Importing and Exporting Mail and User Accounts in Outlook 2007

Productivity, Tips

Outlook 2007 did away with the export account information that was present in earlier editions. So, if a user with one account moves machines, it’s often faster to just recreate the account on the new machine. However, if a user has 8 accounts (like one did today) it’s time to find a better way.

That better way is hidden the registry.

On The Old Machine

Outlook 2007 is nice enough to put all of its account info for each profile under one key.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\

So, first off, close Outlook if it’s running.

To export your Outlook account information, we just need to export that magic key.

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Select the key that you want to save as a file.
  3. On the File menu, click Export.
  4. In the Export Registry File dialog box, in Save in, click the drive, folder, or network computer and folder where you want to save the hive.
  5. In File name, enter a name for the key. (outlook_profile.reg would work great.)
  6. In Save as type, make sure it’s set as Registration Files (*.reg)
  7. Click Save.

Caveats: Every profile on your system under your logon will be exported.

To move your old mail, you’ll need to copy your PST file to the new machine.

  1. Click Start, Run
  2. Type %userprofile%\local settings\application data\microsoft\outlook
  3. Click OK
  4. In that folder there will be some *.pst files. Copy (don’t move!) them to a removable drive or a network share. The one you’re most likely concerned with is outlook.pst

On The New Machine

First, we need to import the profile information.

  1. Double-click the file (outlook_profiles.reg) you exported on the old machine. That will import the new information into the registry. (Simple!)

Next, we need to get your data file back over.

  1. Click Start, Run
  2. Type %userprofile%\local settings\application data\microsoft\outlook
  3. Click OK
  4. Copy (don’t move!) the *.pst files you found on the old machine. The one you’re most likely concerned with is outlook.pst

Lastly, we need to set Outlook to use the profile from the old machine.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Open the Mail applet.
  3. Click on the Show Profiles button.
  4. Choose the profile name that matches the one you used to use from the “Always use this profile” dropdown.
  5. Click OK.

Now, when you open Outlook, you should have your old mail and the mail accounts all set up and ready to go.


Outlook on the new machine mightwill ask you for passwords the first time it does a send/receive on all non-Exchange accounts.

If you know the passwords, awesome. If not, you’ll need to find them out, and we go back to the old machine to do so.

What we need to do is peer behind the dots that Microsoft uses in their password boxes. To do so, we need a piece of freeware that will do that for us.

Passware offers a utility, Asterisk Key, which will do the job.

  1. Download, install and run the tool on the old machine using this link.
  2. Open Notepad.
  3. Open Outlook 2007.
  4. Click Tools, Account Settings.
  5. Double-click the account you don’t know the password to.
  6. Go into Asterisk Key and click the RECOVER icon on the toolbar.
  7. The tool will reveal your password for that account. Click the COPY LINK next to the revealed password.
  8. PASTE the password into your notepad document.
  9. Repeat Steps 5-8 as necessary.
  10. Save the Notepad document so you can move it to the new machine.
  11. At the new machine, paste the passwords from the Notepad document into Outlook.

That oughta do it.

66 thoughts on “Importing and Exporting Mail and User Accounts in Outlook 2007”

  1. Great post Jeff! The only problem I faced on WinVista with Outlook 2007 was that I had to type the passwords of all 16 accounts I had created.

    Thank you!

  2. Dimitris,

    I’m finding that the phrase “Outlook on the new machine might ask you for passwords…” is wishful thinking. In the times I’ve used this, I don’t think it’s ever NOT asked me for the password — except in times when we’re only importing Exchange mailboxes. POP3 and IMAP passwords don’t seem to be stored in with the profile info.

  3. Your article was of great help. I was able to retrieve the account PW, which I thught was lost forever. What a relief! Phew!!

