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This time I am going to show you how to make Outlook use an existing pst-file when performing a clean install. If you already have read my article on how to take backups of your emails and contacts – you’ll be half way there.

Restoring an old pst-file is almost entirely the same as copying the pst-file, only in reverse: nigeb ste’l

Have your backups ready – here we go:

  1. Open Outlook
  2. Open the Tools Menu, choose Accounts
  3. Now you see the Account Settings Window
  4. Click on the tab named Data Files. In the window you will now see all the PST-files that Outlook is presently using. If you have let Outlook run the Archive Function there will be two pst-files.
  5. Now you have two options:
    a) Replace the new PST-file with your old one
    b) Add the old PST-file as a secondary PST-file

Replace the new PST-file

  1. Click Open File Location, Windows Explorer will now open a window at the default location.

  2. Close Outlook, but leave the Explorer window open
  3. Replace the new file (in this case: Outlook.pst) with the one you have in your backup
  4. Restart Outlook to see that it loads the emails and contacts correctly.

Add the “old” PST-file as a secondary file (or using the Add button)

  1. Open the Tools Menu, choose Accounts
  2. Now you see the Account Settings Window
  3. Click Add
  4. Locate your PST-file (you can keep it anywhere you choose and it does not have to be stored in the original Outlook Folder)
  5. Click OK
  6. Optionally: If you want to use the old file as your default, Click Set as Default.
    If you don’t set it as default the PST-file will be added as an archive with it’s own calendar, contact list and the old emails. This can be confusing at times, but I’m sure you’ll manage.
  7. optionally: Delete the new pst-file from Outlook by Clicking Remove.

There you have it – Good luck !



About Thomas

Computer geek from the age of 7, which amounts to 30 years of computer experience. From the early days (when every computer company had their own OS) of DOS, Windows 1.0 through Seven...

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