Outlook 2010 New Account Old PST Data File

This has seriously had me screaming long streams of swear words but I finally sussed it out. What was I trying to do? Well I recently installed Windows 7 and therefore did a fresh install of Outlook 2010 as well. I had saved my old PST file so now I had just done “File->Account Settings->Data Files” and then added it there. It seemed ok but then I started getting phone calls from people asking why I hadn’t replied to their emails. Turns out I was a doofus and thought that my PST file would also hold the account settings. Wrong!

So then I removed the data file from Outlook and created a new account with the same name. The idea here was that I would then close Outlook and replace the new PST file with my old one. Didn’t work. Outlook just created another new PST file with “(1)” at the end of the name.

Attempt number three saw me trying the import functionality “File->Open->Import->Import from another program or file” at which point I picked my old file and tried to merge it with the new one. That was also a no go as it would not allow me to create the same folder structure. Basically, if the folder did not already exist in the new account then I could not add it. The account in question is an IMAP one and the folder structure can’t be changed. I could add new ones if I logged in to my email accounts web interface but they had to be sub folders of the Inbox which is not what I wanted. Also, no calender or task support. Again, epic fail.

Then I finally worked it out. Originally when I was creating the email accounts in Outlook I used the wizard. That was my mistake. As usual, the solution was very simple. “File->Account Settings->New->Email Account” and then instead of filling in the Email Account fields I chose “Manually configure server settings or additional server types” and then on the next page “Internet E-Mail”. Fill in all the details and then on the right hand side there is a section that says “Deliver new messages to” and under there are two options “New Outlook Data File” and “Existing Outlook Data File”. At this point I picked the second option and browsed to my old PST file. Then it was just a case of doing Next a few times to save the settings. That’s it, now I have my email account setup and it is using my old PST file. Hoora!

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  • Morrie

    1.) Take the “outlook.PST” file (your old one) and move it to the it’s (new) program location
    or (in XP) [Documents and Settings]/Apllication Data/Microsoft/Outlook

    replace what ever is there (if you haven’t used it yet-in the case of a new installation-transfer).)

  • Sufian


  • Aaron

    This only works for POP3 accounts, the option “Existing Outlook Data File” does not exist for IMAP.

  • Megan

    Thank you so much for this! I have just been going through the same thing and your solution ended hours of trying to do what you had done. I should have googled it first up!

  • Pete Frentzos
    Pete Frentzos

    Thanks – Solved my problem!

  • James

    THANK YOU! WOW, I work with computers all day everyday, and this little, annoying $#@^%#&^ had me really, really wanting to throw my laptop somewhere very far. Thank you!

  • bj

    I upgraded from Outlook 2003 on an old XP computer. Your method worked fine.
    Only issue was that it set the 2003 rules to “on this compter” and then read it as on ANOTHER computer. I had to manually unclick it on a lot of rules.
    Sure beats redoing the entire rule.

    One other tip.
    I needed to use the new machine before I got this to work, so I already had a default new PST defined without rules and subfolder.
    I had to manually go into the setup screens and make the new one default and then remove the old temporary pst.

    I then opened the temporary pst – File/open, manually moved the inbox items to the correct file and then tested my rules by running them all on the converted inbox to distribute the items correctly.

  • Nij

    Thank you! But then again, unfortunately this does not work if you are connecting to an IMAP account. In this case, Outlook removes the option to connect to a pre-existing data file.

    I think you could well say; what’s the problem? It’s IMAP so you will download all the folders from your IMAP server? – But in fact I believe your local PST file could be used to store other items (e.g. archived messages).

    Thanks for your post though, which did draw my attention to an option I had ‘lost’ from previous versions of Outlook 🙂

  • Steve Walters
    Steve Walters

    This worked perfectly. Thanks so much. I was pulling my hair out.

    For some reason it decided to download 1000 duplicate emails but I can clean that up. Overall this fix was perfect!!!!

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