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Move an Outlook data file from one computer to another

Applies to: Microsoft Office Outlook 2007

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If you recently bought a new computer, or perhaps you decided to do some major c
leaning and reinstall all of your software on a new or reformatted hard disk, yo
u will need to reinstall Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. A new installation of Ou
tlook doesn't mean that you lose all of your e-mail messages. This article expla
ins how to see your old e-mail messages in your new installation.
In this article
* Where are your e-mail messages saved?
* Step 1: Move your old data files
* Step 2: Set up your account when you first start Outlook
* Step 3: Access the old Outlook data file
* Step 4: Customize the data file display name
* Step 5: Deliver messages to the previously used .pst file
* Step 6: Remove unwanted data file
Warning This article assumes that you know how to back up your Outlook data f
iles and that you have already done this. Do not format a hard disk that contain
s your Outlook data files before you first back up the data to another hard disk
, network drive, or removable media. Formatting your hard disk will permanently
destroy the data on that disk. In addition to your data files, there are other c
onfiguration files that you may want to back up. For more information about Outl
ook file locations, see the See Also section.
Note This article explains how to move your existing Outlook data and configu
re Outlook to save new items in your old data file. Copying other configuration
information, such as rules, Send/Receive groups, accounts settings, and autocomp
lete suggestions is not covered in this article.
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Where are your e-mail messages saved?
Where are your e-mail messages saved? Are the messages kept on the e-mail server
or locally on your computer in an Outlook data file? The answer depends on the
type of e-mail account you have and how you have configured the account in Outlo
ok. The place where your new messages are saved is defined as the default delive
ry location.
* Microsoft Exchange account
If you use an Exchange account, typically your e-mail messages, calendar,
contacts, and other items are delivered to and stored in your mailbox (mailbox:
Location on a Microsoft Exchange server where your e-mail is delivered. Your adm
inistrator sets up a mailbox for each user. If you designate a personal folder f
ile as your e-mail delivery location, messages are routed to it from your mailbo
x.) on the server running Exchange. When you install Outlook on a new computer a
nd configure an Exchange account, all your items on the server running Exchange
are again available to you. The remaining information in this article does not a

pply to you, unless you either created an archive or local data files, or specif
ied that your Exchange messages be delivered to a local data file.
Exchange accounts also allow you to work offline or use Cached Exchange Mo
de. If you use either of these features, local copies of your items are kept on
your computer in an Offline Folder file (.ost) (Offline Folder file: The file on
your hard disk that contains offline folders. The offline folder file has an .o
st extension. You can create it automatically when you set up Outlook or when yo
u first make a folder available offline.). The .ost file is synchronized with th
e items on the server running Exchange periodically. Because your data remains o
n the server running Exchange, you can recreate this .ost file on your new compu
ter without having to back it up.
o Determine whether Cached Exchange Mode is turned on
1. On the Tools menu, click E-Mail Accounts.
2. Select the Exchange account, and then click Change.
3. Under Microsoft Exchange Server, if the Use Cached Exchange Mo
de check box is selected, Cached Exchange Mode is turned on.
Alternatively, you can move or archive your Exchange account items t
o a Personal Folders file (.pst) (Personal Folders file (.pst): Data file that s
tores your messages and other items on your computer. You can assign a .pst file
to be the default delivery location for e-mail messages. You can use a .pst to
organize and back up items for safekeeping.). You can also configure Outlook to
deliver new items to a .pst file, rather than keeping the items on the server. Y
ou must back up these .pst files as well as reconnect them to your new installat
ion of Outlook.
o Determine whether the default delivery location is a .pst file
1. On the Tools menu, click E-Mail Accounts.
2. Under Selected e-mail account delivers new e-mail messages to
the following location verify the default delivery location that is listed.
Note Delivery of new e-mail to an Exchange mailbox usually
appears as Mailbox - <username> or just your username. Delivery of new e-mail to
a .pst file appears as Personal Folders or a custom display name you provided f
or the .pst file.
* POP3, IMAP, and HTTP accounts
If you use a POP3 (POP3: A common protocol that is used to retrieve e-mail
messages from an Internet e-mail server.) e-mail account, which is one of the m
ost common types of personal e-mail accounts, your e-mail messages are downloade
d from your POP3 e-mail server at your Internet service provider (ISP) to your c
omputer and delivered to and stored locally in a Personal Folders file (.pst) na
med Outlook.pst. Outlook.pst is the default data file name. The file is stored i
n the <drive>:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Application Data\Mic
rosoft\Outlook folder.
IMAP (IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol): Unlike Internet e-mail prot
ocols such as POP3, IMAP creates folders on a server to store/organize messages
for retrieval by other computers. You can read message headers only and select w
hich messages to download.) and HTTP accounts save your e-mail messages on a ser
ver, as does an Exchange account. As with any type of Outlook e-mail account, yo
u can choose to archive or move items from the server into a local .pst file. If
you archived or moved items from the server to a local .pst file, you need to b
ack up the .pst file and then reconnect to it in your new installation of Outloo
k. If you have kept everything on the server, after you use the E-Mail Accounts
Wizard to set up your IMAP or HTTP account, all of the items on the e-mail serve
r will again be available to you in Outlook.
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Step 1: Move your old data files

