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How to remove an account but keep its emails in Outlook?

Author: Kelly Last Modified: 2024-01-12

Imagine you've set up multiple email accounts in Microsoft Outlook, but find that you seldom use some of them. You might consider removing these less active accounts. Typically, deleting an email account from Microsoft Outlook also removes its associated emails. However, this article will guide you through various techniques to eliminate email accounts from Microsoft Outlook while preserving their messages.

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Remove an account but keep its email by saving original data file

This method will guide you to remove an email account from Microsoft Outlook, but keep all items of this email account in Microsoft Outlook.

Important Note: This procedure is designed for email accounts that use .pst data files. If your account operates on .ost files, ensure to convert and export them as .pst first. This step is crucial to avoid losing any email data when you proceed with the account removal.

  1. Open the Account Settings dialog box by clicking File > Info > Account Settings > Account Settings.

    Account Settings

  2. In the Account Settings dialog box, on the Email tab, follow these steps:
    1. Select the email account that you will remove. Make sure the account you select is associated with a .pst data file. If it's linked to an .ost file, removing the account could result in the loss of all emails.
    2. Click the Remove button.
    3. Click the Close button at the bottom to exit the dialog box.

      Remove Account

  3. Now you are back to the main interface of Outlook. Click File > Open & Export > Open Outlook Data File.

  4. In the pop-up Open Outlook Data File window, locate the data file you wish to access. Select it, and then click the Open button. Tip: If your .pst file is stored in a non-default location, navigate to that specific folder to open the .pst file.

Result

The email account has now been removed from your Microsoft Outlook; however, the folders associated with this account remain visible and accessible in the Navigation pane.


Remove an account but keep its email by copying and pasting

Actually, before removing an email account from Microsoft Outlook, we can save all of its emails into other folders by manually copying and pasting. Here's a detailed guide to do this:

  1. Open the email folder in the Navigation Pane associated with the account you plan to remove that contains the emails you want to preserve.

  2. Press Ctrl + A to select all the emails in the opened folder.
  3. Press Ctrl + C to copy these email messages.
  4. Navigate to the folder where you wish to transfer these emails. In my example, I would open the Inbox of a different email account as shown below.

  5. Press Ctrl + V to paste all copied email messages into this opened folder.
    Tips:
    • Repeat steps 1 to 5 to move email messages from other folders of the account you're removing.
    • This method does not include subfolders. For emails in subfolders, you'll need to replicate steps 1 to 5 for each subfolder.
  6. Open the Account Settings dialog box by clicking File > Info > Account Settings > Account Settings.

    Account Settings

  7. In the Account Settings dialog box, on the Email tab, follow these steps:
    1. Select the email account that you will remove.
    2. Click the Remove button.
    3. Click the Close button at the bottom to exit the dialog box.

      Remove Account


Export emails to a PST file before account removal

To retain emails from an account you're removing in Outlook, exporting them as a PST (Outlook Data File) is a reliable method. This process creates a backup of your emails, which can be accessed even after the account is removed. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Open the Import and Export Wizard dialog box by clicking File > Open & Export > Import & Export.
  2. In the wizard, select Export to a file, and click the Next button.

  3. In the Export to a File dialog box, select Outlook Data File (.pst) > Next.

  4. In the Export Outlook Data File dialog box, select the email account that you will remove later to export its data, ensure Include subfolders is checked, and click Next.

  5. Set export parameters as follows:
    1. Click Browse, select a folder to save the PST file, and name the file.
    2. Choose the Do not export duplicate items option.
    3. Click Finish.

  6. The Create Outlook Data File dialog will appear:
    • To add a password, enter it in both Password and Verify Password boxes, then click OK.
    • To skip adding a password, click Cancel.

After completing these steps, you can proceed with the procedure outlined in the initial method to delete an existing email account while retaining the original emails.


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Comments (32)
Rated 5 out of 5 · 1 ratings
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
I'm really glad I backed up to a .pst file FIRST. Had I followed the instructions verbatim, I would've lost everything. Your instructions are DANGEROUSLY out of sequence!!!!
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi Jason,

Thank you for your feedback. Could you please specify where you found the tutorial out of sequence? I've already added a note at the beginning of the first method, advising users with .ost files to convert and export them as .pst to avoid any message loss.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Update:

We apologize for any confusion or inconvenience caused by the previous version of our tutorial on removing an email account but keeping its emails in Outlook. We've listened to your feedback and have revised the tutorial on removing an email account but keeping its emails in Outlook. The new version includes clearer instructions, especially regarding the handling of .pst and .ost files. We hope this update resolves the issues and makes the process smoother and safer for everyone.

Amanda
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Step one...Remove email account from Outlook.
Big Mistake!!!! All of your emails will be lost, just like mine.

If you need to make sure the emails are in an Outlook Data File, THAT STEP SHOULD BE NUMBER ONE!

What should I do if I remove the account in the email tab and there isn't anything at all saved in the Outlook Files?

IS THIS ARTICLE LITERALLY WRITTEN BY BOSSES WHO WANT TO MAKE SURE FORMER EMPLOYEES DON'T HAVE SAVED EMAILS????

This post is the opposite of helpful.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Thanks for posting your useful information in this blog is very much useful for me to improve my knowledge for more information Excellent article for beginners! I loved the way it starts from fundamentals to quality link building. Beginners can learn and explore SEO after this guidance.
Rated 5 out of 5
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Ik probeer de mails te kopieren en te plakken in een map van een ander account (gmail), maar krijg dit met geen mogelijkheid voor elkaar, hoe kan ik dit bewerkstelligen, wat er beschreven wordt kan mogelijk dus helemaal niet! Graag advies hoe ik dit wel kan doen, wellicht doe ik wat verkeerd hierin.
This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site
Hi there, could you please tell me which method did you use? Or you used all the methods listed in the article and none worked?
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