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The following article describes various situations involving interference or manipulation of data stored in MS Outlook.

Moving all data between the same versions of MS Outlook.

The easiest way is to make a copy of PST files and use the built-in import feature Menu/File/Import or Export/Import from a third-party tool, or File/Personal folders file.pst launched in the target installation. It is also possible to manually overwrite target files (after closing the application). In case of problems finding the database files, this article may prove useful.
File transfer will be correct if we use the same versions of the program. If migration is to a version different from the target one, compatibility issues may occur resulting in the loss of messages or contacts stored in the databases (PST files).

Restoring data after database file failure.

If it is not possible to restore data from a PST file, it is suggested to check the database for errors. This is done by launching Scanpst.exe (Fig.1.), which can be found on a disk after MS Office installation. The default location is C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OfficeXX\ (where OfficeXX is a version of Office: for 2007 it is Office12).

 PST repair
Fig.1. ScanPST program recommended for checking database errors.

If the database file is still unreadable (i.e. repairing with Scanpst is unsuccessful), we can use Oversized PST and OST crop tool downloadable from Microsoft. This application is mainly used in stores created in Outlook 2000, in which the limit for a PST file is 2GB. By using 2gb152.exe application on a PST file some information will be cut out, because the application removes from the file the data specified by the user. ( It is recommended to perform this on a copy of the PST file).

Moving data between different versions of MS Outlook.

As mentioned before, damaging the PST data store is one of the most common reasons to move or import Outlook objects. The second most common reason is the fear of losing data when updating Outlook to a newer version. In order to initiate data recovery you should do the following:

  • Change the name of outlook.pst file (with the current mail) keeping the same extension, and move to the new installation folder (or any other local folder).
  • Mount the old file to the view after changing its name, as in Fig.2. (right-click on the main folder, Open Outlook Data File...).

PST file attachment
Fig.2. Mounting the PST file

  •  Copy objects (these must be copied, not moved from the old file to a new one. This way Outlook will create them anew, without any errors, and using items in accordance with the current version of the application) - sorting all folders as a list will be helpful.
    • For Calendar: Menu/View/Current view/All appointments and mark them all by pressing Ctrl+A, then go to the target location and press Ctrl+V
    • For Contacts: Menu/View/Current view/Phone list, then proceed as above.
  • Unmount the old file (with the changed name).

Note! The fewer PST files added in the folder view, the faster and more efficiently Outlook works.

It is also possible to give up copying all the objects, if some items are old or of no interest any more -  the copied file can be mounted at a convenient time and relevant data searched and copied to the current database.

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