You installed Outlook on a new computer or a new hard disk and are ready to star
t using your old data.
* Use Windows Explorer to copy each Personal Folders file (.pst) from its ba
ckup location (network drive or removable media, such as a CD or DVD or portable
hard disk) to the <drive>:\Documents and Settings\<user>\Local Settings\Applica
tion Data\Microsoft\Outlook folder.
Although you can keep your data files in any folder, this is the default locatio
n that Outlook uses when creating .pst files.
Note This location is a hidden folder. To use Windows Explorer to navigate to
this folder, you must first turn on the display of hidden folders. In Windows E
xplorer, on the Tools menu, click Folder Options. On the View tab, under Advance
d Settings, under Files and Folders, under Hidden files and folders, select Show
hidden files and folders. If you want to see all file name extensions, clear th
e Hide extensions for known file types check box. Hidden folders appear dimmed t
o indicate they are not typical folders.
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Step 2: Set up your account when you first start Outlook
When you first start Outlook, you are asked for your e-mail account information.
Depending on the type of account you use, Outlook may create a new data file kn
own in Outlook as a Personal Folders file (.pst). That is good if you are a new
user but probably not what you want if you were already an Outlook user, you had
your e-mail messages delivered to a .pst file, and you want to keep using that
.pst file. You can still get to your original data, but first complete the Outlo
ok setup by responding to the questions you are prompted to answer. Once you are
in Outlook, there are some important steps to getting your old data back and th
en making sure that new messages are delivered to same .pst file that you were p
reviously using.
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Step 3: Access the old Outlook data file
If you use a POP3 account, or you set up your Exchange account to deliver to a l
ocal Personal Folders file (.pst), you need to set up Outlook to open the file.
1. On the File menu, point to Open, and then click Outlook Data File.
2. Click the .pst file you want to open, and then click OK.
The name of the folder associated with the data file appears in the Folder List
in the Navigation Pane. If you never changed the display name, it is still the d
efault Personal Folders.
You are halfway done. You now probably have two Personal Folders listed in the N
avigation Pane. The first was created by Outlook when you first started Outlook
and provided information about your account. The second folder is your old data.
You can verify that your original data is back in Outlook by viewing the Inbox
or the subfolders under one of the entries. You should see all of your old items
If you see two entries named Personal Folders in the Navigation Pane, we recomme
nd that you follow the quick steps in the "Customizing the data file display nam
e" section to make sure that the next procedure easier. If you see only one toplevel folder named Personal Folders, skip to the "Delivering messages to the pre
viously used .pst file" section.

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Step 4: Customize the data file display name
If you kept the default settings and ended up with two sets of Personal Folders,
it might be confusing. You have two data files
the file that Outlook created wh
en you started Outlook for the first time and your old data file that was just a
dded. Now is a good time to customize the display name to prevent confusion.
1. In the Navigation Pane, right-click Personal Folders, and then click Prope
rties for Personal Folders.
2. Click Advanced.
3. In the Name text box, type a name that is meaningful to you, such as My Me
4. Click OK twice.
Now you will see a top folder named My Messages in the Navigation Pane. You will
always be able to quickly identify your data file from any others.
Tip Customizing the file names is also useful if you keep multiple .pst file
archives. For example, if you create a monthly .pst file to store all of your se
nt items for that month, you can rename the display name from Personal Folders t
o something more friendly, such as Sent Mail Archive December 2007.
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Step 5: Deliver messages to the previously used .pst file
You can use one or more .pst files, but new messages can only be delivered to on
e file.
Now that your old items are available in Outlook, you need to tell Outlook which
data file is your primary data file and that all new items should go to the Inb
ox in that .pst file. The file or mailbox to which your new messages are deliver
ed is defined as the default delivery location.
1. On the Tools menu, click Account Settings.
2. On the E-mail tab, select the new e-mail account, and then click Change Fo
3. In the New E-mail Delivery Location dialog box, select the Inbox of the ol
d .pst file.
4. Click Finish.
5. Exit and restart Outlook.
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Step 6: Remove unwanted data file
You may want to discard the Personal Folders file that was created when you set
up Outlook. Before you proceed, it is very important that you first click in the
Inbox for that Personal Folders file and make sure that no new items were place
d in the Inbox up to this point. You can click and drag any items from the Inbox
of the new .pst file to the old .pst file. Right-click the Personal Folders fil
e that you want to discard, and then click Close Personal Folders. If the Close
Personal Folders option is not available, either you are trying to remove the .p
st file that Outlook created when you started Outlook the first time, or the def
ault delivery location is still pointing to the wrong file. Make sure you are tr
ying to remove the Personal Folders file that doesn't have any of your items, or
repeat the steps in the "Deliver messages to the previously used .pst file" sec
tion to change the default delivery location.
Closing a .pst file doesn't delete the file or remove any items from it. The fil
e is no longer displayed in the Navigation Pane. You can always add any .pst fil

e back to the display:

1. On the File menu, point to Open, and then click Outlook Data File.
2. Click the .pst file you want to open, and then click OK.
Related Office Online discussions
Read related questions and answers from other Microsoft Office customers.
* How do I transfer my address book to a new computer?
* How do I transfer Outlook contents to new computer?
* Outlook 2K3 New computer auto-fill To: field?
See Also
* Manage your mailbox V: Retrieve, back up, or share messages
* What is a Microsoft Exchange account?
* Where does Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 save my information and configura
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