How to recover deleted Rules and Alerts from a .pst file

PattyL 6 Reputation points

I had synchronization issues with my Outlook email, and one of the solutions offered was to delete and recreate your account. It suggested creating a backup .pst file first, which I did. Now that my account is recreated, I found that I lost my signature as well as my Rules and Alerts, which took hours to setup. How can I recover those from a .pst file, which is where Microsoft says they are stored?

Outlook Management
Outlook Management
Outlook: A family of Microsoft email and calendar products.Management: The act or process of organizing, handling, directing or controlling something.
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  1. Faery Fu-MSFT 16,571 Reputation points Microsoft Vendor

    Hi @PattyL ,
    Welcome to Microsoft Q&A forum and posting your question here.
    According to my search, it is feasible to recover deteled Rules and Alerts by using Inbox Repair tool.
    Firstly, If you do not know the location of PST file, navigate to File > Account Settings > Account Settings > Data Files option, and you can see the path of .pst file.
    Then follow the steps:

    1. Exit Outlook
    2. Look for Inbox Repair tool(SCANPST.EXE), which is located in your systerm according to your Outlook version.

    3. Now, look for the PST file that you want to repair by clicking on Browse option.
    4. Then, click on the Start button to begin the repair process.
    5. When the repair process is finished, launch Outlook.
    Here is an document on how to fully repair your personal folder (.pst) file for your reference.

    If the answer is helpful, please click "Accept Answer" and kindly upvote it. If you have extra questions about this answer, please click "Comment". 
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  2. PattyL 6 Reputation points

    Thanks @Faery Fu-MSFT , but that is only half the answer. I did back up my account to a .pst file prior to deleting it, and ran scanpst.exe to repair the main account. But there are zero Rules and Alerts to be found in the backup.pst nor in the repaired account.

    Rules and Alerts settings should not be tied to a specific email account - they should apply to all the accounts you have in Outlook. Suppose you have been using specific Rules and Alerts for your main email account, and you switch providers or your provider goes out of business. Is it reasonable to assume that you will need to migrate all your Rules and Alerts, or is it more reasonable to only change the Rules and Alerts that specifically referenced the old email account, if any? What is needed is a fully functional import/export of the "Rules and Alerts". They should be stored separately from your .ost and .pst accounts, backed up by whatever software you use to do backups, and recoverable by importing the .rwz file. There is already a feature to export and import rules in the File -> Account Information -> Manage Rules & Alerts:


    When you delete an account (which is what you are told to do if your account goes to "Working Offline" and you can't get it back online due to sync issues), You see the box below. Note that the link does not instruct you to backup your Rules and Alerts.


    The "Learn how" link takes you here:

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  3. Faery Fu-MSFT 16,571 Reputation points Microsoft Vendor

    Hi @PattyL ,
    Thanks for your detailed explanation,
    (Note: In order to prevent malicious scoring, users will not be able to mark their own answers in the near future.)
    Therefore, I will summarize your answers so that other members can quickly find the answer when they encounter similar rules exporting problems.

    • As far as I khow, Signature are stored in C:\Users\Administrator\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures
      In the Signature folder, you will see each signature corresponds to three files and one folder: one HTML document, one Rich
      Text Format document, one Text document, and one file folder. 170231-signatures.png
    • As you mentioned, Outlook used to store email rules in Rules Wizard Rules (RWZ) files. But since Outlook 2003, the application started storing the rules in PST files. That said, you can still export the rules in RWS format in newer Outlook versions by accessing Rules and Alerts section in Outlook. If you already have the backup RWS file, you can import it directly into Outlook to recover the rules and alerts. (Refer to the specific export steps you gave) If you don’t have this file but there is a backup PST file, you can import the file to recover missing Outlook rules and alerts. If this PST file is corrupted, you might use SCANPST to repair pst file, however, some issues are beyond the scope of this utility, recovering rule and alerts may be a challenge. In this case, recreating the rules is the only option.
      If the answer is helpful, please click "Accept Answer" and kindly upvote it.
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  4. Zenifer Smith 10 Reputation points

    As I can see @Faery Fu-MSFT explained one of the best methods. If you're looking for an alternative method to recover deleted Rules and Alerts from a .pst file in Outlook, you can try the following approach:

    1. Open Outlook and go to the "File" tab.
    2. Select "Open & Export" and choose "Open Outlook Data File" from the drop-down menu.
    3. Browse and locate the .pst file that contains your backup data, then click "OK."
    4. In the navigation pane, you should see the additional .pst file added, representing the backup data.
    5. Expand the .pst file in the navigation pane to view its folder structure.
    6. Look for the folder that originally contained your Rules and Alerts.
    7. Right-click on the folder and choose "Copy Folder" from the context menu.
    8. Select the destination location where you want to restore the Rules and Alerts, such as your current mailbox or a different folder.
    9. Right-click on the destination location and choose "Paste Folder" to restore the copied Rules and Alerts.

    This method allows you to manually copy and restore the folder containing your Rules and Alerts from the backup .pst file to your desired location. By doing so, you can recover the lost Rules and Alerts without using the Import/Export Wizard or the Inbox Repair Tool.

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