  4. @ Mangoes98 : I know this is a bit late , but for anyone else with Mangoes problem . Think reverse . Open Windows Live Mail , Then click on file then export then Messages.
    Export as MICROSOFT EXCHANGE ( <– Dumb I know but it works ) . It will then ask you what folders you want to export . I just select all but whatever ones you want to send to outlook . Then it sends them in the folders that they are in .DONE ! 😀

  5. Thanks a lot! It does work like a charm, and I’d spent an hour trying to get my head around this before. Bookmarked =)

  6. Hi, I have a question about profiles in Outlook 2007. In my default profile I have 6 mail accounts. I want to create a new profile and move 3 of the accounts to the new profile. How can I do it in a simple way? (The manually way of re creating them in the new profile is part of the age stone…)

  7. Basically, you want to copy the keys from the one profile to the other.

    To do it using REGEDIT, I would create my new profile in Outlook and then go into REGEDIT and look at the PROFILE key — you should see one with a bunch of folders under it (the old profile) and one with not many (if any) folders under it.

    Dump the old key as outlined in the article, but make note of the key of the NEW folder, and do a search/replace in the .reg file to replace the old ProfileID with the new one. Reimport, and all those folders should then show up under the new profile as well. Delete the accounts under the new profile you don’t need, and be on your way…

  8. Hi

    I was directed to this site after doing a Google search for a way to backup and restore Outlook 2007 account settings from a (friend’s) faulty PC to a new one.

    The problem is that if the old PC is not even starting up properly (I am using a Vista Startup Disk to access the files on the HDD), how am I going to get into the registry??!

    Personally I use Mozilla Thunderbird as my email client (and it support IMAP emails unless Outlook which “does” – but has multiple issues and error ‘warnings’ when working with an IMAP server; trying to get one to move to a MS Exchange server instead, methinks.

    To move Thunderbird emails and settings to a new PC, simply copy the the Thunderbird Profile folder from the old PC and place it in the Profile folder created after starting up Thunderbird for the first time and closing it. All account settings and mail are instantly available on restart after the copy. How easy is that!

    I am a fairly technical Windows user but this registry stuff is not clear cut; imagine an average user trying to work out what to do with the Windows Registry just to get their Outlook working on their new PC!!! Microsoft sux. Big time!! But we all know that, right?

  9. Hello Jeff
    I am so happy that you worked this out and posted it here, I just so needed it, it’s a quick, clean and easy way to backup and restore your email accounts. Bravo!!
    Thanks a mil

  10. If you can’t get the PC to boot, you’re pretty much screwed — recovery becomes much more difficult.

    If you have access to Microsoft DaRT (Disaster and Recovery Toolset) you can try to boot into that and edit a registry there. There’s also some tools available via the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows that might help when working with non-booting systems.

    Lastly, you can always yank the drive and put it into an external enclosure and load the registry hive with regedit in the new OS.

  11. Thanks for the information. Under Windows 7 the directories where the Outlook PST file is stored are slightly different from what you listed, but easy enough to adjust so that this technique works for Windows 7 Professional.

  12. Thanks, I lost my Hotmail account password which I have configured in my outlook, and with the help of your site, and the Asterisk key tool I was able to recover it.

  13. Hi

    Great instructions….got lost when asked to open the mail applet (wassat) and to expect an outlook.pst file coz I didn’t…I found a backup.pst so I’m guessing it can’t be done from XP to windows 7

    Never mind….I’ll keep searching

  14. The mail applet is in the control panel in Windows 7 (and every previous version of Windows). In Windows 7, you’ll want to change into ICON view, instead of group view (dropdown list in the upper right) and go from there.

  15. Now, if I can only figure out how to actually run Outlook from a portable drive – completely self-contained, but authentically installed
    …any ideas? 🙂

