Protect Access to an Outlook PST File with a Password

Add or remove password protection from a PST file

You can protect your PST files —where Outlook keeps all mail, contacts and calendar data— with a password. A password protects potentially sensitive files from access by others who share your computer.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook for Office 365.

Protect Access to an Outlook PST File with a Password

When you apply a password to an Outlook PST file, a prompt will appear when anyone starts Outlook or when the file is initially opened in an Outlook session.

  1. Start Outlook.

  2. Select the File tab.

  3. Select Account Settings and then choose Account Settings.

    Screenshot of Account Settings menu
  4. Select the Data Files tab of the Account Settings window.

  5. Choose the Outlook Data File (.pst) for which you want to create a password.

    Screenshot of Data Files tab
  6. Select Settings and then select Change Password.

    If you have an Exchange account, the Change Password button will not appear. Your network password is used for your .pst password.

  7. Type a password in the New password and Verify password boxes.

    Your password must be between 8 and 15 characters and can include a mix of a minimum of eight uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

    Screenshot of Change Password
  8. Click OK to save the new password.