In some strange situations it might occur that you want to recover your Outlook Account Settings from an old drive or partition on which you are unable to boot in Windows (or you just don’t want to). Unlike the Outlook mails which are stored in a PST file, the Outlook account settings are located in the Windows Registry. If you haven’t deleted your Windows files it is possible to access certain registry keys so that you can export all the account settings information and import it in your current registry.
This tutorial applies for Outlook 2007, but it might also be usable for Outlook 2003 and Outlook 2010.
Since we’ll be playing with the registry it is wise to first create a backup of your registry before continuing. You can do this by running Regedit and then exporting everything to a file or you can simply make a restore point with System Restore. Google will also be your friend if you want to try other alternatives.
Note that I’m not responsible in any way for any consequences that may occur after performing the ahead mentioned steps.
Access the registry
To access the from the second drive, partition or windows version you need to be able to access the ntuser.dat file (HKEY_CURRENT_USER). This file is user-account specific and is usually located in a fixed directory. Note that in the rest of the article I will assume that your system drive is “C:\” to keep notations simple.
- In Windows XP usually:
%SystemDrive%\Documents and Settings\%UserName%\NTUSER.DAT
- And in Windows Vista/7:
When you open Regedit (%SystemDrive%\Windows\regedit.exe) you’ll only see your local registry. To access the external registry file, we need to hive it under the hive HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE. This can be done by selecting the latter and then from the file menu selecting “Load Hive…” (see figure below).
Now we should locate the file. Try to find the ntuser.dat file in the locations mentioned earlier. Note that the ntuser.dat is a protected system file that is hidden by default. Before looking in the above folders you should first make sure to unhide protected system files (see figure below). One other way is to manually type in the ntuser.dat file while you’re in the specified folder or type the full path (eg. “D:\Users\YourName\ntuser.dat” or “D:\Documents and Settings\YourName\ntuser.dat“).
When opened Regedit will ask you to enter a “Key Name“. You can in principle enter any name as long as it is not used by some other key (use for example “ntuser“).
Now that you have loaded your registry file, we need to dive into the exact registry key and export the corresponding values. So now open your new key, let’s say “ntuser“, and then browse to
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ntuser\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles\Outlook
If you open the last key Outlook, you’ll see various alphanumeric keys. Between these keys there is a key, usually key “9375CFF0413111d3B88A00104B2A6676″, that has other sub keys which contain all the values we need.
Open the mentioned key (or try to find a key that has some sub keys) and you should see something like in the figure below. If that’s the case, then we have successfully found the information we were looking for. 🙂
Exporting the registry keys and values
Now that you have managed to access the keys, we need to export them to a .reg file and import them at the right location. Right click on our “9375CFF0413111d3B88A00104B2A6676″ key and click on Export. Save it to some file and open the file with some text editor, for example Notepad.
Since we have hived our ntuser.dat file under “HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\ntuser\..“, the keys are exported with the same key path. We are now concerned in changing this key path to our ‘real’ path. This is simply done by replacing every occurence of
That way, we have ensured that our settings will be imported in the right location under our current logged in user (if you want to import the settings under a different account then you should switch over to it). Save your reg file and please make sure you have backed up your entire registry before continuing! In case anything goes wrong, you will be able to revert the changes.
Importing the registry keys and values
Things become easy now (make sure your Outlook is not running). After having done all the replaces in the right way and backed up the entire registry, you can now just open the reg file and after confirming the dialog, the settings should be imported. Open Outlook and check under Tools >> Account Settings which accounts were added. If everything went right, you should see all your accounts listed.
The imported settings do not include the password that is needed to access your mail (the password is not stored in the registry but encrypted with the Windows CryptoAPI)! But if you remember your password, as you should, this will not be a problem. When connecting to the mail server with the stored settings, Outlook will ask you to type in your password for each account.
Hopefully you have recovered your settings now. 🙂