Newb Q: Outlook 2013 Lost Contacts (this computer only)

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Cat Bailey

Outlook version
Outlook 2013 32 bit
Email Account
sorry, unsophisticated newbie here. Husband recently bought me a Windows 8 laptop, and I tried merging my Office 2007 files to Office 365 (Outlook 2013). The IT guy from my firm tried to "help", as I have several email accounts, and the bottom line is that all my contacts are lost, and in Outlook, all the contacts have the (this computer only) message after them. I use a Gmail account and an IMAP account through my husband's server, (not an exchange account).

This forum looks like a wealth of great info, but I don't think I'm quick enough to pick up the nomenclature, and my searches thus far have failed me. Any suggestion for finding my contact files? I've been to my Gmail acct online, and it only has a few, from my Android favorites (phone sync?) There should be at least a couple hundred, and I've already re-typed them once, any suggestions? I've looked for a .pst file on my hard drive, and can't find it. My fear is the IT guy somehow erased them when he removed a third (largely unused) email acct from Outlook.

Any help greatly appreciated,


To further demonstrate my confusion, when I go into the data files for the default account, it appears to be an .ost file instead of a .pst file, which indicates an offline file? I'm confused, don't I want my gmail acct to continuously sync with the Outlook contacts to keep them current in both cases? the current default acct is through my husband's website, ie, should I change it to the gmail acct in hopes the contacts will sync again? I believe I input my contacts under the gmail acct through Outlook.

thanks for any advice,

Outlook 2013 changes the data file used for imap from pst to ost. If you had imap on the old computer, just get the pst from the old computer. Then Close outlook, go to control panel and find Mail.

You can do one of two things - make a new profile or edit the current one. A new profile is better, but editing the current one might be easier.

If you make a new profile, add the pst with your contacts to the profile and set it as default, before you open outlook.

To edit current profile: Open your profile and add the pst to the profile and set it as the default data file. Find and delete the imap pst files - you can type or paste %localappdata%\microsoft\outlook in the address bar of windows explorer to jump to the folder. Delete the ost files then restart outlook.

Note: I'm assuming you don't have new appt or contacts to save - if you do, export them to a pst first, before deleting the ost files.

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
thanks so much for the response Diane, sorry to have another one, but. . .

I think I was unclear or incorrect in describing my situation. I already had OL 2013 running when I input the contacts, so I believe they were already in in the .OST file. When I try to open those files in Outlook, I get a popup screen asking what application I want to use to open the file (and I'm already in Outlook, so it should just open, right?

I do however think I have located a data file with the same date as when the IT guy tried to "help", and all the data was lost. this file is also described as an "outlook data file" in the description, but then indicates its an MS-DOS application, and windows 8 asks what application could open it. Sorry, I'm getting frustrated and confused. Outlook now seems to have generated several files for datafiles, with names like ", and etc. . . so that there are multiple data files for each email acct, but none seem to contain all the contact files.

Is there a way to search the computer for the data files that would contain the contacts on the date prior to their loss? Since I haven't changed the application (OL 2013), Im guessing either the guy deleted the wrong data file, or told the program to go to the wrong file for storage of my contacts. . .

sorry, I realize my questions demonstrate my lack of knowledge in this area. . . I would just suck it up and re-enter all the contacts again, but I'm afraid unless i understand how Outlook stores this stuff, I'll just lose it again.

thanks for any suggestions.
it sounds like you are double clicking on the data files - you need to go through outlook. File, Open, Outlook Data file or File, Account Settings, Data Files tab, Add to open a pst file. (You can't open ost files.)
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