Moving Outlook to a new Windows computer

Last reviewed on February 22, 2014

This page covers the steps necessary to move Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013 from Windows 7 to a new computer running Windows 7 or Windows 8. This page is an update to our page at Moving Outlook to a New Computer, which covers moving Outlook 2003 or 2007 from Windows XP to Windows 7 (or 8).

The steps are similar for all versions of Outlook and Windows, but dialogs and folder paths can vary. This page uses screenshots and menus from Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.

Do you leave mail on the POP3 server? See this section. By default Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 automatically leave POP3 mail on the server for 14 days.

Things to keep in mind when you are preparing the new computer:

  • You really only need to move the PST and create a new profile using this PST, the other files Outlook uses are created as you use Outlook.
  • If you use Windows Easy Transfer to move your Outlook data, you may need to recreate your Outlook profile as the move process can corrupt the profile.
  • You need to install Office (or Outlook) on the new computer. You can only move user data, not the program itself.
  • Your accounts are stored in the registry and need to be recreated on the new computer.

Get the files from old computer | Put files on New Computer | Create a Profile | More Settings
Add Old Data File (*.PST) | Finishing Touches | Signatures & Stationery
Leave on Server issues | Links

Step 1: Get the files from old computer

If you use POP3 or have archives or local PST files in your profile, you'll need to move them to the new computer. It's not necessary to move data files used for IMAP email, Hotmail Connector, or Exchange mailbox as the mail (and calendar and contacts for Hotmail and Exchange) are stored on the mail server.

If you need to recover pst files from a hard drive removed from a crashed computer, see Recover Outlook Data Files from a Crashed Computer

The PST file contains your POP3 email, calendar, and contacts.

If you have an IMAP account in Outlook 2010 or older, you'll have email in one PST file and a separate *.PST file for Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, and Notes. You'll need to copy the *.PST used for calendar and contacts to the new computer. Outlook 2013 uses an *.OST file for IMAP accounts, with Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks stored in the *.OST file. You'll need to export the Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks (and Notes) to a *.pst file to use them on the new computer.

You may have more than one PST. In most cases, they will be in the default location Outlook uses. In Outlook 2010 (and 2013), the default location for *.pst used for POP3 or for an IMAP accounts calendar and contacts is in My Documents\Outlook Files.

When the pst files are in the default location for Outlook 2007 and older (in C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook), you can quickly access the default PST location from Windows Explorer by pasting this line in Windows Explorer's address bar to jump to the folder.

%localappdata%\Microsoft\Outlook

You'll see a list of files in the Outlook folder. You need to copy the Outlook Data Files (PST). Note that Outlook needs to be closed to copy a pst that is in the active profile. Outlook can hold PST files open for as long as 30 minutes after you close Outlook; if you receive any errors when copying the PST, wait a few minutes and try again.

You'll copy the PSTs to the new computer. If you have several PSTs in the folder and aren't sure which one is the one with your data, look at the file dates and file sizes. If you have 265KB PST files, they are empty and don't need to be moved.

Show Hidden Files

Show hidden files and folders in Windows 8If you have Windows configured to hide extensions, enable File name extensions on Window Explorer's View ribbon.

Show hidden files and folders in WindowsIn Windows 7, show file name extensions on the Organize, Folder and Search Options, View tab. This makes it easier for you to see the files you are copying.

You can also choose the option to Show hidden files and folders, although its not necessary since we are in the hidden folders.

Get the other Outlook support files

Paste the following line into the address bar to jump to C:\Users\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

%appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook

In this folder you'll have the NK2 (autocomplete nickname file, Outlook 2007), SRS (send and receive settings), XML (navigation pane and account configuration), outlprnt (printer configuration) and OTM (VBA project files).

If you are using macros, you'll need to move the VBA file. If you are using Outlook 2007, you may want to copy the NK2 to the new computer so you have your autocomplete list. The SRS and XML files corrupt easily and I don't recommend moving them.

Support files used by Outlook 2013

Ribbon customizations (.officeUI files) are stored in C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office (%localappdata%\Microsoft\Office). You can export your customizations from the application or copy the officeUI files from this folder.

Rules are stored in the PST but to be safe, export them to an RWZ file.

Export rules

Also export names on the safe and blocked senders lists. Export all 3 safe/blocked lists (if they contain names).

Export safe and blocked junk mail lists

Step 2: Copy the Files to the New Computer

Install Outlook on the new computer, if you haven't already.

It's not necessary to uninstall Office (or Outlook) from the old computer before installing it on the new computer; uninstalling it will not deactivate the license. Read the EULA to determine if you are in violation of the licensing agreement by leaving it installed.

