How to access emails found to be located in "Top of Outlook data file"?

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New Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2013 64 bit
Email Account
Using Advanced Search, I have finally located some desired emails. Problem is, they are purported to be located in "Top of Outlook data file". (That is what is shown in the "In Folder" column of the search results.)

How do I actually access these files in their folder? I can't see any of them when I expand the folder - as they appear to be located outside of any of the subfolders and when I click on the Parent folder, all I get is some "Calendar" type stuff in the view window.

A 3rd party .PST viewer does display the emails that Search found. If I click on the heading/folder called "Top of Outlook Data File", all the unviewable emails show in the view pane. (I can also see all the other folders listed inside the "Top of Outlook Data file" folder. For example, in this .PST viewer it looks like this:

Top of Outlook data file
· Email 1 (unviewable in OL2013 – only seen in 3rd party .PST viewer)
· Email 2 (ditto)


o Email 3
o Email 4
o Email 5
o Email 6

Background info, in case it helps:

I'm pretty sure that my ignorance has created a mess.
  • I use Outlook 2013.
  • I have 5 email addresses all set up as IMAP.
When I first started using OL2013 some years ago, Hotmail accounts were unable to display BCC recipients of sent messages. From Diane's advice, I created a Local Folder (?) where a copy of these Sent messages would also be stored (so I could see all the BCC recipients I had sent it to). This "Backup of Sent - BCC" folder, I presume, was created in a local .pst data file (?). I can tell you that there is one .pst file in my Outlook Files folder (in Documents) called "Backup of Sent - BCC.pst". (There is also a folder called Outlook.pst which, from its size, looks empty? Don't know where that came from - except to say that I've had years of problems with OL2013 and there has been alot of recreating Profiles and repairing/uninstalling/reinstalling and so on so who knows.)

Over time, to make local backups of my emails I started making (and copying to) some more subfolders in that ?local folder. I'm not sure how/when, but there is now a ?mailbox ?folder called "Local Folders - for backup". (I'm guessing I renamed something at some point.) By that I mean, in the Left column, I have 5 email folders (?correct terminology ?mailboxes?), each expandable to show all its own subfolders (inbox/sent/etc.) and another ?folder called "Local Folders - for backup" (with all my subfolders) and one more called "Outlook Data File" (with its empty subfolders). FYI, right click/Open File Location on the "Local Folders - for backup" takes me to the Backup of Sent - BCC.pst file, as suspected.

Because I made these folders so long ago (and I decreasingly understand OL's functioning), I'm sorry I can't be more precise as to their creation. But I hope someone can tell me how I can access the files that are actually located in the "Top of the Outlook data File" but cannot actually be displayed (unless found individually by Search). How the ?folder in the left column has one name but it's corresponding .pst file is called something else I also do not understand.

Thanks for any help!
Right click on the top folder - its your email address if created in a newer version, bit might be 'personal folders' or something.

Chose properties then on the outlook folder home page tab, untick show folder home page.

Close the dialog and you can look at or move the messages.

Repeat steps to turn 'outlook today' back on.

(I'm on my iPhone and it's hard to read long posts on the small screen. If there were other questions in the original post, don't hesitate to say so. )

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Thank you! (Sorry for the delay. Notification email went into junk.)

I am left shaking my head. Again. Clearly this was some kind of 'setting' that I never chose (as opposed to some kind of software glitch). And yet it took hours of fruitless searching and ultimately the help of a 3rd party expert (bless you) to reveal the secret switch. (Event the MS 'experts' on their help sites have never mentioned this 'fix'.) How is your average user ever supposed to know how to actually use, in this case, Outlook? This must be the 20th+ thing I've had to turn to your site and others to try to figure out how to do. Many of them quite basic. And I'm not nearly as dumb as I seem!

As always, thank you beyond words for all of your help.
On this specific issue, it's an old problem we don't see much these days. Back in the early days (the old Exchange client days, before Outlook 97), before Outlook Today, the folder was visible and people used it for "safe storage" - i used to drop things i wanted to keep, like email receipts, in it. After Outlook Today, some people used it to hide mail from prying eyes too. Pretty much no one working for Microsoft these days is old enough to remember how it used to work. I'm pretty sure there is a KB article on it - i should have an article on it but can't find it in a quick search this morning.
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