I'm attempting to move to a new laptop and I want to take my email archive with we.

I've got 3 related files klelky.pst, klelky.pab and klelky.ost which I have moved to a shared folder. The .ost file is about 500MB so I assume thats where all may mail is. (The other folders are 250kB each).

The bit of googling that I've done has got me as far as

Control Panel->Mail->Show Profiles->Data Files

but this only appears to let me select the .pst files and when I go into Outlook most of my archive is missing.

How do I get everything from the archive to be visible from the new machine?


If your company uses Exchange, you will be able to download your mail from the server just by connecting with your outlook client. However, if you have archived any of your mail to a local PST file, you will need to copy that.

If you do not have Exchange, or you you just want to make sure you've got everything, your best bet is to make a new PST file. To do so go to file-> export. Then select export to a file. In the next menu, select Personal Folder File (PST). On the next screen select the root of your mailbox (Often personal folders), and then export it, to a location you want it to end up in.

You can then transfer this to your laptop and import it back into outlook.

Doing it this way also means you have a PST file with your mail backed up, so if your import is unsuccessful for any reason, you still have all your mail in the PST and can try again.

  • Well if they have offline folders (and archives), they won't be on the exchange server, unless the admin sets a strict retention policy. – skitzot33 Jun 2 '09 at 12:25

An .ost file is an offline folder file in Microsoft Outlook. You can't import emails from this file on your new laptop.

If you use exchange, outlook should be able to download all emails from the exchange server once you set up your email account.

You can copy all your emails into a .pst file (Should be called Archive in Outlook) and then import the .pst file on your laptop.

Control Panel->Mail->Show Profiles->Data Files Import


The answer depends on if you are using MS Exchange as your mail server. It looks to me like you are because of the .ost file, and because you only noted that your mail archive was missing. The .ost and .pab are caching files representing data on the server, so you they can be ignored.

What I would do is ...

  1. Move all three files to a safe location.
  2. setup Outlook on the new system. You should see the .ost and .pab recreated and repopulated, and the email on the server should be there.
  3. move the .pst file to the new laptop, perhaps into an "email archive" folder you create wherever you store your documents.
  4. In Outlook, open the .PST file (user File/Open/Outlook Data File). You should see the Archive as a separate entry on the Folder List.
  5. In Outlook check the AutoArchive settings (Tools/Options, Other Tab). They may be greyed out if the admin controls them via Group Policy.

If you are not on Exchange, then Sam Cogan's answer (export everything on old system, import on new) will work well. If you are on Exchange, his solution will (I believe) end up duplicating your mail on the server and irritating your email admin.

  • I believe an .ost file may also be related to an IMAP account, not just MS Exchange. The principle is the same though. Just think of the .ost as a cache - it's the .pst that needs to be transferred. – Cedric Knight Aug 22 '17 at 11:46

On your old laptop, open Outlook, then go to Tool -> Optoins -> Other Tab -> AutoArchive. In the middle of that tab will the the path to your Archive file. Copy this file to your new laptop and point the AutoArchive path on the new laptop to the copied archive file. If Outlook can't read the archive file for some reason, you can import this file into Outlook.


OST file is the mirror if your mailbox and can not be opened into outlook directly. You are using Exchange server as you said .ost file is there.

Configure Outlook on your new laptop with your mail account Use Import/Export option under File menu to import the desired file.

In any case you can convert any inaccessible ost file to pst file by using third party ost pst converter, that converts all the components of inaccessible ost file to pst file.


Usually here at work we get the .pst from "C:\Documents and Settings\\Local Settings\Microsoft\Outlook" or something like that. Once we back it up we just import it. For instance, create the account on the new machine in Outlook, then import the PST. Hope this helps a little.


Just use Outlook to import the .PST/.OST file. Click File, Import or something like that. Been a while since I used it. I assume you were using Exchange? If the .OST file is bigger, convert it to .PST then import it: http://www.convertost.com/


You should be able to either import the files (.pst/.ost are mail, .pab is your address book/contacts) from File -> Import and Export, or open them (File -> Open -> Outlook Data File) and then drag whatever you need over to your new mailbox.

  • 1
    You cannot import from an OST file, you will need to convert it to a PST file, or create a new PST file. – Sam Cogan Jun 2 '09 at 11:29

When we move Outlook users to a new machine I always copy everything in the c:\documents and settins\username\local settings\application data\microsoft\Outlook.

Local settings is hidden so you will have to enable 'show hidden files and folders.'

Unless you have specified a different directory or use Exchange, ALL of your mail is at this location. Copy it. Install Outlook on the new machine. Transfer it to the same location on the new machine. Open outlook again.

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