If you are using Outlook 2003 or 2007, open the AppData Roaming folder using the following command and copy the NK2 file (and SRS and XML, if desired) to the folder. The VBA project goes into this folder also. If the Outlook folder does not exist under Microsoft, create it.

%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Outlook

Put the PST files in My Documents\Outlook Files or in the desired location.

Open the Office folder using the command below and place the ribbon files in it.

%localappdata%\Microsoft\Office

Step 3: Create a Profile

After the PST file is on the local drive, type Mail in the Search field on the Start menu or type Mail on the Start screen. Or go to Control Panel and find Mail then open the Profile dialog.

  1. Click the Show Profiles button.
  2. Click Add to create a new profile.
  3. Enter a descriptive name for your profile.
  4. Enter the name you want to use for your display name, your email address, and your password.

If your mail provider supports Auto Account Setup, Outlook will set your account up for you. (Most large ISPs support support it.)

For a video tutorial showing how to create a new profile, see How to Create a New Profile

If your ISP doesn't support autosetup or if you want to set up an account using other server options, click the Manually configure... checkbox to set up your account yourself.

Choose the account type and click Next. Enter your name, email address and mail server names as well as your password. Most mail servers do not require SPA, so leave it unchecked unless your ISP tells you to use it.

Manually configure accountAfter Outlook sets up the account using autosetup, you can click the Manually configure server settings box to get into More Settings and customize the Outgoing server settings.

Step 4: More Settings

If you clicked Finish and returned to the Profile selection dialog, select your profile and click Properties to get to the More Settings button.

Configure additional server options in the More Settings dialog, including leaving mail on the server (for POP3 accounts) and alternate SMTP ports.

Outlook 2010 users with IMAP accounts can select Sent items and Deleted Items folders. (Outlook 2013 queries the IMAP server for the Sent and Deleted items folders to use, therefore you can't select the Sent and Deleted folders in More Settings.)

General tab Outlook 2013General tab: Enter a Reply to Address, if using an address different from your account address on the first screen. (Most people don't enter a reply address.)

Internet Options Outlook 2013Outgoing Server tab: Configure your outgoing server authentication. Many ISPs now require SMTP authentication. If you aren't sure, check your mail provider's support website.

Advanced tab Outlook 2013Advanced tab: Configure alternate ports (if used) for incoming and going email on this tab and set POP3 accounts to leave mail on the server, if desired.

If you aren't sure if you need to use an Alternate port, check your mail provider's support. Many mail servers use the standard ports but more and more are using alternate ports in an effort to combat spam.

If you use autodiscover to configure the account, the correct ports may be entered for you.

If you aren't sure - ask your mail provider!

Click Ok when you are finished configuring More Settings then click Next to exit the New Profile wizard.

Step 5: Add Your Existing Data File (PST) to the Profile

If you have an Outlook data file (*.PST) you want to use as the default account in your new profile, choose the option to Manually configure account after AutoSetup is finished. Choose to use an existing data file and select the pst file you moved from the other computer.

Select PST file

If you did not select to manually configure the account and returned to the Profile dialog, follow these steps. Do not open Outlook until you change the PST.

  1. Select the newly created profile then click Properties.
  2. Click Data files button to open the Account Settings dialog to the Data files tab.
  3. Click Add then browse to your existing PST file.
  4. If you are asked to select a PST format, choose Outlook Personal File. Click Ok
  5. Select your existing PST file.
  6. You can enter a friendly name or just click Ok to return to the Account Settings dialog.
  7. Click the Set as Default button.
  8. Select the PST Outlook created when it created the profile and click Remove. If you want, click Open folder to find and delete this PST.

Close the dialogs.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

If you are going to use the NK2 from your old computer, use the following command to open the Outlook folder where the NK2 belongs and rename the old one to match the name of your new profile. (If Outlook created a new NK2 already, delete it.)

%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Outlook

Now start Outlook. Check your calendar and contacts folders then open a new message and click the To button. Do you see your Contacts?

Go to Tools, Rules Wizard and check your rules. Import the RWZ file if necessary.

In Tools, Options, Junk email, import the Safe and Blocked lists.

Step 7: Signatures & Stationery

If you are using Signatures, custom Stationery, or want to save your custom dictionary, you'll want to move these files to the new computer. Use the command below to open the folder where the Signature, Stationery, and Proof folders are (on both computers).

Outlook doesn't use the Stationery folder under My Documents, the stationery needs to be in the appdata\roaming path. Create the Stationery folder if it does not exist.

