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Transferring Outlook to New Computer - The Basics
For transferring Outlook to a new computer, you can simply copy the PST files from the older computer to a removable device. Once done, you just need to add these PST files to Microsoft Outlook on new computer. Copying PST files helps you transfer Outlook information to a new PC as these files contain all the data pertaining to one or more e-mail accounts plus other information such as Contacts, Calendars and Tasks. It also stores the rules that you create for the e-mail account(s) related to that PST file.
Basically, your default folders for Contacts, Calendars, Tasks etc are stored in Outlook.pst. The Outlook.pst also contains e-mail settings for your first POP3 account. When you configure other POP3 e-mail accounts, Microsoft Outlook creates a different PST file for each. Similarly, it creates a different PST file for each IMAP and HTTP account that you configure using Microsoft Outlook.
If you want to transfer Outlook information to new computer, you need to copy the Outlook.pst file to the new computer. Also, you need to copy all other PST files pertaining to other POP3 accounts on your old computer.
You can choose to omit the PST files pertaining to IMAP and HTTP accounts as these files just hold the basic information about synchronization of folders, account settings, etc. They do not really contain your e-mail messages. If you are using Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010 on the new computer, you can omit copying PST files pertaining to your IMAP and HTTP accounts and let Outlook configure the e-mail accounts again on the new computer. If you are using Outlook 2003 on the new computer, you may want to save time on manually configuring the IMAP and HTTPS accounts. In this case, it is better to copy the PST files pertaining to these accounts.
Tip: If you have not configured the Outlook on new machine yet (2003 and above), copying all PST files may save you time on configuration. Most of the times, Outlook will pick up information from these files to configure itself to give you all the accounts you configured on the old computer.
The following explains transferring Outlook to new computer.
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Transferring Outlook to a New Computer - Copy, Paste and Add
For transferring Outlook to a new Windows PC, you need to know the location of the PST files. Note that you cannot copy any PST file if Microsoft Outlook is open. Close Microsoft Outlook on the old computer and follow these steps to copy the PST files for transferring Outlook to new computer.
To locate PST files in Windows XP, press CTRL + F. In the resulting search window, type in *.PST and press Enter. A list of PST files appears to the right pane of the window. Right click on each and select Copy. Paste the file to a removable storage. Make sure you copy all the PST files displayed in the Windows XP Search Window.
To locate PST files in Windows 7, open Windows Explorer. Click on Computer icon in the left pane. The right pane displays the contents of the Hard Drive. In the Search bar towards top-right, type *.pst and press Enter. You get a list of PST files on the old computer in the same window. Copy all files and store them on a removable storage device.
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After Copying: Transfer Outlook Information to a New Computer
Now that you have all PST files on the removable storage device, you can proceed to transfer Outlook information to the new computer. Normally, it is better to use the Import Export option in Microsoft Outlook to import and add the information to the email client. However, if you have not installed and configured Microsoft Outlook on the new computer, you may simply copy the PST files to the location of default PST files so that Outlook picks up information and configures itself to give you all the desired accounts and email messages, folders contained in each PST file.
Follow these steps to transfer Outlook information to new computer:
1. Attach the removable storage device to new computer.
2. If Microsoft Outlook is not already installed on the new computer, install it. Close Outlook before proceeding to step 3. You need to close Microsoft Outlook before copying files because if it is open, you may get error messages while trying to replace files.
3. First of all, you will have to replace the default Outlook.pst file created by Microsoft Outlook on the new machine. This is because if you dont replace it and instead, use Import Export Wizard, you may not be able to find the information about contact, calendar, tasks etc.
4. Look for Outlook.pst on the new machine using Windows Search Feature as explained on the previous page. Open the folder of already present Outlook.pst by right clicking on the file and selecting Show in Folder. Copy the Outlook.pst file from the removable storage and paste it in the folder. When asked for replacing, confirm by clicking on Yes.
We replaced it so that the copied Outlook.pst becomes the default PST file and shows all items properly on the new machine. If you have not configured Outlook on the new machine, you may want to copy all the PST files to the same folder where Outlook.pst exists. This increases the chances that Outlook may automatically configure itself when you re-open it. It may not work in some cases and you may have to use the Export Import Wizard.
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Transfer Outlook Information to New Computer Using Export Import Wizard
4. In the Import Export Wizard, select Import From Another Program or File. Click Next.
5. Select Outlook Data File and again click Next.
6. Click on Browse to locate the file on the removable device where your copied PST files are stored. Select a PST file and click OK. Click Next.
7. Under Select the Folder to Import From, select the topmost option. It would be the parent folder for all the components in that PST file. Click Finish.
Repeat these steps to import all the remaining PST files present on the removable storage (except Outlook.pst that you already copied).
This explains transferring Outlook to new computer. In short, to transfer Outlook information to new computer, you copied all PST files from old computer, pasted them on a portable storage device, and then added them to Microsoft Outlook on the new computer using Import Export Wizard.
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Screenshots from Outlook 2010, Windows XP and Windows 7
Microsoft Knowledgebase, Document ID: 287070
Transferring Outlook New Computer - A Guide
Continuing further, this series on Microsoft Outlook offers five more tips on dealing with the e-mail client and its components. It covers Outlook PST repair, Saving Outlook e-mails as HTML to disk, Spam Blocking, Email setup and Transferring Outlook to new computer.