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Following an acquisition we are switching from our local Exchange to an outside provider. I need to change account settings / create new profile so that users are able to access their new mailbox, and I hate the idea of doing it manually on every single client.

I have tried quick and dirty solution with copying profile information from Registry on one computer to the other, hoping that I could fix user info later. Quite obviously, this didn't work: Outlook recognized the profile, I could select it at the application startup, but there the fun ends - the profile was corrupt. I couldn't change settings in Mail settings on Control panel, either.

Didn't find any Group policy solution.

Is there any application, script or other solution, that would help me save time commuting from one PC to the other and typing the same info over and over again?

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This should be fun (pulls up chair and popcorn). Truthfully and honestly, you're probably going to end up rolling some custom scripted solution out for this. –  Avery Payne May 4 '10 at 14:44
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3 Answers

We use Scriptlogic Desktop Authority to do this and much more. It makes lots of login script items easy such as mapping drives, connecting to printers, adding and removing files and shortcuts, and changing Outlook settings. However, this is probably more than you need for this task. Other options I have not tried include:

  1. Rich Profile
  2. NewProf.exe from the Office Resource Kit
  3. A custom script to setup the file and registry settings required
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+1 for scripting (and repeating myself ;-) ) –  Avery Payne May 5 '10 at 19:25
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Well, I found the solution that works perfectly. It uses a simple Logon script, so Avery Payne, one might say you were at least partially right :)

Outlook (2003 and later, don't know about earlier versions) allows importing the profile info through PRF file. It is a plain text file, so you can write it from scratch, or preferably - export it from existing profile and edit as needed. I used the second variant.

I downloaded Office Resource Kit - I was exporting PRF file from 2003 version, so I downloaded Outlook 2003 version (ORK.EXE, download it here).

Installed it and got the Custom Installation Wizard, which enables you to export existing profile to PRF file. Needless to say, you first need to configure a working profile on the PC you're exporting from.

After successful export, I edited the PRF file to lose unnecessary stuff and to generalize some settings with Windows variables, so that I get user specific info after the PRF file is imported:

MailboxName=%UserName%
OfflineAddressBookPath=%USERPROFILE%\local settings\application data\microsoft\outlook\

I also wanted to be sure that default user profiles won't get overwritten, so I changed corresponding settings to match:

DefaultProfile=No
OverwriteProfile=No
ModifyDefaultProfileIfPresent=FALSE

Consider also the path for Offline mail caching... You might want to rename the file if you're using two profiles, so that one profile does not overwrite the cached emails of the second profile and vice versa:

OfflineFolderPath=%USERPROFILE%\local settings\application data\microsoft\outlook\_Custom_name_here.ost

For details, read the Whitepaper: Configuring Outlook Profiles by Using a PRF File -> link

I created a very simple logon script, almost too simple, actually. I could have checked whether the profile already exists and skip the procedure altogether, but sometimes quick and dirty works just as fine:

@echo off
if exist "%PROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\OUTLOOK.EXE" (call "%PROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Office\OFFICE11\OUTLOOK.EXE" /promptimportprf "\\computername\sharename\path_to_Outlook_profile.PRF")
if exist "%PROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Office\OFFICE12\OUTLOOK.EXE" (call "%PROGRAMFILES%\Microsoft Office\OFFICE12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /promptimportprf "\\computername\sharename\path_to_Outlook_profile.PRF")

Next, I attached script to OU Group policy and voila! I wrote Instructions for users, and still helping some to finish setting up the profile. Still much easier as manually configuring all clients.

Anyway, the following site was crucial for my breakthru, so it deserves to be linked here: Pay them a visit

Thanks to Matthew, his post pointed me in right direction.

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Outlook Profiler is used allot by the big shops, Outlook x64 support, PST file creation or removal, profile migration while still preserving old settings, multi Outlook support across the LAN, yadda yadda ... you get the idea. If you just want to create a profile then you can use a prf file on some versions of Outlook although it is a bit of a headache to setup and more so when you have different versions of Outlook in the domain.

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