%APPDATA%\Microsoft\

After moving the signatures, you'll need to configure your accounts to use them. This is in File, Options, Mail format tab, Signatures.

Note: For signatures created in older versions of Outlook, select the signature in the signature editor and press Save to convert it to newer HTML code. Repeat for each older signature. This converts the HTML to newer code (using CSS) and prevents inconsistencies which may come up when switching or deleting signatures in a message.

Leave Mail on the server issue

When you use a POP3 account and leave mail on the server, Outlook will always re-download all of the mail. If you use the data file in Outlook 2010 and use it in a new profile, Outlook 2010 and 2013 might not try to download the messages already downloaded, but moving from any other version will result in the messages being downloaded again.

Some email accounts can be configured to only allow new mail or mail that arrived after a certain date to be downloaded. Log into your account online and check your account options to see if you are one of the lucky ones. For most people, the only workaround is to log into the account using the web browser and move the mail to a new folder as Outlook will only download the mail that is in the Inbox.

More Information

Customizations made in File, Options are in the registry under the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office key. In most cases, I do not recommend exporting this key. Most settings will be lost if you are upgrading to a new version of Outlook.

Windows Messaging Backup and Dual-Boot
Outlook 2007 Backup and File Locations
Outlook 2010 Backup and File Locations

How to move the IMAP personal folder (*.pst)
To move a Personal Folders .pst file
Where Are My Files? (Outlook-tips.net)

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

42 responses to “Moving Outlook to a new Windows computer”

  1. Readynerd

    You HAVE to be kidding. I use Gmail exclusively and could not figure out why I was not getting all my mail. I have folders set up in my Gmail to keep my inbox organized. OUTLOOK continues to fall short in the real world. Hopefully this has been fixed in OL 2013.

    For most people, the only workaround is to log into the account using the web browser and move the mail to a new folder as Outlook will only download the mail that is in the Inbox.

  2. Dan

    FINALLY!!! This is EXACTLY what I needed. new outlook is set up and working well. Whew! Thanks for this info.

  3. Brian

    IMAP is the answer. POP3 in Gmail can work, but not as easily.

  4. James Harris

    Is there a way to move emails from a crashed computer to another computer if Outlook has already been installed and opened? I have a drive that has my old Outlook on it (motherboard on laptop went bad). I bought a new laptop and the guys at the store set up all my Outlook accounts for me. Now I have my old drive hooked up as an external. I want to move or import the old messages into my new system. I tried locating the files as above and using the .pst files and it didn't work. I also tried importing the .pst files from the external drive into Outlook 2010 and it did nothing. I learned a few things. I now have the system set up as IMAP so stuff is still on the server. However, the old system was POP3 and I'm missing emails from 2 years ago up until a few weeks ago. Any ideas or suggestions?

  5. Kaushik Bhagat

    How do I transfer Outlook 2010 emails data to a windows 8 computer. POP email acct. Have copied the files n .pst and when I try to create a new profile and use "deliver new messages to" existing outlook data file, i cannot proceed further.

    Thank you

  6. Kaushik Bhagat

    Thank you

  7. ABurro

    Thank you. This allowed me to move Outlook 2010 to a Windows 8 computer without difficulty. I truly appreciate the information here.

  8. Pete

    My new Windows 8 computer didn't come with Outlook. I'm looking at using Thunderbird. Is there a way to transfer the Outlook address book from the old computer in a way that Thunderbird will access it on the new computer?

  9. Sun

    Does this process also transfer the settings? Such as views settings in tasks, quick steps in inbox etc? Thanks

  10. Lee bradley

    The mother board on my laptop went bad and I moved all the files onto a hard drive and moving them to another laptop. I didn't think about my autocomplete feature and I am freaking out not having those email address pop up! I am not a tech savy person what can be done?

  11. Jesse J

    This made it so easy to move my Windows 7 Outlook 2010 to Windows 8 Outlook 2013. No one else could give me a straight answer on how to do this. I hope more people find this useful.

  12. David G.

    Great info, but I have a problem: I have two different email accounts using two different PST files. One is for my own business; one is for a nonprofit that I also work for. I now have a separate laptop for the nonprofit work. When I moved the PST file over to that laptop, none of my Outlook inbox folders came with it. I have over 300 messages that I have stored in that PST - is there any way to move those folders over so they are sorted instead of all in the one inbox folder?

  13. NetGreen

    Yes, I moved the correct PST file. I finally found the folders - they were under a "collapsed" section of the email account's Inbox.

