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How to open an PST file without an email account in Outlook?

Author: Siluvia Last Modified: 2022-09-30

Supposing there is an Outlook PST file that stores older messages and items you don’t use regularly. Now, you need to find a specific item in that file but don’t want to impact the current email account in Outlook, what would you do? Actually, you can open the PST file without an email account in Outlook. This tutorial provides a method to help you accomplish this task.

Open an PST file without an email account with a command line

You can run a command line to launch your Outlook without an email account configuration, then import the PST file into the newly created Outlook profile to view the items. Please do as follows.

Note: Before applying this method, make sure that you have configured an email account in your Outlook.

1. Close your Outlook application.

2. Press the Windows key and the R key to open the Run dialog box.

3. In the Run dialog box, copy the following command line into the Open textbox and click the OK button.

outlook.exe /PIM NoEmail

Then Outlook opens with no email account configuration. See screenshot:

4. Now you need to import the PST file. Click File > Open & Export > Import/Export.

5. In the Import and Export Wizard, click Import from another program or file, and click the Next button.

6. In the Import a File wizard, click Outlook Data File (.pst) in the Select file type to import from list box, and then click the Next button.

7. In the Import Outlook Data File wizard, you need to:

7.1) Click the Browse button to select the PST file you need to view;
7.2) Choose an option according to your needs in the Options section;
7.3) Click the Next button. See screenshot:

8. In the last Import Outlook Data File wizard, you need to configure as follows.

8.1) In the Select the folder to import from section, select a folder in the PST file that you need to import. If you select the root folder “Outlook Data File”, all folders in the PST file will be imported;
8.2) Check the Include subfolders checkbox as you need;
8.3) Specify where to import the folders;
8.4) Click the Finish button.

Now you can view the items of the imported PST file in Outlook without configuring an email account.


1) The above command line works well only once. If you run it a second time, you will get a prompt box as follow.

2) If you want to launch Outlook with no email account configuration again, you can change the profile name (the text after PIM) in the command line. Such as the command line as follows.

outlook.exe /PIM NoProfile

3) After closing Outlook, if you want to open this profile to view the items in the PST file again, you can do as follows.
3.1 Open the Control Panel window, arrange the icons by Large icons and then click Mail.

3.2 In the Mail Setup dialog box, click the Show Profiles button.

3.3 In the Mail dialog box, choose Prompt for a profile to be used in the When starting Microsoft Outlook, use this profile section, and then click the OK button.

3.4 From now on, every time you launch Outlook, a Choose Profile dialog box will pop up. If you want to view items in the imported PST file, choose the profile name “NoEmail” and click OK. If you want to open your Outlook with normal email accounts configuration, choose Outlook and click OK.

If you no longer need to view this PST file, open the Mail dialog and configure it as follows.

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Comments (2)
Rated 5 out of 5 · 1 ratings
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
This explanation doesnt have an author but I wanted to let whoever wrote it, to know that it's one of the best explanations (of anything) I've read in a long time. It was very helpful to me, having left a company and still in possession of my pst files.

thank you!
Rated 5 out of 5
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi Bob Madan,
I am the author of this explanation. Thank you so much for leaving this comment and letting me know that my explanation was helpful to you. Thank you for your support.
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