How to import a pst file from Outlook 2003 into an earlier version of Outlook?

June 1st, 2009 Atie Uhan

If the version of MS Outlook is earlier than Microsoft Office Outlook 2003, and pst file is not imported. When you trying to import a personal folders storage pst file into Microsoft Outlook you can receive an error message that is similar to the following:

The file *.pst is not compatible with this version of Personal Folders information service. Contact your administrator. Properties for this information service must be defined prior to use

This problem may appear when the pst file that you are trying to import has the format of Outlook 2003 version. Outlook pst files of version 2003 are using the Unicode format which is support multilingual data. The earlier version of Outlook pst files are not using the Unicode and do not support multilingual data.

Brief Description

To import a pst file from Outlook 2003 into an earlier version of Outlook or convert pst to 97-2002 and resolve this issue, you may perform the following steps:

  1. Save the source file (Outlook 2003 personal folders file) as an Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File
  2. Export the pst file of format Outlook 2003 to the new pst file that is compatible with an earlier versions of Outlook
  3. Import the new (saved) pst file into the earlier version of Outlook.

Steps to Export the PST to Earlier Format

To save a PST file from Outlook 2003, convert it to the Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File format and export pst file to the compatible format of earlier version of Outlook, follow these steps:

  1. In Outlook 2003, click menu File, then click New, and then click Outlook Data File
  2. In the New Outlook Data File dialog, choose Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (*.pst) option and click OK
  3. In the Create or Open Outlook Data File dialog, type in the name for a new pst file and save the new pst file to the hard drive
  4. Click OK to close the Create Microsoft Personal Folders dialog

    The new Personal Folders item should appear in the Navigation Pane of Outlook 2003

  5. Select the new Personal Folders in the Navigation Pane and click File menu, then choose Import and Export
  6. Choose Import from another program or file option and click Next
  7. Choose Personal Folder File (.pst), and then click Next
  8. Click Browse and select the pst file which you want to export to an earlier version of Outlook and click Open, then click Next
  9. Under Select the folder to import from, click Personal Folders
  10. Select the Include subfolders option in the check box
  11. Click to the pst file that was saved in step 3 in the Import items into the same folder in box then click Finish
  12. Click OK when you receive the following message:

    You are importing data to a location that does not fully support Unicode. To avoid loss of multilingual data, it is recommended that you choose a location that supports Unicode, such as a Microsoft Office Outlook Personal Folders File.Click OK to continue with the chosen location.

Steps to Import the new pst into an earlier version of Outlook

Now you can import the pst saved in previous version of Outlook to the Outlook of earlier version.

  1. In the earlier version of Microsoft Outlook, open the File menu and choose Import and Export item
  2. Click Import from another program or file, and click Next
  3. Select Personal Folder File (.pst) option, then click Next
  4. Click Browse and locate, then open the pst file which was saved from Outlook 2003, then click Next
  5. Click Personal Folders under Select the folder to import from
  6. Select the Include subfolders check box option
  7. In the Import items into the same folder in box, click the pst file that you are importing
  8. Click Finish

Now you can start the using of PST items, organize them, move, delete etc. If you have a directory structure with stored eml or msg files which you want to import to the Outlook as folders structure and convert eml to Outlook or msg to Outlook, you can start to use the Outlook Import Wizard. How to use the eml to pst importing tool is described on our instructions page and frequently asked questions page.

Outlook Import Wizard is a software tool which was developed to import eml files archive to Outlook keeping the structure of directories. The eml importing software utility working as eml2pst converter, easily transfers eml files into Microsoft Outlook. The Outlook Import Wizard will help you in case if you wish to put a directory structure of eml files into Outlook.

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