If you are using Outlook with Gmail, you might need to take action by May 30, 2022. If your version of Microsoft Office is Office 2016 or older, you probably received this email:
In my case, I received the email above because I was using Outlook 2013. To avoid no longer being able to use it after May 29th, I upgraded to Office 2021. I found lots of Internet websites selling Office 2021 keys for far less cost than Microsoft.
However, there are alternatives. Using another app to replace your outdated Outlook is a possibility. For example, I know that the current version of the free Mozilla Thunderbird can use the OAuth 2.0 authentication mentioned in the Google email above.
In my case, I was very comfortable with my old Outlook version and wanted to continue with Outlook, assuming I could maintain all my previous Outlook email and data. I chose Outlook 2021 (part of Office 2021) because it’s very similar to my Outlook 2013. I’m glad I did because it turned out to be very much like my old Outlook.
I incorrectly assumed that all I had to do was buy an Office 2021 key, download and run the Office 2021 installation program and I’d be done. However, it was much more complicated than that. This article will explain step-by-step how to update Microsoft Office successfully. The images are from Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2021, but they should be similar to whatever versions of Outlook you are dealing with.
What To Do With Your Old Microsoft Office Before Upgrading
1. I can’t stress strongly enough how important it is to make a full disk image backup of your hard drive (or SSD). My first attempt at doing this upgrade was a disaster and I had to completely restore the disk image. There are several excellent free backup utilities. I happen to use Macrium Reflect with an external hard drive.
2. Most of the settings are maintained when you upgrade, but a few are not. For example, the Quick Access Toolbar at the top-left of each Outlook page was not maintained. Also, the “Favorites” section of the main email page was not maintained. My point is that it would be a good idea to write down or take an image of these sections if they are important to you.
3. You will need to know the “bitness” (32-bit or 64-bit) of your old Outlook program (which is the same as for the whole Office suite). You can find that by clicking on the “File” tab, then “Account” (or “Office Account), and then “About Outlook” where it will be displayed near the end of the line near the top of the page. You actually could do that on ANY of the old Office suite apps.
4. Now it’s time to export the data from your old Outlook. Click on the “File” tab as shown below.
5. Now click on “Open & Export” and then “Import/Export” as shown below.
6. In the next window shown below, click on “Export to a file” and then “Next >”
7. In this next window, click on the “Outlook Data File (.pst)” and then “Next >”.
8. Now you will see one or more data (.pst) files that Outlook uses for storing your data. When this page opens, the little “>” in front of each file will probably be pointing down. For the top of each data file, “Outlook” and “Archive” in this image, click on the “>” until it shows like below. Most people will just have the “Outlook” data file. I happen to have the “Archive” data file also because I implemented archiving. Click on the first one, “Outlook” in this example, make sure that the “Include subfolders” box is checked, and then click on “Next >”.
9. At this point, I recommend that you plug in a USB flash drive large enough to hold all your Outlook data or use an external hard drive (or SSD). I do NOT recommend saving them to your internal PC drive just in case you need to restore it from the image of that drive that you saved earlier. The total of my two Outlook data files was just under two Gigabytes, but yours could be even bigger. Use the “Browse…” button to find the external drive and choose the name you want to call the saved file. In my case, the name I chose was “2013 Outlook backup.pst” as shown below, but feel free to name it anything you will remember and make sure you remember where you save it. The “Options” can be ignored because you are not updating an existing file. Now click on “Finish”.
10. This next window is not necessary to change. Feel free to leave it all blank and click on “OK”. After a minute or so you should see it whip through all your Outlook data as it creates the data file.
11. If you only had one Outlook data file shown in the step above, you can go on with these instructions. If you had two or more Outlook data files (like I had “Outlook” and “Archive”), go back to Step 3 above and repeat everything, but choose the next data file. Continue saving the data files, each named differently, until all are saved.
Uninstalling Your Old Microsoft Office Suite
It is critical that you COMPLETELY uninstall your old Microsoft Office suite. I highly recommend that you do that with an uninstaller program and NOT with the Windows app uninstall. That’s because any leftover files could cause a problem with the installation of the new Microsoft Office suite. There are lots of free uninstallers you can use. I happen to use Revo Uninstaller, but others like HiBit Uninstaller, BC Uninstaller, and Ashampoo Uninstaller all will work. Just make sure that after you uninstall the old Microsoft Office, you reboot your PC.
Installing The New Office Suite
Assuming that you have the key you bought for the new Microsoft Office as discussed at the beginning of this article, it’s time to download and install the new Office suite.
1. Go here to create a Microsoft account if needed and download the version of Microsoft Office that you purchased. But you will need to know the “bitness” of your old Office suite which is explained near the beginning of this article. Make sure you download the 32-bit or 64-bit, whichever matches the “bitness” of your old Microsoft suite.
2. Run the setup program you downloaded which will install the new Microsoft suite, but with none of your data yet.
Transferring Your Old Outlook Data Files To Your New Outlook
1. Open the new Outlook program.
2. Click on the “File” tab, then “Open & Export”, then “Import/Export” and you will see the image below. Make sure that the “Import from another program or file” is highlighted and click “Next >”.
3. In this next window, make sure that the “Outlook Data File (.pst)” is highlighted and click “Next >”.
4. In this next window make sure you use the drive letter and exact name of the first data file you saved from the old Outlook program in the “File to import” field. Now you must have “Replace duplicates with items imported” chosen as shown. Then click “Next >”.
5. Continue with importing and you should have your data from the old Outlook in the new Outlook. If you have more than one data file to import, repeat Steps 1 through 4 above.
You should now have all your data and most of your settings from your old Outlook program in your new Outlook program. If not, there’s always a restore from that disk image you created at the beginning of this article.
If you want to make all your new Office suite programs look more like your old ones, try this:
1. Right-click on the little up-arrow at the right end of the ribbon as shown below for any Office program.
2. Left-click on the “Use Classic Ribbon” line. Now all your programs will have a ribbon very much like you used to have in your old Office suite.
Please leave any questions or concerns in the Comments section below.