How to unlock password protected PST(ANSI) files of MS Outlook

Thanks to http://semnaitik.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/how-to-unlock-password-protected-pst-files-of-ms-outlook/

Computer data and file security is one of the most critical issues for most organizations and even for the individuals. These computer files contain very crucial information of an organization or an individual. But if it falls into the wrong hands, it becomes very dangerous and a frustrating situation for them. In such critical situation you must protect your computer files by applying passwords on them. Password protection provides security to your computer data and files against any unauthorized or misuse or theft.

In these days email has become the most popular medium for computer users to exchange or share crucial information from one side to another. MS Outlook is one of the popular email applications that helps users send and receive email messages. Other than sending and receiving email messages, it also supports multiple features like: calendaring, contact managing, task managing, note taking, journal and web browsing. All the mailbox items of MS Outlook are saved into an Outlook Data file, which is called PST or Personal Storage Table. Outlook mailbox is very crucial for Outlook users as it contains crucial emails and other mailbox items. Your PST file can be easily accessed by any unauthorized user if it is not protected or your Windows user account is not password protected. Therefore, you must protect your PST files by using password protection feature of MS Outlook.

How to protect a PST file in MS Outlook 2010 (my current Outlook version)

1. Open your MS Outlook program.

2. Now click on File tab.

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3. Click on Account Settings, and again click on Accounts Settings.

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4. The “Account Settings” dialog box will pop up.

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5. Now click on Data Files tab. Now select any PST file from the list, which you want to password protect.

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6. The “Outlook Data File” dialog box will pop up. Click on Change Password tab.

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7. The “Change Password” dialog box will pop up. Now type a new password for selected PST file and retype the password to verify it. You can also save this new password in your password list by checking “Save this password in your password list” box.

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8. Click on OK.

The selected PST file will be password protected. This password will be applied on the entire PST file. You cannot password protect individual folders within the PST file. Unluckily, MS Outlook does not offer such feature to protect individual folders of a PST file.

Have you ever thought what happens if you lose or forget the password of your PST file? You just cannot open your PST file without entering the correct password and you cannot send and receive emails any more. If you are trying to open a password protected PST file but you do not have the correct password, then you will receive an error saying “the password you have typed is incorrect. Retype the password”.

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To open the password protected PST file, you must enter the correct password. If you have set the password on your PST file but now you have forgotten or lost it, then you must try to remember the password. And one thing you better make sure that your CAPS LOCK key is not open while entering the password. Microsoft Outlook is not able to retrieve any lost or forgotten password of PST file. Some computer experts say that passwords cannot be reset or recovered if lost or forgotten. Therefore, they always recommend writing passwords in a diary or a notepad. For example, you have a very important PST file.

For example, you have a very important PST file. You set a password for it and protect the file. You also write the same password in your personal diary or computer notepad. After a couple of months, you forget the password. But there is no need to worry as the password is written in your diary. You can recover the password from your diary and open your PST file. But if you have not written the password anywhere or you have lost the diary or the notepad file in which the passwords were written, has been deleted, then it will become very difficult for you to recover the password.

In such critical situation you can use a third-party password recovery application. Though, there is a free utility called “pst19upg.exe” from Microsoft to remove the password from PST file, but it only works with ANSI PST files of older versions of MS Outlook. It does not remove the password from a Unicode PST file or sometimes it may not work, in such situation you must check some paid PST Recovery applications which support both ANSI and Unicode PST files.

If you are using an older version of MS Outlook and you have lost or forgotten the password of your ANSI PST file, then you must try “SCANPST.EXE” with “PST19UPG.EXE” to remove the assigned password from the PST file.

How to remove password from an ANSI PST file of older versions of MS Outlook (cannot show you the images as I am using Outlook 2010)

1. First of all close your MS Outlook program and create a backup for the PST file or a duplicate copy of the file to work with.

2. Now run SCANPST.EXE on the copy of your PST file and click on Repair.

SCANPST.EXE is found in these locations according to different Outlook versions:

  • In MS Outlook 2002/XP: C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\<locale ID>\scanpst.exe
  • In MS Outlook 2000:C:\Program Files\Common Files\System\MAPI\<locale ID>\NT\scanpst.exe
  • In MS Outlook 97/98:C:\Program Files\Common Files\Windows Messaging\scanpst.exe

Note: Do not use backup option in SCANPST.EXE as you working with a duplicate copy of PST file.

3. Now open the Command Prompt by clicking Start> Run or simply by pressing Windows key+R.

4. Paste or type the file path to PST19UP and your PST name: PSTUPG19.EXE-filename.pst and press Enter.

5. The command line will resemble: “C:\My Documents\pst19upg.exe”- Outlook.pst.

6. A new copy of the PST file will be created, which is called “filename.psx”.

7. Once you have completed, rename the original PST file.

8. Now at the Command Prompt, type “pst19upg.exe- filename.psx” and press Enter.

9. A new password-free PST file will be created from PSX file.

10. Run SCANPST.EXE one more time against this new PST file and click on Repair.

11. Now open your MS Outlook program and open the PST file.

But if this above solution does not work or you have Unicode PST file, then you must use some paid PST Recovery applications. SysInfoTools offers an advanced software application named as SysInfoTools PST Password Recovery, to recover lost or forgotten password of Outlook PST files. It supports all popular versions of MS Outlook and recovers password of both ANSI and Unicode PST files. To know more about this software, please visit SysInfoTools’ website and download the free demo version of this software.