This page covers the steps necessary to set up Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2016, or Outlook 2019 on a new computer.
The steps are similar for all versions of Outlook and Windows, but dialogs and folder paths can vary between versions or builds.
If you use Exchange accounts (including Outlook.com), you only need to move archive PST files; everything in the mailbox will sync down to the account on the new computer. The same applies to IMAP accounts, however, IMAP is email-only.
By default, if your mail server supports IMAP, Outlook will create an IMAP account. If you want to use POP3, you'll need to choose the option to change settings.
- Step 1: Get the files from old computer
- Step 2: Put Files on New Computer
- Step 3: Create a Profile
- Step 4: More Settings
- Step 5: Add Old Data File (*.PST)
- Step 6: Finishing Touches
- Step 7: Signatures & Stationery (and custom dictionary)
Do you leave mail on the POP3 server? See this section. By default Outlook 2010 and up 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 (Outlook Data File) and create a new profile using this PST, the other files Outlook uses are created as you use Outlook.
- When you use IMAP or Exchange (including Outlook.com), Outlook will need to resync the mail. For Exchange, it will also sync calendar, contacts, and tasks.
- If you use Outlook 2013 or newer on the old computer and have Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks folders labeled 'this computer only', expert the folders to a CSV.
- 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.
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, Outlook.com, or Exchange mailbox as the mail (and calendar and contacts for Outlook.com 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. You may also have an archive PST file.
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. you dont need the IMAP data file. Outlook will create a new data file.
Beginning with Outlook 2013, Outlook uses an *.OST file for IMAP accounts, and can store Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks in the *.OST file, in folders labeled '(This computer only)'. If you have Outlook items in the 'This computer only' folders, you'll need to export the Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks (and Notes) from these folders to a CSV 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 up), the default location for *.pst files used for POP3 or for calendar and contacts is in 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.
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 or 513KB PST files, they are empty and don't need to be moved.
Show Hidden Files
In 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%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
In this folder you'll have the NK2 (autocomplete nickname file, Outlook 2007), or autocomplete stream files (Outlook 2013/2016), 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. You may want to copy the NK2 or autocomplete stream file to the new computer so you have your autocomplete list. (Either will need to be renamed to replace the file your new profile creates.) The SRS and XML files corrupt easily and I don't recommend moving them.
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 and will be on the new computer if you copy the PST but to be safe, export them to an RWZ file. Rules are NOT included when you Import and Export.
Also export names on the safe and blocked senders lists. Export all 3 safe/blocked lists (if they contain names).
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.
Put the PST files in Documents\Outlook Files or in the desired location (that is easy to back up). PST files are not supported in network locations or in cloud drives, such as OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.
Open the Office folder using the command below and place the ribbon files in it.
Step 3: Create a Profile
Now you are ready to create the new profile. If you use IMAP or Exchange accounts, click on the Outlook shortcut and use the auto account setup wizard to create your account. If you need to customize the configuration or use POP, you may want to skip the auto account setup wizard, especially if you use Outlook 2016 or Outlook 2019.
To set up the account manually, you'll need to use the Mail applet. You can find it in the Control panel or use the manageprofiles switch.
To use the /manageprofiles switch, right-click on the Start button and choose Run or press Windows key + R to open the Run command.
Type or paste the following into the Open field and press Enter or click OK to restart Outlook. (There is a space before /.)
- Click Add and enter a name for the profile.
- Enter your account information and password and let Outlook find the basic account information.
- Outlook will default to IMAP, so click the Change account setting box and click Next if you want to use POP.
- Choose Existing Outlook Data file and browse to find the one you moved.
- Click Next and finish the wizard.
Outlook will be able to find the settings for almost all email accounts when you use Auto Account Setup. Outlook will set your account up for you. If you use IMAP, I recommend using it as it eliminates errors.
For a video tutorial showing how to create a new profile, see How to Create a New Profile
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.
After Outlook sets up the account using auto account setup, you can click the Manually configure server settings box to get into More Settings and customize the Outgoing server settings. You will need to do this if you have an old PST to use with a POP account.
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: 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.)
Outgoing 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: 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 auto-account setup 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.
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.
- Select the newly created profile then click Properties.
- Click Data files button to open the Account Settings dialog to the Data files tab.
- Click Add then browse to your existing PST file.
- If you are asked to select a PST format, choose Outlook Personal File. Click Ok
- Select your existing PST file.
- You can enter a friendly name or just click Ok to return to the Account Settings dialog.
- Click the Set as Default button.
- 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.)
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.
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 may re-download all of the mail.
As long as you move the old POP PST file, Outlook should know what mail was previously downloaded and skip it. But, just in case it doesn't, disable your internet connection and set up a rule to Move mail received yesterday.
- Rules > Manage Rules and alerts.
- Click New rule, Select Apply to all mail I receive and click Next.
- About 10 from the bottom is ‘ received in a specific date range’
- Tick before and choose yesterday (or the last time you checked mail)
- Click next, choose move it to the specified folder and choose a folder.
- Finish the wizard and close the dialog.
- Go back on line.
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.
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.
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 above).