If you are using an older version of Outlook (Outlook 2000 and earlier) as your primary email, contact and schedule management software, you probably find it convenient to use the Personal Folders set up. By using the Personal Storage file or PST file, you can organize your folders and make them easily accessible. Further, you can archive older items, schedule regular backups of the important PST files and move them to external storage devices if desired. Another important feature of using the Personal Folders file in Outlook is that in case of minor damages or corruption in the PST file, you can use the built-in Inbox Repair Tool to carry out a pst recovery.

Many users, however, allow the items to stay in the main PST file for a long time, increasing its file size. Over time, the file size may increase up to or even beyond the 2 GB limit. As soon as the PST file crosses this limit, there is immediate corruption in the file and you will get to see messages such as 'pst has reached maximum size limit'. When you get this message, you might believe that if you can simply open your Outlook, you should be able to delete some of the unwanted items and reduce the size of the PST file. However, when the PST file gets corrupted because it has exceeded the size limit, you may not even be able to open the file and access your mails. The only option you have is to carry out a pst recovery and restore all the data from the file.

Obviously, when there is such real danger that there may data loss in the PST file because of size issues, one should take measures to ensure that the PST file stays well below the 2 GB limit. Further, as the size of the PST file increases, it also starts to affect the performance of Outlook. It is therefore a good idea to keep the PST file at a reasonable level by taking the following steps on a regular basis:
" Regularly review the items that you have stored in your folders and delete those that you no longer need. As you may be aware, when you delete an item, it is simply moved to the Deleted Items folder. You will therefore have to occasionally empty the Deleted Items folder as well so that space is actually freed up. However, this will not have an immediate effect on the size of the file.
" Use the Compact tool from Microsoft to compress the data and make use of the freed up space. This should help in reducing the size of the file.
" If the size of the file is still large, move the older items that you may not want immediately, into a new PST file. This will help you archive all the old Outlook data and you can still access them when you want to.
" Familiarize yourself with an advanced Outlook restoration tool that will help you carry out a quick pst recovery in case your PST file does get damaged as a result of size problems.