  14. Matt

    I don't often leave comments but felt this was in certain need of one. Having not used outlook for many years having turned to macs, this article made my father's condemned and crashed pc rebuild and migration a piece of cake. Many thanks.

  15. Robert Towns

    Hi Diane,
    Great article covering some things you often don't see mentioned.
    In my case I've copied the PST from a XP PC running Outlook 2010 to a Windows 7 PC running Outlook 2010 and got all running.
    However, when I upgraded the original PC a year ago to Outlook 2010 I imported the NK2 and now believe that data is in the PST (That was June 2012 and worked fine ever since)
    When I use the Win7 PC I don't get any autocomplete working, but can see all the individual entries in the "Suggested contacts"
    How do I get Outlook to use Suggested Contacts in the style of NK2 like it used to - it will not autocomplete.
    When I right click the Suggested Contacts the "Use as an Outlook Address book" (something like that) tick box IS selected already.

    Any thoughts?

  16. Emily Cockrum

    Iam sure your explanation is VERY clear to users who "dummies" category. Unfortunately you lost me on Step 1! I get some email on my new laptop and some on my "real" computer. I want to transfer a particular email from my computer to my laptop. Am I asking something only a genius can do?

  17. LeAnn Cucchiara

    I moved Outlook 2013 from Win7 to new Win8.1 Pro computer via File/Export-Import .pst file. There was some sort of error while importing the file, as a result 2 years worth of emails did not move to new computer. How can I move just those emails? Do not want to overwrite what did move correctly because I have done some work to clean up those files. If I export just that one particular file that holds the 2 years of emails & then import it, will it overwrite my entire .pst file that is already there? If I rename the .pst file and import it, then how would I get those emails into the correct file on new computer? I am pretty much a novice.... please help.

  18. Jay

    Thank you for the detailed step-by-step process. I am trying to move Outlook 2010 on WIn7 to a brand new Outlook 2013 on a Win 8.1 machine. When I type "Mail" in the search box (your step 3), there is no profile option. I have the PST file in C:/documents/outlook files. When I launch the new Outlook 2013, it wants my email address and password. Do I go ahead with this? I am worried it will overwrite my PST file.

  19. Jay

    Yes, POP3. I am new to Windows8 and am having a frustrating time of it. But, I did find out how to find the Mail settings. I opened the Control Panel and searched for "Mail" there. It presents only one option, which is the Mail Setup dialog box. I followed your instructions from there and seem to have Outlook now set up on my new computer. Thank you!

  20. Jeff Taylor

    How would you change these instructions if the goal was to copy the files and settings for 32-bit Outlook 2010, installed in 32-bit Vista, to 32-bit Outlook 2010 installed in 64-bit Windows 7?

  21. Mac

    Hi Diane,
    This is driving me crazy, I've read many articles on this, and all seem to gloss over specific steps. I appreciate that the different OS & versions of Outlook create differences, so wouldn't it make more sense to have a detailed STEP-BY-STEP article for each of the popular versions, instead of trying to amalgamate them into to one or two generic articles ?

    I'm trying to move my data from OE6 on my old XP PC, to Outlook2010 on my new Win7 PC:

    I followed your previous info, by first putting Outlook2010 on my old XP PC, and using OE6 Export-Command to export the emails to a new PST file, & Export-Address-Book (from within OE6 Address-Book)

    I then found the new PST file (in the old folder location): C:\Documents and Settings\mac\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.
    So I copied it to the new location: C:\Documents and Settings\mac\My Documents\Outlook Files

    Then I opened Outlook2010: and my emails seem to be there, in the Inbox, & in the same layout as they are in OE6, + my 20 email accounts.

    BUT there's nothing in my address book.
    I've found the Address-Book-file I created in OE6 at: C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office14 ~ & it contains all of my addresses from my OE6 Address-Book.

    So how do I get my Address-Book into Outlook2010 ??

    Many thanks Mac

  22. Mac

    Hi Diane,
    I forgot to say: In Outlook2010:
    I tried entering a test-contact into its address-book, but it says that the PST file is full !

    I thought the PST file in Outlook2010, was supposed to be capable of a mega-size compare to previous versions with a max file size of about 2GB ?
    And that its size could be increased by the user, but I cant find any info that explains how to do this !

    Also: My original OE6 DBX file was about 3.9GB, but my new Personal Folders(1).pst file is only: 1.9GB (and in the old location there are other files which I did not move to the new location, including: outlook.pst @ 2.097GB)

    Thanks Mac

  23. Doug Jackson

    I'm going to be moving my current Outlook 2010 (Win 7) to a new Win 8 computer. I am planning on deinstalling Outlook license from old computer and installing on the new. I have used all 3 installs previously.

