Outlook 2010 Color Categories on IMAP mail lost when installing new Windows 7 workstation

Mark Foley

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
#1
A user in the office was given a newer, scratch-built Windows 7 workstation. Outlook 2010 was installed from DVD. The mail files are kept on an IMAP server (to which I have access) and the user's mail data files are kept on a network drive. I was able to point the new Outlook's data file to the outlook.pst on the network drive. All email folders show up just fine. The problem is that the color categories are apparently gone. This user (the Big Boss) has categorized email going back years and is now a bit frustrated that all his categorizations are missing. I have access to the old workstation. Perhaps these are defined somewhere in AppData? Is there a way to recover these?
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#2
It's just the colors that are gone correct? Oh... imap. Categories don't sync up to most imap servers so they won't sync to another computer. The only way to get them back is to get the imap pst from the old computer (and use the pst as an archive). Everything in the pst that had the calendar & contacts that was categorized should remain categorized.

Because it was outlook 2010 - you can open the imap pst in any profile - so as long as that file is still around, it doesn't matter if the profile was deleted. The only issue is because its imap, there is a chance that some older mail is headers-only.
 

Mark Foley

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
#3
Thanks for your reply. We've been using IMAP for about 4 years now and the categories have been working to mark email w/o problem. I believe the .pst *is* the same as the old computer. It resides on a network drive (X:/Staff/user/outlook/My Outlook Data \File.pst). I pointed the new Outlook data files there, but maybe something happened to it during the new Office installation. What if I restored that file from before the upgrade? If the "category" information is there, perhaps it will just reappear? What would I possibly lose by doing this? A few calendar entries are not important.
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#4
I believe the .pst *is* the same as the old computer. It resides on a network drive (X:/Staff/user/outlook/My Outlook Data \File.pst)
There are two pst files for Outlook 2010 imap - a default pst that holds calendar & contacts and one used to sync with the imap account. The path above is probably the default data file pst - its harder to move an imap data file ot a new location. It would be at %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook on the old computer. (the new computer will also have one at the same location).

The imap pst can only be synced by the profile that created it, but it can be opened in other profiles as a simple pst.

What if I restored that file from before the upgrade?
That will work... but it depends on which pst it is - the imap account's pst or the default pst for the profile.
 

Mark Foley

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
#5
I copied the old %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook .pst file to the new computer. Before doing so there were 2 .pst's out there:

matkeson@mydom.org.pst (1M)
matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson.pst (3.4G)

The latter being larger and having the most recent timestamp. I saved these and copied the old one (matkeson@mydom.org.pst) to the new computer (with Outlook not running). I named it "matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson.pst", since that was the name of the most recent file. I then fired up Outlook and, it appeared that the color categories were there, but I'll need user confirmation. The puzzling bit is when I look in the %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook folder I now have:

1M 2018-03-26 15:18 matkeson@mydom.org.pst-saveme
3398M 2018-03-28 14:54 matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson.pst-saveme
4695M 2018-03-28 17:16 matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson.pst
5M 2018-03-28 17:18 matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson(2).pst

where the first two are the ones I renamed that supposedly DID NOT have the correct color categories. The 4.7G file is the one I copied over, as stated above, and now I have a new, much smaller file, "matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson(2).pst" that appeared after I opened Outlook. This seems bad. Does this mean it's not using the file I copied? The one I copied (2nd from bottom) and hoped to be using did have its timestamp updated after opening Outlook. Outlook seems good at out smarting me.
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#6
The 4.7G file is the one I copied over, as stated above, and now I have a new, much smaller file, "matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson(2).pst" that appeared after I opened Outlook.
if you are using IMAP, outlook won't reuse the data file even if the names are the same - it creates a new one with the number. Because you are using outlook 2010 on the computer, you can open the old IMAP files to see the mail - its possible that had the categories in it - in the new profile using File, open, outlook data file.

Do any of those pst files have the old calendar and contacts in them?

Did you have any pst files in Documents\Outlook Files on either machine?
 

Mark Foley

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
#7
if you are using IMAP, outlook won't reuse the data file even if the names are the same - it creates a new one with the number.
Yes, you are right. The categories are not showing up. I do have the old workstation and when I open Outlook there I can still see all the categories correctly.

Is there way to "export" these categories from the old workstation to the new one (I do have a category extraction maco you gave me 2 years ago)?

