Backup Outlook settings
How can I backup my Outlook settings and especially my email account configuration?
Over the years Microsoft has offered various tools to save or transfer your settings.
Currently they still offer the User State Migration Tool but that is targeted toward large scale corporate migrations. In addition to that it also has the following issues and limitations;
- it is not Outlook specific
- it does not contain your pst-file (especially when you relocated it)
- it corrupts your mail profile
Is there still a need to backup Outlook settings?
In most cases, the need to backup Outlook’s settings is to reuse them on another computer.
However, there are already many settings which are kept within your mailbox or pst-file so these will transfer over automatically when your reconfigure your Exchange or Outlook.com mailbox, or reconfigure your pst-file.
Additional options can be saved in the Cloud when you use Outlook as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription.
Store my Outlook settings in the Cloud
When you use Outlook as part of a Microsoft 365 subscription, then many settings can be stored in the cloud so that they will roam across all your Outlook installations or when your reinstall Outlook.
- File-> Options-> General-> Store my Outlook settings in the cloud
It will roam the settings of the following sections in the Options dialog;
- Ease of Access
For more info about this feature see; Outlook roaming options.
Main locations for files and settings
If you still want to go the manual route of backup up and restoring your settings, you can find the main ones stored in the following locations;
- Roaming profile settings
- Local profile settings
- Registry settings
- Mail Profile settings
For a full overview see; Files and Settings guide for Outlook.
Recreating the Mail Profile is still recommended
As the locations of all the files that make up your Mail Profile are not necessarily the same on your new computer, I always recommend to manually backup and transfer your pst-file and then manually recreate your mail profile.
This however can be a very time consuming and labor intensive process.
Outlook can detect and configure your accounts settings in most cases automatically based on your email address. In case it does not, this process requires you to have your account configurations provided by your ISP at hand.
Microsoft recommends a 3rd party product
For per computer migrations, Microsoft used to offer the Windows Easy Transfer tool but has decided not to develop that any further for use with Windows 10.
Instead, Microsoft now recommends to use PCMover Express. This is a 3rd party commercial product that can also transfer settings.