    Is there any particular order in which this needs to be done? I don't want my email down for any amount of time. Is there a grace period in which I can install Outlook on the new computer and have time to move files over before deactivating Outlook on the old machine?

    How would you handle this?

  24. Randy Birch

    Hi Diane

    I am using 2010 on a Win8.1 machine; I have to reinstall (bad drive) to will use my Office 365 acct on the new drive.

    I have all my outlook accounts configured as POP3, and have 15 different mail accounts configured, all downloading into the same PST with rules moving to subfolders based upon the "To" account name.

    What I'd like is to NOT have to manually configure all 15 of these accounts on the new drive, but rather port the registry data over, at least as far as servers, ports, acct names, email addresses etc. I understand the pwds will have to be re-entered; this I can manage.

    What steps will allow me to use the reg data on the new drive to eliminate the setup pains?

  25. Mac

    UPDATE:

    On my OLD XP PC: (with OE & Outlook2010 both installed)

    a: I've exported my emails from OE to Outlook2010, which has created the PST file for Outlook2010
    b: I've moved this new PST file to the new Outlook2010 folder location of:
    C:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents\Outlook Files
    c: I've opened Outlook, and:
    i: All of my emails appear to be there, & in the same folder layout as they are in OE.
    ii: At: File/Info: my 20 email-account-addresses are listed under the 'Account Information' heading.
    ...and they're also listed in the 'E-mail Accounts' window, under the e-mail' tab.
    d: I've Exported my Address-Book to a WAB file

    On my NEW Win7 PC: (with just Outlook2010 installed)

    a: I've copied the PST file from the OLD PC, to the required folder in Outlook2010, at: ie:
    C:\Users\user\Documents\Outlook Files\
    b: Then I copied the WAB file from the OLD PC.
    c: Then I opened Outlook2010, and followed your Video to Import the WAB's Address-Book into the Window-Contact-Folder, and then into Outlook2010.
    d: Now (as on the OLD PC)
    i: All of my emails appear to be there, & in the same folder layout as they are in OE.

    *BUT: My 20 email-account-addresses ARE-NOT listed under the 'Account Information' heading,
    ...and they're NOT-LISTED in the 'E-mail Accounts' window, under the e-mail' tab.

    Q: So how do I get these 20 email-account-addresses into Outlook2010 on Win7 ?

    Thanks

  26. Randy Birch

    Hi Diane ...

    Just wanted to let you know that for the most part, copying the Messaging key did the trick. I installed Win 8.1 fresh, installed Office365, did the registry merge and put my pst in the same folder as before.

    I had to re-add the passwords for all the accounts, but at least I didn't have to reconfigure all my mvps.org accounts. Only thing that got 'broken' was the pst into which each new email was to be received, requiring me using the account setting dialog to re-point each email address to the Inbox. (I use one PST file, have everything arrive in the Inbox, and rules move them to subfolders). Calendar is intact, as is the entire contact list.

    So, for anyone interested, the steps I took (after closing Outlook) were ..

    1. Backed up the files from %appdata%\ roaming\ Microsoft\ Outlook

    2. Backed up the files and folders from %localappdata%\ local\ Microsoft\ Office

    3. Backed up the files and folders from users\ {username}\ appdata\ local\ microsoft\ outlook

    4. Backed up my PST files which Outlook had put in the Documents folder ( documents\ outlook files)

    5. Exported the reg key at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Outlook\Security which contains the value for the OutlookSecureTempFolder. I don't like that folder buried with internet explorer history as invariably at some point I need to find a files I've viewed. Plus, if you mistakenly edit a Word file you've opened from an email then saved and closed, you will find the changed file here, so I move that to c:\personal\olktmp, and change the reg key to that value.

    6. Exported the Windows Messaging Subsystem registry keys, located at HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem

    At this point I installed a new OS on a new drive, installed Office **but did not start Outlook**, then

    7. Double clicked the Windows Messaging reg file to add it to the new registry

    8. Double clicked my olktmp change reg file

    9. Moved my PST files back into the new Documents folder under a new folder named 'outlook files'

    10. Moved the files in #1, 2 and 3 back to the respective locations.

    11. Started Outlook.

    12. Re-pointed the email accounts to the inbox of the main PST file within Outlook.

    Thanks again. Sure was a lot easier than manually configuring all the server, name, authorization and SSL settings for all the accounts.

    Randy

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