Move IMAP Personal Folder File in Outlook 2007

This post is kind-of off-topic concerning my main blog topic area, but 1) it has been a while since my last post and 2) the topic has caused me a headache, so I decided to blog it.

Besides my own mailbox, hosted in Exchange, I often load other IMAP mailboxes in the same Outlook profile. IMAP tries to work in the same way as Exchange (it leaves all messages on the server and – if properly configured – also stores sent items there). So far, so good.

Here comes the nasty part: reading this post, you probably faced the same problem as I did. Moving the data file from your personal folder to another folder is not just as easy as when working with a POP3 mailbox – when moving, Outlook just keeps generating a new PST file when you delete it. Besides, there is no option such as ‘move mailbox’.

Just a note before you read on: you cannot reload an ‘IMAP backup PST file’. If you are trying to do anything like that, just stop since you will fail reaching your goal.┬áTherefore, backing up IMAP folders does not make any sense.

After the misery from the previous paragraph I can give you some relief: it is not hard to move┬áthe PST file. It’s just the ‘workflow’ that matters:

  1. Close Outlook.
  2. Open the Mail item in Control Panel.
  3. Open the profile to work on and go to its data file(s).
  4. Locate the original data file location.
  5. Let the data file window stay open!
  6. Move the PST file. Don’t rename or point to another file – silly, yes I know – or an empty PST file will definitely be created in the original folder.
  7. Double click the data file in the window you should have left open. It shows you an error message and after clicking that one away, you can select the new location of your mailbox.
  8. Close all mail windows.
  9. Open Outlook.
  10. [Check the original PST file folder for possible newly created mailbox files - if so, you made a mistake following my guidelines ;) .]
  11. You’re done!


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