As part of a corporate domain shuffle, our IT people are pushing a change soon that will uninstall Office (2013), create a new user profile on the new domain, re-install Office 2013, and leave us to reconfigure our clients as needed. I've already asked; there's no way to bypass the uninstall/reinstall step. They're doing this to get everybody onto the same version with a new license, apparently.

I've made a lot of customizations to Outlook for accessibility reasons -- font sizes, plain text instead of HTML, folder view settings, and so on. Outlook must be storing that data somewhere, right? I haven't found any way to save all of those settings so that I can re-apply them to the new installation in one batch. Is there anything I can do to copy all this configuration that's better than taking screenshots of all the configuration pages (of which there are many in Outlook) and then stepping through to re-apply them? Maybe there's a config file buried in the Outlook user data or something?

I'm not asking about account settings (it'll be a new account), migrating saved email (it's on the server), migrating contacts, or any of that -- I'm just trying to capture my client UI settings as expediently as possible.

In case it matters, I'm on Windows 7 Enterprise.

  • Some of these settings are saved in hidden folders in your mailbox and as such will be present in a clean install of Outlook. Have you loaded your profile in a clean install to see if you're missing anything important? – I say Reinstate Monica Nov 26 '18 at 20:59
  • I don't have a machine on which to do that experiment. But they're giving us new profiles as part of that, so when you say "loaded your profile in a clean install", what are you referring to? – Monica Cellio Nov 26 '18 at 21:16
  • I'm referring to the state Outlook will be in with a new profile that's configured with your e-mail address (the state it sounds like you'll end up in). You can preview this effect on your existing system by adding a second Outlook profile; just configure it to use your same e-mail address (note--I've not done this to add two identical e-mail address but I'm reasonably certain Outlook won't care since they'll be in separate profiles). – I say Reinstate Monica Nov 26 '18 at 21:29
  • @TwistyImpersonator thanks for clarifying. The new profile will have a new email address. The current profile is me@A, me@A already forwards to me@B, and the new profile will be me@B. It sounds like you're saying that Outlook stores some info for me@A; any idea how to get it out? (I'll try creating me@C -- to avoid interfering with me@B) to see if anything comes over.) – Monica Cellio Nov 26 '18 at 21:40
  • Oh boy, that complicates things. Yes, I am saying some of your settings (e.g. folder views) are saved directly in your Exchange mailbox. If you'll end up with the same mailbox--it doesn't matter what e-mail address you'll use to access it--those settings will persist through this change. However, if you're also getting a new mailbox, (which would likely mean none of your old e-mails would be transferred over), then those settings would not persist. Some of those settings can be exported, but not all and not without difficulty... – I say Reinstate Monica Nov 26 '18 at 21:44

Outlook saves some settings in your mailbox and the rest in the Windows Registry*. For users of Exchange-based (including Office 365) mailboxes, your mailbox is on the server and "follows" you from one Outlook instance to the next. For non-Exchange users, your mailbox is your PST file.

It should be possible to transfer those settings stored in the registry by exporting and re-importing the relevant registry data.

Because the settings saved in the Registry include your e-mail address and server information, this will NOT work if those values will be different on the target computer. (I don't know how to work around this since most of the values Outlook stores in the Registry are encoded.)

Here's how to move your Outlook profile to a new computer (warning: I've not tested this [yet]!):

  1. On the source computer, identify the Outlook profile name being used:

    a. Run the command Outlook /manageprofiles
    b. In the Mail Setup - Outlook dialog click Show Profiles...
    c. The next window shows all of your Outlook profiles by name. If you have only one, make note of its name. If you have multiple, use the Properties button to inspect them to determine which one you're interested in.

  2. With Outlook closed, open regedit and navigate to the Registry key appropriate for your version of Outlook:

    Office 2010 and older: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\<profilename>

    Office 2013+: HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\<version>\Outlook\Profiles\<profilename>

    Where <profilename> is the name you identified in step 1c above.

  3. Export the entire <profilename> key to a .REG file (right-click the key, then Export)

  4. Copy the exported Registry file to the destination computer and double-click it to import it into the Registry. WARNING: This will overwrite an existing Outlook profile on the destination computer if it has the same name.
  5. If this is the only profile configured on the computer, simply open Outlook. It will automatically use the profile.
  6. If you have multiple profiles configure Outlook to prompt you for which profile to use as follows:

    a. Run the command Outlook /manageprofiles
    b. In the Mail Setup - Outlook dialog click Show Profiles...
    c. The next window select the Profile for a profile to be used radio button.
    d. Click OK to save and exit

*A few settings aren't stored in either place. Your e-mail signature is a notable exception.

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