Export Search Folder Config

Posted on 2012-09-20
Last Modified: 2014-07-23

Is there any way to export the search folders from Outlook 2010?

I don´t want to export the messages. I want to export the search criteria from each search folder and import them in another Outlook installation instead of creating all the search folders again.
Question by:ClaudioPaixao
    LVL 14

    Accepted Solution

    No, unfortunately you can't do that. The only way to make it work is if you originally created the search folders from the Advanced Search prompt, and at the same time saved that search as an OSS file. If that's at all something that you want to do, here are the instructions:

    Author Comment

    Do you know where Outlook stores these configurations?

     Perhaps week could extract it directly from the configuration file or copy the old config file over the new installation.
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    No, sorry. I've never seen any documentation on this. I know it's not in the registry or the PST file, but I don't know exactly where it does store it.

    One thing you could do (which would be a pain if you have a lot of those) would be to right-click on the search folder, then click "Customize this search folder". You could then see all the search criteria and manually copy it over to a different PC

    Author Comment

    Than for your suggestion. This is exactly what I am doing and what I was trying to avoid because of the time required for the 20+ complicated search criteria.
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    Just an FYI on some info I have gleaned by recent experiences:

    It appears that the outlook search folders are actually stored on the exchange server as part of the user's mailbox in some way - this is at least true for the ones which use the advanced rules editor - and it may be possible to find them in the user's registry hive or OST or related outlook settings file as well..

    I have moved laptops  several times in the last few months and noticed that on Outlook 2013, with Exchange 2010, the search folders would each re-appear on each new laptop when I set-up email (True whether the original copy of outlook was running at the time).

    Initially i was disappointed because it appeared that all the search folders on the new copy were not functioning properly, however when I turned the advanced rules editor on using the registry edit, and then looked at the rules of the folders they all appeared there properly, and the folders began to function correctly.


      A) Search folders only work locally on the copy of outlook to which they belong.
      B) They re-appeared with all rules on a new copy of outlook once connected to exchange.
      C) They began to function once the advanced rule editor was enabled.
      D) You can create search folders in non-exchange scenarios which function correctly
      E) You can edit folder criteria while outlook that is connected to exchange is offline.

    Then it seems to be that the following is the likely scenario:

      The exchange server has a complete copy of this data in the user's mailbox; and that the Search folders are stored in the User's outlook email profile or their PST/OST file as some sort of metadata.

      (Although still possible that they are stored in the normal user registry hive somewhere, I believe it's previously been determined this is not the case).

      The Registry key which turns on the advanced rule editor either syncs down the search folder rules (at least the advanced rules) and/or also acts as a binary for whether outlook should use those rules if found or simply ignore them.  (Given past experience, I have a feeling that the answer is the former rather than the latter, or both parts, but there is insufficient data to be certain.)

    Author Comment

    Thank you for your comments.

    I have noticed this behavior before when I reinstalled the software in one computer but I still can´t transfer a copy of my search folders to other users neither use an external editor to work with the complicated search criteria.

    I don´t have much space for testing, specially with registry, because I don´t have an extra Exchange server. I cannot risk the production server.

    Best regards!

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