Is there no way to "fake" the new Outlook into using the older .pst file? I don't even get how it knows that the copied-over one is different than the one it was using. I gave it the same name and timestamp as the older one. Outlook does know about the copied-over file (un-numbered) because every time Outlook is fired up it changes the time stamp on the copied .pst, even if it then apparently ignores it.
Because you are using outlook 2010 on the computer, you can open the old IMAP files to see the mail - its possible that had the categories in it - in the new profile using File, open, outlook data file.
OK, I did that on the new machine and I can see all the categories correctly! Can I use that? I.e. can I simply close the "matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson(2).pst" and just keep-on-truckin' with this "correct" .pst as the permanent one?
Do any of those pst files have the old calendar and contacts in them?
As I understand it, the .pst file specified by Control Panel > Mail > Data Files is the one having the calendar/contact info (this is the only one I really knew about before your 1st post). The answer is yes, I pointed the new Outlook to that file and calendar and contact info was retained.
Did you have any pst files in Documents\Outlook Files on either machine?
Yes, there is a "Outlook Data File - matkeson.pst" in Users/matkeson/My Documents/Outlook Files. It is timestamped Mar 28 20:40, 2 minutes later than the "matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson(2).pst" in Users/matkeson/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Outlook/. Both computers have redirected "My Documents" folders so it should be the same file for both machines. Interestingly, when I just now got in and out of Outlook on the old machine it did not update the timestamp on that file. Is there something useful I can do with this .pst in My Documents? Interestingly, again, when I 'Open > Outlook Data File' on the new machine (which I did to open the old, un-numbered .pst per your suggestion), it defaults to selecting this one in My Documents/Outlook Files! I didn't open it.

So, if I can use the original "matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson.pst" I just opened per your suggestion on a permanent basis, I think my problem is solved. What do you think?
 
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#8
Is there way to "export" these categories from the old workstation to the new one (I do have a category extraction maco you gave me 2 years ago)?
the macro will export the category names and add them to the master category list but it won't do anything if the mail is missing categories.

Is there no way to "fake" the new Outlook into using the older .pst file?
no, not for imap accounts. You can open it in outlook like any other pst file but cant deliver imap to it.

OK, I did that on the new machine and I can see all the categories correctly! Can I use that? I.e. can I simply close the "matkeson@mydom.org - matkeson(2).pst" and just keep-on-truckin' with this "correct" .pst as the permanent one?
As long as the (2).pst is used for calendar/contacts.

Is there something useful I can do with this .pst in My Documents?
Is it set as the default data file in File, Account Settings, Data File tab? If not, you should be able to close it to remove from the profile.
 

Mark Foley

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
#9
As long as the (2).pst is used for calendar/contacts.
The .pst used for calendar/contacts (specified by the control panel > mail > data files) is located on the network drive; it is not the (2).pst.

So, I'm going to leave this copied-over .pst from the old %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook opened and close the (2).pst. And see what the user has to say when he gets in the office on Monday. I'll post back results.
 

Mark Foley

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
#10
The old %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook .pst file has the color categories set correctly. I tried to close the "new" %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook .pst file and just use this copied-from-old-system one, but when I try to close the "new" .pst it says "This group of folders is associated with an e-mail account. To remove the account, click the File Tab, and on the Info tab, click Account Settings. Select the e-mail account, and then click Remove."

Well, I don't want to remove the account. I want this "old" .pst associated with the account. I'm sure if I remove and re-add the account it will simply create a new undesirable .pst. Is there a way to disassociate this post-update .pst file from the account and use the older file?
 

Mark Foley

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
#11
(tried to edit the last post, but couldn't) In fact, I cannot use the old pst at all since the inbox is not being updated. I'll have to tell the user to continue using the new .pst for the time being.

This all seems like extraordinarily horrible behavior. If Outlook gets installed from scratch due to a hardware upgrade or system crash, Microsoft makes no provision for keeping/re-using the original .pst? That seems incredible to me. Really? There's no way to do this?

If there is no way to accomplish the above, I have a macro which I believe you gave me 2 years ago which extracts color categories in the format:

Message-ID: <FC177A271ECF104D8FECF73F8795FE8B2218138162@MAIL.hprs.local>~Red Category

Perhaps I can alter that macro to create one to set the category given the above input.
 

Mark Foley

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2010 64 bit
Email Account
IMAP
#12
So, are we at a dead end on this? There's no way to re-use an existing Outlook profile when re-installing Outlook (IMAP) from scratch?
 

Diane Poremsky

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2016 32 bit
Email Account
Office 365 Exchange
#13
I cannot use the old pst at all since the inbox is not being updated.
Correct... it won't update as you cant use an imap data file created in a different profile. The only reason to use it is to see the categorized items.

just use this copied-from-old-system one, but when I try to close the "new" .pst it says "This group of folders is associated with an e-mail account. To remove the account, click the File Tab, and on the Info tab, click Account Settings. Select the e-mail account, and then click Remove."
You cant remove the new pst (its used by the email account)- but because the old pst was created in 2010, it can be opened as a normal pst.


I have a macro which I believe you gave me 2 years ago which extracts color categories in the format:

Message-ID: <FC177A271ECF104D8FECF73F8795FE8B2218138162@MAIL.hprs.local>~Red Category
I don't recall extracting categories in that manner - but that could make an interesting way to re-categorize the email... as long as the message id's haven't changed (they shouldn't)
 

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