smaller parts, you can protect your data from such risks.

Easier data management: Managing a massive PST file can be daunting, particularly when you're trying to find specific information. Smaller files are simpler to handle and organize, making your Outlook experience more manageable.

Backup simplified: Backing up a huge PST file is not only time-consuming but also complex. Smaller files streamline this process, making it easier to back up your data regularly and share specific data when needed.

Compatibility with different Outlook versions: Outlook's various versions have distinct limits on PST file sizes. If you use multiple versions, splitting your files ensures they work across all your platforms without any compatibility issues.

Minimizing data loss risk: The larger a PST file, the higher the risk of encountering errors that could lead to data loss. Keeping your PST files small and manageable is a proactive way to protect your important emails and information.

In conclusion, splitting PST files is a smart move to enhance your Outlook usage. It's not just about reducing file size — it's about keeping your data safe, your application running smoothly, and your information organized.


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How to split PST files?

Splitting a PST file in Microsoft Outlook is a crucial task, particularly when managing large volumes of email data. This process not only helps in maintaining Outlook's performance but also plays a significant role in reducing the risk of data corruption. When it comes to splitting your PST files, there are several approaches available. You can opt for manual methods, which are suitable for those who are comfortable with a hands-on approach in Outlook. Alternatively, for a more streamlined and less hands-on method, you can use a third-party PST File Splitter Tool, such as the SysCurve PST Splitter Tool. Each of these methods caters to different preferences and levels of technical proficiency. In the following sections, we'll explore these options in detail to help you understand how to split PST file into smaller, more manageable parts.

Method 1: Split PST files using Import/Export process

The Import/Export process in Microsoft Outlook is a manual method that allows you to create a new PST file and selectively export data to it. This method is particularly useful when you need to organize and separate your data for different purposes or projects, without altering the original PST file. Here's a detailed walkthrough of how to split PST file using the Import/Export process:

  1. Open MS Outlook
  2. Click on the 'File' tab in the top-left corner of Outlook.
  3. Choose 'Account Settings' and then again click on 'Account Settings' from the dropdown.
  4. In the Account Settings window, go to the 'Data Files' tab.
  5. Click on the 'Add' button to create a new PST file.
  6. Enter a name for your new PST file, select 'Outlook Data File (.pst)' in the 'Save as type' dropdown, and click 'OK'.
  7. Go back to the 'File' tab, select 'Open & Export', and then choose the 'Import/Export' option.
  8. In the Import and Export Wizard, choose 'Export to a file' and then click on the 'Next' button.
  9. Select 'Outlook Data File (.pst)' in the 'Export to a File' window and click 'Next'.
  10. Select the folders you wish to export to the new PST file. You can choose your entire mailbox, individual folders, or subfolders.
  11. Ensure the 'Include subfolders' option is checked if you want to export all contents within a folder.
  12. Click the 'Browse' button to choose a location on your computer where you want to save the new PST file.
  13. After selecting the location, choose the option 'Do not export duplicate items' to avoid copying any duplicate data.
  14. Click 'Finish' to start the export process.

By following these steps, you will have successfully split your PST file, transferring the selected data to a new PST file. This method is ideal for organizing your emails, contacts, and other items in Outlook, and it also helps in managing large PST files by dividing them into smaller, more manageable files. Remember, this process can be time-consuming, especially for large data sets.

Method 2: Split PST file size using Archive wizard

Using the Archive Wizard in Microsoft Outlook is an effective way to reduce the size of your main PST file. This method involves archiving older emails and attachments that are not actively needed but still important to keep. By doing so, you can maintain the efficiency of your Outlook application, manage file sizes better, and organize your data more systematically.

  1. Launch Microsoft Outlook on your computer.
  2. Click on the 'File' tab located at the top-left corner of the Outlook window.
  3. Select 'Info', then click on 'Tools' and choose the 'Clean Up Old Items' option (this is another name for the Archive feature).
  4. On the Archive screen, you will see a list of your Outlook folders.
  5. Choose the folder you want to archive. If you select your main mailbox, you can opt to 'Archive this folder and all subfolders', which is useful if you want to archive your entire mailbox.
  6. Set a date in the 'Archive items older than' field. Outlook will archive items that were created or received before this date.
  7. Click on the 'Browse' button to choose where you want to save the archived data. This will be a new PST file where your archived items will be stored.
  8. After selecting the location, name your archive file and click 'OK'.
  9. After setting your preferences, click 'OK' to start the archiving process. Outlook will move items older than the specified date into the archive PST file you designated.

This method effectively reduces the size of your primary PST file, making Outlook run smoother and helping you organize your older items separately. It's a great way to split your PST file indirectly, especially if your goal is to de-clutter your main PST file without permanently deleting old but important emails and attachments. Remember that archived items will no longer be in your main PST file, but they can still be accessed from the new archive PST file whenever needed.

By following these methods, you can successfully split PST files manually. However, it's important to remember that these manual processes can be quite lengthy and time-consuming. When splitting Outlook PST files, paying close attention to detail is crucial to avoid any potential data loss. If you're splitting a PST file into smaller parts, ensure that you're methodical and cautious to safeguard your valuable data.

Method 3: Split PST files using Split PST tool

If you're not keen on using manual methods to split PST files or if you're seeking a straightforward, user-friendly solution, the SysCurve Split PST tool is an excellent choice. This tool is known for its powerful capabilities and advanced features. With the SysCurve PST Splitter Tool, you can effortlessly split Outlook PST file based on various criteria such as Date, Size, and Email ID. This makes it a versatile and efficient solution for those looking to split PST files into smaller parts without the complexity of manual methods. To perform this task, follow the steps below.

