Importing Contacts file to Outlook 2003 running on Windows 7

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I am trying to import the contacts file from Outlook 2003 that WAS running on XP into Outlook 2003 running ON Windows 7. Exporting the contacts file from Outlook 2003 on XP has been a no brainer. Importing into Outlook 2003 running on Windows 7 has been a non starter. I and several others have followed the import/export instructions, and the last two steps of importing instructions do not work. What are bwe doing wrong?

Russ Valentine

There is no "contacts file" in Outlook. Nor is exporting and importing ever the correct way to transfer Outlook data. Create a new post with those realities in mind so we can understand your question. You left out all relevant information.Russ Valentine

Karl Timmermans

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2013 32 bit
Email Account

Aside from Russ's response indicating that using import/export for moving information between different Outlook sessions is not the best approach to use in the vast majority of cases - it would be helpful to be a little more specific about the steps you followed otherwise everyone has to guess as to what precisely is going on.

You mentioned ".......and the last two steps of importing instructions do not work." What "exactly" were those last two steps - that didn't work? (starting with the complete description of what you followed including output format etc. The last two steps exporting to a CSV file for example are not the same as exporting to a PST file etc and generally when a problem arises - it is at "one of the steps" - not two.




Let's try again.

I am trying to transfer the contacts on my old computer's Outlook 2003 running on Windows XP to my new computer's Outlook 2003 running on Windows 7. These contacts are located in the Outlook email "Address Folder".

I followed the instructions contained in the File Export/Import pull down menu under File in Outlook 2003 o0n Windows XP.

I exported a the address folder in .pst format to a thumbdrive so I could carry the thumb drive from the old computer to the new computer. I verified with Windows Explorer that the address book folder (saved by windows with the name Contacts) was indeed on the thumb drive. It is.

I inserted the thumb drive in the new computer and again verified that the Address Folder (called Contacts by windows) was still there. The file is still there, and it indeed is a .pst file.

I then opened Outlook 2003 on the new computer with Windows 7 OS, highlighted file, and highlighted the Import/Export instruction. I then selected Import. On the Import and Export Wizard that showed up I selected Import from another program or file.

On the next wizard window that opened, "Import a file", under the choices, I selected Personal Folder File (.pst). This is the only selection showing the .pst extension, which matches the file on the thumb drive. Note however that it is a file, and NOT a folder as listed under the only choice offered by the wizard for a .pst.

In the next wizard window labeled "Import Personal Folders" (note Windows Outlook has ceased calling this a file import and switched to calling it a folder import) under the available choices I selected "replace duplicates with items imported. (I could have chosen any of the selections. They do not make a difference to me).

In the next wizard window that opens, "Import Personal Folders", the selection is to "Select the folder to import from" The wizard automatically selects "Personal Folders". There is no option, and there is no way to change the selection made by Windows. It also automatically selects "Include Subfolders". Beyond that there are two options. "Import items into the current folder", or "Import items into the same folder in:" and for this choice there is a selection bar with already filled in with "personal Folders". Again, there is no way to change the selection, as picking the selection bar only drops down the same selection without a browse capability or an insert capability.

The wizard then prompts to "Finish".

Selecting "Finish" does nothing. Nothing changes, and the email address book in Outlook 2003 on the new computer remains unchanged.

I've gone through these steps several times, and also gone through them selecting the different options given by the Wizard when options were given. No luck on transferring the address folder from the Outlook 2003 on Windows XP to the Outlook 2003 on Windows 7.

I hope the above is detailed enough to offer a perspective of what I have done that has not worked.

Russ Valentine

Outlook contains no "Address Folder." The address book view in Outlook contains no data. It is simply a view of the Contacts Folder in your existing PST file and should never be used to manipulate Outlook data. I would suggest using one of the correct methods for transferring Outlook data that are posted here daily. They do not include exporting or importing.

Take a look at these pages for info on Outlook data backup or transfer:
Moving Outlook to a New Computer

Note that some of the information on the Microsoft page is outdated and contains errors, particularly when applied to Outlook 2003, 2007 or 2010. Specifically:
1. Ignore any advice to copy your PST file to Outlook's default location to connect it to your profile. Doing so will often corrupt your Outlook profile. Copy it anywhere BUT the default location and then open it within your Outlook profile.
2. Ignore any advice that tells you to use export or import to transfer an entire Outlook data file. That has never been sound advice, but the process has become too deeply flawed to be trusted.

Russ Valentine

Karl Timmermans

Senior Member
Outlook version
Outlook 2013 32 bit
Email Account

A few things:

#1 - The contacts included in the AddressBook "view" reflect the contact folders designated as "Show this Folder as an e-mail Address Book" - the default contacts folder is automatically designated as such. Anything else needs to be set manually.

#2 - The import process you are using - offers you two choices - "Select items into current folder" or "Import items into the same folder in:" and the PST store name. As you described, you likely only have one PST file and therefore would only have a single choice - the one that has already been selected (Personal Folders)

Using the second option is simply going to create a secondary contact folder in the selected PST file (Personal Folders) using whatever name was selected from the source PST file - from your description - this folder is named "Address Folder" which is where your contacts are being created.

In short you have three options to resolve the issue of the "missing contacts":

#1 - Select your default contact folder BEFORE starting the import process and during the import process - "select items into current folder" - the contacts will then appear in your AddressBook since it should already be assigned as an "email AddressBook" or....

#2 - Right click on the "Address Folder" --> Properties --> Outlook Address Book --> check "Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book"

If for any reason your default contact folder is not set as "Show this folder as an e-mail Address Book" (the option is grayed out) - you will likely need to create a new Outlook profile.

#3 - As Russ as mentioned - open the original PST file on your Win7 system and copy the contents of the contacts to your current default PST store (Personal Folders) - either by copying the contacts themselves to the default contact folder or by copying the "Address Folder" itself OR just leave it as is and use the "Address Folder" from the old PST file (however done - the folder must be marked as an e-mail address book in the current Outlook configuration).

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