Microsoft KB Archive/168666

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Article ID: 168666

Article Last Modified on 1/19/2007


  • Microsoft Outlook 97 Standard Edition

This article was previously published under Q168666


When starting Microsoft Outlook, you may receive one or more of the following error messages:

Unable to open your default mail folders. Outlook could not start Because a location to send and receive mail could not be found. To add a location, such as a personal folder file, double-click the Mail icon in Windows Control Panel


Unable to open your default mail folders. The path specified for the file <drive>:\<file name>.pst is not valid.

Then, Outlook displays:

Would you like to open your default File System folder instead?

Other network related messages may follow the initial two messages; however, the last message listed above always appears.


These errors may occur if you are using Internet Mail, CompuServe Mail, or The Microsoft Network online service, and any of the following conditions are true:

  • No personal folder file (.pst) exists in your mail profile.
  • Your personal folder file where Outlook delivers your mail is located on a server that is currently unavailable.
  • Your personal folder file where Outlook delivers your mail is corrupted and Outlook can not open it.


No PST in Your Mail Profile

To add a personal folder file to your mail profile, follow these steps:

  1. On the Tools menu, click Services.
  2. On the Services tab, click Add.
  3. In the Available Information Services box, select Personal Folders and click OK.
  4. Specify the file name and location for your personal folder file and click Open.
  5. In the Name box, enter a name for the personal folder file.
  6. Select the options you want and click OK.
  7. Click OK and restart Outlook.

NOTE: If the problem persists, restart Windows.

Personal Folder File Located on a Network Server

Contact your system administrator to check the availability of the network server where your Personal Folder file is located.

Corrupted Personal Folder File

If you suspect that your personal folder file is corrupted, you may be able to recover the file using the Inbox Repair Tool.

To run the Inbox Repair tool, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and click Inbox Repair Tool.
  2. Specify the name of the .pst file you want to repair, or click Browse to browse for the .pst file. The default location for the .pst file is the C:\Exchange folder.
  3. Click Start.

If an error is encountered, you have the option to make a backup of the file before attempting repairs.

The log file for the repair process has the same name as the .pst file, with a .log extension. So, if you repair a file named Mailbox.pst, the log file is named Mailbox.log.

If running the Inbox Repair Tools does not solve your problem, you may need to create a new .pst file and import the items from your old file into the new .pst file.

For more information, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

171377 OL97: How to Create a New Personal Folders File for Outlook


Outlook requires a personal folder file to store your mail messages, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks. If Outlook is unable to find a personal folder file, the only other folders that you can open are the file system folders, by using Outlook as a document explorer.

For more information about the Document Explorer feature, see the "Viewing File System Folders in Outlook" section later in this article.

This problem does not occur if you are using Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft Mail as your mail system because these mail systems can always display your MailBox. This is the top level of your server folders on the Microsoft Exchange Server, or the top level of Shared Folders on the Mail Server.

Viewing File System Folders in Outlook

To view or open any of the files on your computer as well as on any network drive you are connected to, click the Other group on the Outlook Bar, and then click My Computer. You can view files as icons, in a table, or on a timeline. When you view files in a table, you can display file properties such as the author, date created, or file type, and you can sort or group files by any of these properties.

When you view files, you can quickly open, copy, move, print, or delete files, and you can create shortcuts to your files. You can also connect to a network drive or disconnect a network drive from any folder.

Keywords: kberrmsg kbprb KB168666