  1. Download and install the PST File Splitter tool.
  2. Open the software.
  3. Click on the 'Add File' option. This will allow you to browse and select the PST file that you want to split. Once selected, click on the 'OK' button to load the file into the tool.
  4. Select the 'Split by Size' option. This feature allows you to specify the size of the output files. You can enter your desired size limit for the split files in MB or GB, depending on your requirements.
  5. Choose a destination folder where you want to save the new smaller PST files.
  6. Click on the 'Next' button to start splitting your PST file. The tool will process your file and divide it into smaller PST files based on the size you specified.
  7. Once the process is completed, a notification will appear. Click on the 'Finish' button.

Using the SysCurve PST File Splitter Tool simplifies the task of splitting large PST files, making it an ideal solution for those who prefer a more automated approach.

Other helpful features

Split PST files flexibly: You can split PST files based on various criteria such as Email ID, Size, Date, and more, ensuring tailored solutions for your unique needs.

Ease of access: Quickly add and search for the desired PST file within the tool, saving time and enhancing usability.

Efficient processing: Whether it's a single large file or multiple files, you can split them into smaller parts all at once, making the process more efficient.

Works with Archive PST files: The tool isn't limited to active files; it can also handle archived PST files, further broadening its usefulness.

No size limitation: There's no need to worry about the original file's size; the PST Splitter tool can handle PST files of any size, ensuring it meets the demands of all users.

Full compatibility with MS Outlook: Whether you're using Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, or any other version, the tool is designed to work seamlessly with all of them.

Windows support: Enjoy the flexibility and reliability of the Split PST Tool across various Windows operating systems, including Windows 10, 8, 7, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I split a PST file into smaller parts?

To split a PST file into smaller parts, you have two main options: manual methods and using a specialized tool like the Split PST tool. For a manual approach, you can use the Import/Export feature in Outlook to create a new PST file and transfer specific data to it. Alternatively, the Archive feature can help reduce your PST file's size by moving older items to a separate archive PST file. If you prefer a more automated and straightforward solution, the Split PST tool is ideal. This tool quickly split your large PST files into smaller, more manageable PST files.

How do I split a PST file by year?

With the SysCurve PST Splitter tool, you can easily split a PST file by year. Simply open the tool, select the PST file, and choose the 'Split by Date' option. Specify the date range, and the tool will split the PST file accordingly.

Can I split a PST file based on email id?

Yes, the SysCurve Split PST tool offers the functionality to split PST files based on email ID. After selecting your PST file in the tool, choose the 'Split by Email Id' option and follow the prompts to split the file based on specific email addresses.

Is it possible to split a PST file by size?

Absolutely! The SysCurve PST File Splitter tool provides an option to split PST files by size. You can set a specific size limit for the output files, which helps in creating PST files that are easier to manage and less prone to corruption.

What are the benefits of using a PST splitter tool?

Using a PST splitter tool like the SysCurve Split PST tool offers several benefits. It simplifies the process of managing large PST files, reduces the risk of file corruption, and enhances Outlook's performance. The tool is especially helpful for users who need a straightforward solution for splitting large PST files without extensive manual effort.

Are there any risks in splitting PST files?

While splitting PST files is generally safe, especially when using a reliable tool like SysCurve PST File Splitter. However, it's advisable to backup your PST files before proceeding with splitting, to safeguard your data.

Does splitting a PST file affect my Outlook data?

Splitting a PST file organizes your data into smaller files but doesn't affect the integrity of the information within. Your emails, contacts, and other Outlook data remain intact and accessible in the new split files.

The final word

In this comprehensive guide, we've explored various methods to split PST files, a crucial task for effective management of large volumes of email data in Microsoft Outlook. Splitting PST files not only aids in maintaining Outlook's performance but also significantly reduces the risk of data corruption. We discussed both manual methods and the utilization of specialized tools like the SysCurve PST Splitter Tool to achieve this.

While manual methods, such as the Import/Export process and using the Archive Wizard, offer direct control over how and what data is split, they can be time-consuming and require careful attention. For those seeking a more efficient, straightforward solution, the SysCurve PST Splitter Tool emerges as an ideal option. This powerful tool allows you to split PST files based on various criteria like Size, Date, Email ID, and specific Folders, ensuring a tailored approach to suit your unique needs.

The benefits of using a PST splitter tool include ease of use, efficiency, and the ability to handle large files effortlessly. It's especially beneficial for users who require a quick method to manage large PST files without the complexities of manual splitting. However, irrespective of the method chosen, it's crucial to approach this task with caution to ensure data integrity and avoid potential data loss.

Whether you're an individual dealing with personal email data or a professional managing extensive business correspondence, mastering how to split PST files is an essential skill in today's digital world. With the right approach and tools, you can effortlessly manage your PST files, ensuring seamless Outlook performance and data security.

The Author

Deepak Singh Bisht

Deepak Singh Bisht

Content Lead |

Deepak Singh Bisht is a dedicated IT professional with over 9 years of experience, is a key member at SysCurve Software for the last 5 years. His expertise lies in email migration and data recovery, with a focus on technologies like MS Outlook and Office 365. Deepak, who also delves into front-end technology and software development, holds a Bachelor's degree in Computer Applications.

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