  16. Ok, I found something out – if hypothetically, your computer crashed (ahem)……. you have to do some different things:
    Note – this only works if the hard drive still works…
    1. Pull out the hard drive and mount it externally on a different computer (USB external enclosure, or open up the computer and connect it).
    2. Navigate to your user directory on the old hard drive (under Users). There should be a file, ntuser.dat
    3. **COPY** ntuser.dat to some other folder on your computer. This is in case you can restore your old computer or something – you don’t want to corrupt this file!
    4. Run regedit (administrative permissions) and select the HKEY_USERS key.
    5. Choose ‘load hive’ and navigate to the **COPY** of the ntuser.dat file.
    6. Load the hive registry file (you’ll have to give it a name – maybe “boo”) and locate the key that Jeff mentions above (Profiles)
    7. Export that key as a .reg file
    8. Now,UNLOAD the hive file you just loaded (boo) otherwise it’ll muck up your current registry (I think, but could be wrong – can’t hurt to remove it, though!)
    9. Now, here’s the tricky part. When you exported the registry key, it kept the full path from when it was exported. If you open the .reg file (right-click file, choose edit and notepad will open), you’ll notice that all the keys start with:
    This needs to be changed to:
    If you don’t change this, it will fail to properly merge with the current user registry!!!

    10. Enter – the ‘replace’ command in notepad. just replace all instances of the incorrect registry header with the corrected one:

    11. Now you can successfully merge your exported outlook registry profile(s)!
    12. Under control panel, check the profiles, check to ensure your .pst files are in their proper locations, and run Outlook (don’t forget you’ll need all the passwords!)

  17. Thanks, it worked for me. it transfered my emaill accounts settings from outlook 2007 to Outlook 2010 pefectly.
    At firtst Outlook 2010 did not start because the old *.pst file was in D: drive and the new one was placed in E: drive. So I changed the drive name from “My Computer\Manage” and it started fine, with all the email accounts entacted just as they were under Outlook 2007.

  18. Dude, fantastic. I didn’t have the stored passwords anymore and that program was a lifesaver. Thanks a lot for writing this.

  19. Thank you! I bought a new coumpter for my kids and had to move 3 accounts. This is the first set of directions I’ve gotten from the web that was 100% correct!

  20. Thanks for this “timely” information. It has saved me a ton of time and work.

    Just adding the passwords now and it looks like it’s good to go!

  21. Jeff,
    Many thanks for publishing this. Helped me a lot.

    My challenge was to transfer a complex mail structure from Outlook 2003 on an XP machine, to a new Win 7 laptop running Outlook 2010 – retaining a large number of mail account settings. Your procedure worked well:
    Paraphrasing and augmenting:
    – Back up and set restore points on both machines.
    – Export registry keys from XP, and copy the .pst files
    – Delete existing mail profile on new machine (if exists)using Control Panel/Mail.
    – Move mail files to new machine, standard folder
    – Move registry key file to new machine & import it
    – In Control Panel, check profile/account settings exist
    – NB, change the Data Files location
    – Fire up Outlook 2010, and voila! Working. Except….
    – As noted by Dimitris Asimakopoulos, for some reason the passwords have to be retyped (I used Asterisk Key to discover them on the old machine).

    Again – thanks.


    Although I founds bits of the answer in various places, your post was the only one that broug

  22. Thanks

    That has helped me move 3 mail accounts from an XP machine to a new Windows7 PC.

    Only thing missing are some rules that I had set up for filing some messages automatically

  23. Rules had in fact been moved but were marked (for other machine) weren’t running.

    However I did find that you can export the rules from the old machine as a .rwz file for importing into the new setup

  24. Hi, great article, having a few problems though.

    I’m trying to do 2010 to 2010 – the files are ost than pst. Going to try a conversion now to see if that does the job.

    Outlook is saying cannot configure my .ost file – at first this was because I have a different username on laptop vs. PC so I renamed my PC account to match. This meant the data file path now existed (tried to find out where I could edit this in the imported reg file but to no avail).

  25. An OST is NOT a PST file. An OST file is created by Outlook (most any version, not 2010 exclusively) when it is connected to an Exchange server. You shouldn’t have to do anything to move that user account. It’s often easier when working with Exchange t just reconnect it to the exchange box (there can be only one) and put in the server name and username and be done. The OST file will be recreated when the user reconnects to the Exchange store.

