Computer Tip: PST file locked for Outlook

For any Outlook users that are using a POP server for their mail [as well as some of those on an Exchange Server], if you use Outlook to open a Personal Storage (PST) file, you may have noticed that the PST file cannot be edited, moved or deleted. It‘s locked by Outlook when in use, but that lock remains for 30 minutes by default, even after Outlook closes the PST file.

Even if you open a PST file in Outlook and then close it [while still on Outlook] you may have this lock. Attempting to do so will return an error such as this one from Outlook in Windows:

“The action cannot be completed because the file is open in another program.”

Outlook maintains a lock on the PST file for 30 minutes. If you want immediate access to that PST file, there is a registry edit that can reduce the time Outlook keeps the PST file locked after closing it. Close Outlook, then open Regedit and go to the key:


Where <Office_Version> is the version that you are using with Outlook. Add a DWORD entry called PSTDisconnectDelay (if it doesn’t exist). The value for PSTDisconnectDelay here is time entered in seconds. So a value of 30 using the decimal format (and not hex) would keep a PST file locked by Outlook for half a minute after closing the PST file instead of the default 30 minutes (or 1800 seconds).


About ebraiter
computer guy

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