How to Transfer OST Files to a New Computer

OST files are offline folders that you can access even when your Microsoft Outlook e-mail system does not have access to the Internet. According to the Microsoft website, OST files cannot be directly transferred to a new computer. Instead, you can transfer all of your personal information from Outlook, including your address book, calendar and e-mail messages in your Inbox and folders to the new system and create a new OST file in which to store the transferred information.

Open Microsoft Outlook on the old computer from which you want to transfer the OST files. To launch Outlook, either click the icon in the system tray of your computer, or go to “Start,” “All Programs,” the “Microsoft” folder and “Microsoft Outlook.”

Create a PST file in which to store the personal information from your Outlook account. To create the file, go to “File,” click “New” and choose “Outlook Date File.” Then, in the window that comes up, click the menu by “Save as type,” select any of the options with a “.pst” extension and click “OK.”

Type a name for the PST file in the “Create Microsoft Personal Folders” window that appears. Look in the “File” box to see the location on the hard drive where the PST file is set to save. Then, click “OK.”

Right-click on any of the folders in the Outlook navigation pane, such as “Inbox,” and select “Copy Inbox” from the menu that appears. When the “Copy Folders” window appears on the screen, select the “Inbox” folder you just copied and click “OK” to add it to the PST file. Repeat the process for every folder in the navigation pane of Outlook to copy all of the folders to the PST file.

Transfer the PST file that you created in the old version of Outlook to an external storage unit, such as an external hard drive. Plug the external drive into the computer, go to the location where the PST file is saved on the hard drive and drag the PST file from the hard drive to the external drive window to copy it to the drive.

Disconnect the external drive from the computer and connect it to the new computer. Choose “Open folder to view files” from the “AutoPlay” box and then drag the PST file from the external drive window to the new computer’s desktop.

Launch the Outlook set-up on the new computer. If you have already created an Outlook profile, you cannot set up an OST file for it. So, delete the profile and then double-click the Microsoft Outlook icon to create the profile again.

Click “Email Accounts” on the set-up screen that appears. Then, select the “Add a new e-mail account” option from the second screen and click “Next.” Choose the type of server you are using and click “Next” again.

Type in the name of your server when prompted and the name of the email account you are setting up. Click “Next” again to move to the next screen. Then, click the “Advanced” tab to show the advanced settings options.

Click the “Offline Folder File Settings” option, click “Browse” to choose a location where you want to save the PST file, and click “OK” to create the file and the email account. Then, click “OK” again to return to the main screen of Outlook.

Go to “File” and “Import and Export,” click “Import from another program or file,” choose the “Personal Folder File” option and click “Next.” Go to the desktop in the screen that comes up, click the PST file that you transferred and then click “Next” to add all of the personal information from the PST file to the new copy of Outlook.

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About the Author

Alexis Lawrence is a freelance writer, filmmaker and photographer with extensive experience in digital video, book publishing and graphic design. An avid traveler, Lawrence has visited at least 10 cities on each inhabitable continent. She has attended several universities and holds a Bachelor of Science in English.