View Full Version : Transferring Microsoft Office Outlook from one laptop to another

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-09-2006, 04:45 PM
My laptop just died. I'm going to try to revive it on my own, but I've been lent a newer laptop from the Powers That Be at work (Is it "lending" when the PTB have no idea that a piece of equipment has been liberated? Whatever.) Anyway, the IT folks have restored some semblence of my laptop's hard drive on the new laptop, but some things are peculiar.

Mainly, what's bugging me is that I had a LOT of old emails saved on the "Personal Folders" section of Outlook, and the ones from 2001 through July of 2005 are all there, but not my e-mails (nor my sent e-mails) from the last 13 months. The typical IT reaction to such a complaint is usually "Are you sure you sent or received any e-mails in the last 13 months? Cause I don't see them here," and then I must painstakingly argue that the fault is in your vision, dear Brutus, and not in my filing system since (if I could open my old laptop for even an instant) I could show you the hundreds of saved e-mails on it. Any ideas why they were able to to transfer several thousand e-mails, but not the most recent ones?

I also have a question about the revivification part, since I'm going to try it today unless I hear that I shouldn't: basically, it's a physical problem: the electrical connection got messed up. The electrical cable that goes into the wall has (at the other end from the normal three pronged things that goes into the wall outlet for power) a much tinier three part female connection that fits into a three part male connection on the laptop itself. One of the pins on the three-part male connection got bent somehow, and in trying to make the connection the last time I used the computer, I really bent it down but good. Now I've got two upright pins and one that's bent way down. When I brought it into IT last week, the immediate verdict was "Total loss! Can't fix that!." but I don't know. Seems to me that if I can somehow bend the bent pin into position, it should work. The IT folks said I could keep the old laptop if I need a paperweight or something, so I'm thinking:

Since the laptop is obviously not connected to a power source, and the battery is totally drained, could there be an electrical danger in monkeying around trying to straighten out the bent pin? (The size of this bent pin is the problem: it looks to be about an eighth of an inch long and in a very tight space. I have several pair of insulated needlenosed pliers that I was thinking of using to bend the metal pin back into shape.) Any suggestions? It would be great if I could get the old laptop back into operation if only for a whort while, so I could copy any missing files from the incomplete data transfer and not bother with the IT people at all. All suggestions cheerfully appreciated.

09-09-2006, 05:23 PM
As to problem one, it could be the your PST (or OST) file in your outlook archive may have become to large (I am not sure, but believe there is a 2 GB limit on these things), and you may have had 2. They could have missed the smaller one (even though they are all saved in teh same location, so that would be weird), however this is just a WAG. However if you can't get your laptop working at all, I don't see how you will recover anything now.

Dewey Finn
09-09-2006, 07:10 PM
First of all, if the problem is that your computer's power connection is screwed up, it sounds like the hard drive is still intact. Have you tried to simply move the hard drive to another notebook computer? Ideally, you would want to move it to another of the same make and model, and if you do so, it should boot up without any problems. But it should boot up even in a different model computer, although it may not recognize all the hardware (especially the video adapter and the network port). But even then, it should be easy enough to add the appropriate drivers.

Once you do that, you should be able to run Outlook and identify where the recent email is stored. It's possible that these messages are in an Outlook archive file (PST file) in a hidden share on the hard drive. For Windows 2000/XP the default location is, I think, somewhere in C:\Documents and Settings\[username]\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\archive.pst and the Application Data folder is usually hidden.

Also, your IT department should be able to tell you how Outlook is normally configured at your company. If you're using an Exchange server, the recent mail may be safely located on the server. Your OP isn't clear; have you asked them where your recent email is stored? They may not have thought about it because they know it's not an issue.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-09-2006, 07:26 PM
I guess I wasn't very clear. They've already migrated my old laptop's hard drive to the new laptop, including my Outlook data that I'd saved on the old hard drive.

I'm probably going to ask them to have a look at the old HD again to see if they can find the missing emails--I was asking if anyone had a good guess where they might look in case I get the traditional "No, we tranferred everything" response from IT.

There are all sorts of annoying differences I've noticed on the various new configurations. There's always a zillion things that I was comfortable with that I expect to find on the new computer once my data is migrated over, and that's never there. But I'll try to get the IT guys to wiggle their butts a little bit before I start posting a few dozen "How do I find ____" threads on the SDMB. It's funny how I'm no more articulate here than in person, probably much less so, but the SDMB always manages to figure out how to get what I want done much better than they guys who work with these machines for a living. This new mouse has the wrong feel to it, for one thing, but I want to get what I can out of the IT guys adjusting the mouse before bugging you nice folks too much.

Dewey Finn
09-09-2006, 07:43 PM
So you're running the same installation of Windows on the same hard drive, just in a different computer? Once you've got all the proper hardware drivers installed, you shouldn't see any differences in the new configuration (unless you mean differences between the computers, such as the old one had a pointing stick and the new one has a touchpad). And as for the recent email, if your mail isn't on the Exchange server, I'll bet it's in a hidden folder in the Documents and Settings folder.

09-09-2006, 08:07 PM
Do you have access to another laptop of similar model to your old one? If so, you could use the working one to charge the battery for your old machine, then put it back and hopefully power up long enough to see the emails and determine the location of the correct PST file. it sounds like your IT department have brought back the contents of archive.pst - a file created by the autoarchive feature of Outlook.

A couple of other possibilities:
- They just screwed up the import; at one point in the import wizard, you get a choice whether you want to import emails and their folders, or whether you want to import them into matching folders; if you choose the latter, any messages that were in named folders that don't exist on your new installation, simply won't be imported.
- The PST file could be corrupted, rendering some of the messages unreadable by the import feature; there's a tool called scanpst that can be found on the installation disk (and often also in the outlook program folder) that will scan pst files for errors and attempt to repair them.

pseudotriton ruber ruber
09-09-2006, 08:45 PM
So you're running the same installation of Windows on the same hard drive, just in a different computer?
Exactly. That's the part that pisses me off. Everything's different, some things are missing, and somehow it's all my fault.

I'll look in the Settings and Documents folders, thanks.