Upgrading From Outlook 2003 to 2007

With the recent release of the RTM version of Microsoft Office, it was finally time for me to move my Outlook email to the new platform. I had no issue testing the other programs, but at the time I had no guarantee of having access to Office 2007 after the Beta was over. Since now I do, it looks like a safe move.

The one part of a systems upgrade that I never enjoyed was dealing with Outlook. I'm not sure why, to be honest, except that I never knew all the things I had to do. So with that in mind, this post is intended as a guide on how to migrate from Outlook 2003 to Outlook 2007, all in one place. I'm not covering macros in it, as I'm fairly confident that you know how to deal with those if you're a coder. But for the rest, I'm definitely interested to know what I've missed. I don't use 100% of Outlook, so I'm sure there are a few pieces I've missed. If you know them, post them for the benefit of the next person. :)I focussed pretty much on backing up the following items:

  • My contacts
  • My emails
  • My folder system (Microsoft, take a hint from gmail that labels are better 😉 )
  • My rules

I did not bother to ensure that my task list or calendar was migrated, although they seemed to come along for the ride anyway. The bad news is that my rules did not come across. They all seemed to have issues pointing to the folders. The rest seemed to work very well though.

Microsoft does have a couple of articles in their knowledge base on the migration, if you'd prefer to read theirs:

At any rate here's the method I followed...

Record your Email account info
I took a screen shot of all of the email accounts that I had configured in Outlook. (Oh yes, I have several.) I'm pretty comfortable with setting up my email accounts, so I didn't make too much in the way of notes, but you should know the following:

  • The email address
  • Your POP3 and SMTP servers
  • Your logon username
  • Your password
  • If you need to use authentication to send

Now, fortunately, you should be able to get almost all of this by just going into your Outlook Tools|Accounts, and then editing your account. Take a screenshot of that screen and you should be good... As long as you remember your password that is. 😉

Backup your email, contacts, folders and stuff

I say "and stuff" because I'm sure that this is where my calendar items and task list items came along for the ride. What I did is:

  • Opened up Outlook (2003)
  • Selected my "Personal folders" at the very top level

  • Choose File|Import and Export
  • Choose to Export to a file
  • Choose Personal Folder File (.pst)
  • Choose the top level "Personal Folders" item. Don't forget to put a check mark in the box that says Include Subfolders!
  • On the next screen, choose your destination file. I just left the option of Replace Duplicates (the default) selected

Backup Outlook Rules

This part resulted in broken rules for me. I'd be curious to know if anyone made this work, and if so, what they did differently.

What I did is went into Tools|Rules and Alerts (in 2003. I think the verbiage is different for prior versions). Click the Options button, then click Export Rules, and choose the file to save it into. That's it. It should be just that simple.

Install Office 2007

This is way and far gone out of the scope of this article. Once you have it done, though, open Outlook 2007. You may need to configure an email account right away when you do open it, so pull out those notes that you made above. 🙂

Importing your email, contacts, folders and stuff

This isn't too difficult to do, but it may take some time, depending on the size of your PST file. The steps are:

  • Go to the File menu, and choose Import and Export
  • Choose Import from another program or file

  • Scroll down the list and select Personal Folder File (*.pst)
  • Locate your file, and then click next. (Again leave the default regarding duplicates.)
  • At this point, clicking Finish should start the import process

Importing your Rules

The steps I followed were:

  • Go to Tools|Rules and Alerts
  • Click Options
  • Click Import Rules
  • Browse to the Rules file and open it. Then click OK

Now, the funny thing is that, at this point, everything looks fine. My first rule was set to send things to the Junk Mail folder, and it says so in the rule... until I click OK, Apply, or anything else. At that point, every one of my rules loses the folder it points to. I'm fairly sure that this is a bug, but will be checking with Microsoft on that.

Final Word

Transporting things is pretty easy, with the exception of rules right now. If anyone has anything to add, or wants me to clarify anything, please post a comment. 🙂

6 thoughts on “Upgrading From Outlook 2003 to 2007

  1. Ken,

    How about integrating with Exchange so that you can acces a single mailbox from all of your network. That has always scared me in previous Outlook, any easier in 2007?

  2. Good question, Bob. To be honest, I've never used Exchange. We use Novell Groupwise at work, and I've never felt the need to go any more complicated than Outlook at home. 🙂

  3. Thanks for this. You forgot to mention, after you take the screen shots and then install 2007, that you have to create each account by hand, BEFORE you import the data.

    In my case, I bought a new machine, and so had to copy the exported .pst file to the new machine, and then import from that file.

  4. Max, thanks for the comment. I'd forgotten about this. Wow, what a pain!

    Bob, we integrated with Exchange almost two years ago now, and I just upgraded to the Outlook 2010 Beta. It was SOOO easy. I just installed 2010 and it was done. Integration truly rocks. 🙂

  5. Thanks very much -- very well written and precise!
    But ...
    Can you kindly do the same for migrating/moving the
    ARCHIVEs (I have 1 folder only) in Outlook 2003 to the Outlook 2007 environment?

    Should I create an archive folder FIRST in 2007?
    If I do that, the prompt forces me to migrate the
    personal folders which I have just moved to 2007.

    I don't want to do that because I want the existing
    2003 archives to be the "starting point" for my
    2007 environment.

    Hope this is clear to you.
    Thanking you in advance.

  6. Hi Ramon,

    Outlook 2007 and I parted company about a year ago, and I'm having trouble remembering what the interface looks like...

    Regardless, isn't the Archive file just a .PST file anyway? If memory serves, my route would have been to archive all the stuff I wanted archived, then make a backup of the archive.pst file. From there in the new app version I'd just go into the Data Files and add the Archive as a file. It just shows up as a new file at that point.

    Does that help?

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