    The only time this isn’t the case is when the Exchange store has been corrupted or otherwise unable to be reconnected to. Ten you’ll need to run a recovery on the OST file. There are commercial tools to convert an OST file to a PST. There’s talk you can also rename the OST file to a PST and run ScanPST on it and that’ll make it into a PST file, but I haven’t tried that.

  26. Well, you learn something new every day 🙂

    I eventually got it working, there was no conversion to take over or anything like that. What I did notice was that you only appear to get to specify the file location once, otherwise when double clicking the data file you cannot edit the location (PST you can, OST not so fortunate). I couldn’t find any PST on laptop so after figuring out how I could change the path for that OST it worked.

  27. Hi Jeff,

    Thanks so much for this walk through it seems to work incredibly, and I thought it would until I started to import my accounts, in the registry all I see is a bunch of giberish, I can’t seem to find the correct “keys” if that is what you are referring to.

    I see a bunch of the following under the outlook folfer in profile:

    Etc. How do I know which ones go to which accounts, because when I open outlook it asks me to put in the account info for each like

    Thanks for your help. I probably missed something simple =P

  28. Re asterisk key / unmask-password … seems it’s a bit more complex….Using Win 7, I could get asterisk key to work with Outlook 2010; and with IE 9, but not with Chrome. unmask-password worked with Outlook, but not with any auto-complete password entry on Chrome or IE.

  29. This is a way to do it, if the PST file is under the same path, and under the same drive letter, on both computers.
    My pst-file was located in ..\My Documents\Outlook folder on D: before the crash of my system disk two days ago. After a few restarts and a reconfiguration I wanted it to be in a new C:\My documents\Outlook folder. Using the registry method and import the settings into the registry from one computer to another, made my Oulook exit during startup of the program.
    I am flabbergasted. MS really make things like importing and exporting accounts and rules difficult for Outlook users.

  30. How long should it take to import a 15+Gg .pst file into a new windows 7 machine from hdd from sick xp machine?

    I am now in 7th hour!

  31. As long as it takes to copy the file from one system to the next. Seven hours seems like there might be trouble with the hard drive its being pulled from, or you’re copying over a very slow USB connection. It should only take 15 minutes or so to copy the 15GB file.

    From there, you shouldn’t have to import anything; it should just open up.

    Now, if you’re running a consistency check, that’s different and can take many many hours depending on the size of the PST (which at 15GB is pretty big.)

  32. I’m running outlook 2011 on a Mac and would like to know if there is a similar process for a Mac as I just upgraded and trying to download my accounts since I have a large number.

  33. Hi Jeff, very happy having found your site – this is some great piece of advice.

    I did everything according to your instructions and it went all well, the only thing that is still causing me problems is that once all the accounts have been imported to Outlook on the newly setup computers, each time I press “send and receive” I have to enter the password for each account as you mention I had to.

    However, once the first send and receive has been running, next time I press “send and receive” i have to enter the passwords again which is a bit annoying (I already did this for three consecutive times).

    Outlook offers a checkbox to “save passwords to a password list” but in my previous office setting it was never necessary to click this box.

    Do you have an explanation and a solution for this issue? That would be great.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  34. This is so easy and amazing , thank you so much for this simple registry export…i had to move 30 accounts…and trust me just entering the password is a breeze compared to entering server data and details for each!!!!.

    Many mnay thanks!!!!!

  35. Hi, i have a dilemma: two years ago, as i was attending school, i installed an exchange account to my profile. in doing so i had to set up a new profile and such, and i have been using these settings since. now, that i am no longer in school, i no longer need to use exchange. i want to restore the old profile to not include exchange. problem is that i have several email accounts, one of which is large. would i have to set up a new profile, save my pst file on a drive then re-import the email content onto the new profile? i fear that is time consuming given the size of my email account. is there another way? thanks in advance. Peter

  36. The Registry structure seems to have changed in Windows 8/8.1 . The Windows Messaging Subsystem and therefor Profiles branch is no longer where these instructions say it is in previous Windows versions. Any idea where the Profiles branch should be imported to in Windows 8?

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