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Migrating Outlook pst-data to Outlook.com

I’m currently using Outlook with a POP3 account but I’d like to switch over to an Outlook.com account.

I’ve set Outlook.com to download all the new mail for my old POP3 account (actually, I’ve set my old account to forward to Outlook.com as this appears to be faster) and configured my Outlook.com account in Outlook. This all works great and as expected.

How do I migrate all the mails which I had already downloaded via POP3 into an Outlook pst-file to my Outlook.com mailbox?

button-outlook.comMigrating your local Outlook data to an Outlook.com mailbox is actually quite easy. Well…, ehm…, that is if you are still using Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 or Outlook 2010 in combination with the Outlook Hotmail Connector.

In Outlook 2013, connecting to Outlook.com is done via the Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) protocol and currently there is no support for uploading emails stored in a local pst-file or in another mailbox.

Via a workaround, it is still possible to migrate all your historic data from Outlook 2013 to Outlook.com. However, it is a bit cumbersome and I really hope (and have nagged them about it more than once!) that Microsoft will offer a proper migration scenario for their “latest and greatest” very soon.

Update:
And they did! Now that Outlook.com is also available via IMAP, migrating your pst-data to Outlook.com in Outlook 2013 is much easier. Although it is still a workaround, things are much more direct now and can all be done from within Outlook 2013 without the need for any additional tools.

Cannot move the items. The folders you are trying to change do not support this operation. Sorry, Exchange ActiveSync doesn't support what you're trying to do.
Moving mails from another mailbox to an Outlook.com EAS mailbox in Outlook 2013 isn’t supported. (click on the image to see the non-cropped error message)

Backup first!

As with any migration, make sure you create a proper backup of your current data first. For a pst-file, this is a easy as making a copy of it to a safe location when Outlook is closed.

For more information about locating the pst-file and additional backup scenarios see: Backup and Restore.

Outlook 2010 and previous: Migrate via the Outlook Hotmail Connector

Button Outlook Hotmail ConnectorAs said, this is quite easy and works for Outlook 2003, Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010. Once you’ve configured your Outlook.com account in Outlook via the Outlook Hotmail Connector, you can simply move your items and folders from your current mailbox to the Outlook.com mailbox.

  • Extra Tip!
    If you don’t like the drag and drop method to move your folders, you can right click on a folder and choose: Move Folder.

The difficulty comes with the default mail folders such as Inbox and Sent Items as you can’t move these folders. For these folders, you must select all their items (CTRL+A) and then move them to their corresponding folder in your Outlook.com mailbox.

  • Extra Tip!
    Instead of using drag and drop, you can use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+SHIFT+V to move the selected items.

Another difficulty comes with the Calendar folder. The best way to move these items is by switching your Calendar view to a list view first via the View tab or Menu.

Moving over your contacts works the same as moving over the items from your Inbox folder.

Tasks, Notes and Journal items are not supported by the Outlook Hotmail Connector and it is recommended to leave these items in your pst-file rather than to use the folders marked with “This computer only” in your Outlook.com mailbox.

Outlook 2013: Migrate via IMAP

Button IMAP accountIf you still have access to an Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010 installation (even on another computer), then it might be easiest and quickest to use that to migrate your data to your Outlook.com mailbox.

If not, then the next best thing would be to temporarily configure your Outlook.com as an IMAP account as well.

Step 1: Add Outlook.com as an IMAP account

Configure your Outlook.com account as an IMAP account in Outlook.

  1. File-> Add Account
  2. Manual setup or additional server types
  3. POP or IMAP
  4. Fill out the form with the following server details
    • Account type: IMAP
    • Incoming mail server: imap-mail.outlook.com
    • Outgoing mail server (SMTP): smtp-mail.outlook.com
    • User Name: youralias@outlook.com
  5. If you have Two-Step Authentication enabled, get an App Password. Otherwise, fill out the password that you also use to logon to the Outlook.com website.
  6. Button: More Settings…
  7. Tab: Outgoing Server-> enable: My outgoing server (SMTP) requires authentication.
  8. Tab Advanced: Server Port Numbers
    • Incoming server (IMAP): 993
    • Use the following type of encrypted connection: SSL
    • Outgoing server (SMTP): 587
    • Use the following type of encrypted connection: TLS
  9. Press OK to return to the Add Account dialog.
  10. Press Next to test your settings.
  11. Press Close to close the “Test Account Settings” dialog.
  12. Press Finish to complete the setup and return to Outlook.

Outlook.com IMAP account and server settings    Outlook.com IMAP Outgoing server settings    Outlook.com IMAP Advanced server settings
The settings required to connect to Outlook.com via IMAP.
(click on the images to enlarge)

Step 2: Add your pst-file to Outlook

If you haven’t connected your pst-file to Outlook yet, you can do so via:
File-> Open-> Open Outlook Data File

Step 3: Move your mail to your IMAP account

  1. Move your mail folders from your pst-file to the Outlook.com IMAP account.
    • The same tricks apply as for migrating your data via the Outlook Hotmail Connector as indicated above. Only move your mail items and folders; leave your Calendar, Contacts, Tasks, Notes and Journal items in your pst-file!
  2. Wait for all your mail to be uploaded by Outlook to your IMAP mailbox and downloaded again by the Outlook.com.  
  3. Remove the Outlook.com IMAP account from your Outlook configuration via:
    File-> Account Settings-> Account Settings-> tab E-mail

Step 4: Move your Calendar, Contacts and Tasks directly

Unlike mail items and folders, you can directly move Calendar and Contact items from your pst-file to your Outlook.com mailbox. One benefit that the EAS connection has over the Outlook Hotmail Connector is that it also supports Task items, so you can move them too.

It is still recommended to leave any Notes or Journal items in your local pst-file or to move your Notes to OneNote so you can sync them between your computers or even to your smartphone or tablet via OneDrive.



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