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Setting up Outlook 2010 on a new PC and using PST files from the HDD of a dead PC

Posted on 2016-07-14
Last Modified: 2016-07-20
To Outlook Experts:

I have a new PC.  I have installed my 2010 Office and need to set up Outlook.

I would prefer to have the main inboxes that I had on my old PC.  I have two PST files from the old PC.  One showed my email, contacts, calendar, etc when it was set up as POP3;  another showed it as IMAP.

I was able to set up my account on the new PC as IMAP but the process created a new PST file.  I had moved the two PST files that had been recently backed up to an external drive before the old PC crashed to the same location (c:\users\owner\appdata\local\Microsoft\Outlook) on the new PC.  I am not sure how to have Outlook look at those PST files.  

I would like my Outlook on this new PC to look just like it did on the old one.  Is this possible?


Question by:Robert
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41711581
It will not look exactly the same.

You set up Outlook, set up the main account, bring in or import the PST files. Set up any remaining accounts. Accounts are not maintained in PST files.

Then you have to set up views, appearance, and folder properties. None if this is in the PST file. PST has mail, calendar, contacts and tasks.

Author Comment

ID: 41711593
Hi John,

When I set up the account, it did not use either of the old PST files.  Do I have to have a 3rd set?  One old set was from the same account as POP3 and the other was as IMAP.  The account has been set up again as IMAP.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41711609
Depending on where you put the file, setting up an account will not necessary use a PST file. Did you try importing it (File, Open, Import, PST, browse).
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Author Comment

ID: 41719562
not in any particular order:

a)  What is confusing is that I cannot seem to set up the account and immediately use an existing PST file.  

 b)  It seems to create a new one even if I match the name from the field that is used to name a new file.  

c)  There does not seem to be an option to use an existing file.

d)  If I import a file, will I no longer need that file?  IE, will its contents be stored in that new file?

e)  And if I have 3 different emails being pulled into that one user's Outlook account, will (d) still hold?

My apologies, John, I'm not quite sure I'm getting it.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41719572
(d) Yes, although I would saving the original file(s) in case you start over.
(e) Yes, although when starting, point each (all) email accounts to the same data file (PST file) assuming that is what you want. I have all accounts pointing to one file.

(c) Copy a PST file to backup.pst and you will be able to import from that.

Always put all of your PST files somewhere safe so you can start over if need be.

Author Comment

ID: 41719623
John, you said, "(e) Yes, although when starting, point each (all) email accounts to the same data file (PST file) assuming that is what you want. I have all accounts pointing to one file."

What does that mean?  How would I do that?  Does that mean that Outlook would use the existing file and not create a new PST file?

I think I need detailed instructions to do what I believe you're suggesting.

Every time I add a new email account, Outlook *always* creates a new PST file.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41719626
Do you want all email addresses pointing to the same PST file?  I need to know before I list a bunch of instructions.

You can (a) point all email accounts to one PST or (b) have one separate PST for each email account. Which would you like?

Author Comment

ID: 41719638
I *like* the idea of having a separate PST file for each email address.  As well, I would prefer to have contacts and calendars to be separated by email address (for this particular setup).

So, assume that I have a new PC with the same version of Outlook (2010) freshly installed.  Then, I have four PST files for 3 email accounts.  One email account was set up previously as POP3 and then again as IMAP and the contents were never "imported" from the older to the newer (IMAP).

Is that enough detail?

Of course, I appreciate your help!
LVL 93

Accepted Solution

John Hurst earned 500 total points
ID: 41719644
Outlook automatically makes a new PST file for each email account. That much is easy.

The issue then, is to sort out your PST files and import the ones you want to each email account.

Best way:  Isolate all PST files in a neutral location away from Outlook. Copy each to backup1.pst, backup2.pst and so on.

Now go to an account and import what you think is correct. If wrong, start over. That is the reason for good backups.

Author Comment

ID: 41719674
I will report back with you - will be tomorrow at the earliest.  

I concur -- backups are essential and good backups provide overlapping in coverage.

Author Comment

ID: 41721316
It took several hours to import this 11 GB file (when the one email account was set up as POP3), but it worked.  Since the other two do not need contacts or calendars imported, I'm stopping there.

John, thank you for your help.

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41721339
I tracked down the way to import, but even Microsoft's explanation with screen grabs was not sufficient.  I was left to my own devices when it was asking what folder I wanted.  But it did not list the folder in that dropdown that I wanted, even though it was visible on the left-hand panel of Outlook.  So I settled for the Outlook Data File.

It's not your fault, John - Microsoft could make recovery and transfer of Outlook Data Files much simpler!

I use Thunderbird for my personal email client.  While I'm not happy with everything about it, setting up an existing email account on a new PC is relatively painless;  just move the existing folder to a desired spot and then, when setting up the email account, point it to that folder.

Again, thanks for jumping in to help me sort thru this.
LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 41721346
Thank you for the update and I was happy to assist you with your issues.

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