• I need to move an Outlook profile with 8 email accounts (so there are 8 .ost files) from one Computer to another.
  • On top (not sure whether that's actually relevent to my question) the source profile is Outllok 2016 while the target machine has Outlook 2010 installed. I am aware that I'll need to convert .ost datafiles to .pst datafiles and I know hoe to appraoch this

my question here is:

Do I have to create accounts (or at least one account) in the new Outlook 2010 instance before I can link them to the existing datafiles or can I skip the account creation on first startup and will get ready accounts by connecting to the datafiles?


Outlook stores the settings for an email account in the Windows registry, not in the data file. Therefore it will be necessary to move your accounts as follows:

  1. Copy the data files to the new computer.
  2. For each account, go through the new account wizard as though you were adding the account for the first time.
  3. During the wizard instead of letting Outlook create a new data file, point it to the correct PST file.

It's worth noting that email accounts that store their data in an OST file don't require the process above. That's because unlike a PST file, an OST file is just a copy of the data stored on the server. In other words, all of the account's content is stored on the server. For these types of accounts all that's necessary to add the account to a new instance of Outlook is to add the account and let Outlook rebuild the OST file by syncing with the server.

  • "just a copy of the data stored on the server" ... in other words imap (which is in play in this particular case)?. – vrms Aug 16 '18 at 12:21
  • @vrms yes. Exchange is also another example of such an account. – Twisty Impersonator Aug 16 '18 at 12:24
  • just got the hint from elsewhere to 'export' each account from the old outlook (which creates a .pst file) and then to 'import' this in the new instance. Does that make sense in terms of not having to setup the accounts first in the new instance? Or do I need an account first to at least have something to import into again? – vrms Aug 16 '18 at 12:47
  • @vrms Nope. That won't export the account settings. – Twisty Impersonator Aug 16 '18 at 12:48

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.