Move your Entourage Identity to a new computer

Apple has released new hardware and many of you are getting a new computer. Congratulations! Prices have also come down on Office for Mac 2008, so you might want to consider upgrading to Office for Mac 2008 too. (Home Edition $117.99, upgrade for standard $188.49 standard edition $220.00 ) I recommend the Home edition if you don’t need Exchange support. It will get you 3 install keys that can be used on 3 different computers in your family.

Today we’re going to discuss, moving your Entourage Identity to a new computer. A few basics first….How can you move your data, if you don’t know where it is?

Location of your data: Microsoft Entourage installs the Microsoft User Data folder (MUD) in your User’s Document folder. Inside this folder is your Identity (named Main by default). All of your mail, contacts, etc are stored in the database file in the Main Identity folder.

Tip: If you move your Main Identity out of the Documents folder, Entourage will not know where your mail is located and will open with a new default identity that will be blank. You can use an alias or symlink and keep your data in another location. Do not try to use Entourage with your data on a server or your iDisk. To find a missing Identity folder see find your database.

Install Office for Mac I advise installing Office for Mac from your DVD then update rather than using migration. Why take the chance of bring over old outdated files from previous versions of Office. It’s a new computer so take a little extra time and start with a proper install.

Before installing Office 2008, I suggest you read Dos and Don’ts for a good install and Installing Office 2008.

Move your data

  1. Move to a new computer without Entourage installed
  2. Move to a new computer that has an existing Entourage Identity
  3. Import your old Identity to a new version of Entourage on your new computer

Move to a new computer without Entourage installed

  1. Install Office and update
  2. Before you open Entourage, move the entire Microsoft User Data folder to your new Document’s folder.
  3. Open Entourage and you have all your old mail as before.

Move to a new computer that has an existing Entourage Identity. (same version merge)

  1. Move the entire Identity folder you want to use to the Office 2008 Identities folder. You can have more than one Identity in the Office Identities folder. Your Identity is named “Main” by default. Be sure to rename one so you do not overwrite. If you have added scripts, be sure to copy over your scripts in the Entourage Script Menu Items folder.
    1. Note: Each version of Entourage has it’s own Identity folder. For example, An Entourage 2008 Identity must reside in the Office 2008 Identities folder.
    2. If you are moving over Office 2004 or Office X, you would use Office 2004 Identities folder or Office X Identities folder instead.
  2. If you have not used the new Identity, delete it and just place your old identity folder in the Identities folder. When you open Entourage it will open in the old Identity if both are named “Main” or you can select the Identity from the Switch Identity window list.
  3. If you have used it and want to combine the new mail with your original database, you will need to export your data then switch Identities and import. It’s easier to export items from the newer Identity that contains the smaller amount of data into your original Identity.
    1. Export as either Entourage archive (.rge) files or export messages as MBOX files. You cannot select an Identity to import that’s the same version.
    2. Select “Switch Identity” under Entourage in the Menu bar
    3. Import your data.
    4. If your accounts are IMAP or Exchange you should be able to just sync back up without having to export your messages. You’ll need to export as Entourage archive (.rge) files your contacts, notes, tasks and events.
    5. For additional help exporting your data see Manually Move your Data

Upgrade to a new version of Entourage and import your old Identity on new computer
Let’s suppose you have Entourage 2004 installed on your old computer, but you have installed Entourage 2008 on your new computer.

  1. Drag over your Office 2004 Main Identity folder from your old computer. Place your Identity folder on the desktop. Entourage does not like to import from another volume.
  2. Install Office 2008 and update. Currently, 12.1.5 is the latest update
  3. Open Entourage 2008 and select to import from an older Identity. Navigate to your Office 2004 Main Identity on the desktop.
  4. This will upgrade your database for Entourage 2008 and create a new Main Identity in the Office 2008 Identities folder.
  5. After import, delete the old Office 2004 Identities folder.

If you have problems importing your Identity you might have to open the old Identity and export the data manually to import into Entourage 2008. Hopefully, you still have your old computer with Office 2004 or Office X installed.
Clean up your old Identity before importing it into a new version :

  • Delete Spam
  • Empty your Deleted Items folder
  • Consider archiving older emails
  • Compress Identity
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7 comments to Move your Entourage Identity to a new computer

  • Jeff

    I would like to archive my old emails off my laptop and onto my office server, but still be able to search them using Entourage.
    What is the best way to do this? (Previously I set up my office server as a mail server which I accessed as an additional identity in Entourage. I then moved my old mail to this office mail server. My network admin is no longer going to let me have my own mail server.)
    Will I be able to search through these archived emails using Entourage?

  • Bryan

    I switched to a new computer and upgraded to Office 2008 at the same time.
    Unfortunately I ran Office 2008 before I copied over my 2004 identities so there was nothing to import and I ended up with a blank identity. Didn’t want that, so here’s what I did:

    • quit Office ’08
    • copied my Office 2004 identities folder into the MUD directory
    • trashed the Office 2008 identities folder
    • re-ran Office 2008

    The problem is I expected it to come up and ask if I wanted to import the 2004 stuff, but it didn’t. It just came up with a blank identity. How do I completely clear everything out so it will do a “first run” again?

  • There was no need to reinstall. You can have both the Office 2004 Identities folder and the Office 2008 Identities folder in the Microsoft User Data folder
    To import your Office 2004 Identity.
    Open Entourage 2008
    Under File –> Import select “Entourage information from an archive or earlier version”
    Click the right arrow to continue
    Select Entourage 2004
    Entourage will import and upgrade your Identity. After you are satisfied with the import, you can delete the Office 2004 Identities folder.
    Be sure you are fully updated to Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac Service Pack 2 (12.2.0)
    For a good install and update see:
    Install Office for Mac 2008 including updates

  • Charlie Atterbury

    If I create a new Main Identities Folder (want to do this as my database has gotten too large) how do I select which MIF I use from within Entourage?

  • You can rename the old one “Mail Old” or anything you like. Main does not have to be used, it’s just the default name used.
    BTW, you can duplicate the Identity in the Finder, then in Entourage, you can use a custom mail view to move out older mail. Compress the Identity and you have a new sleek Identity with your most recent emails. I suggest keeping at least 90 days or more. I would consider keeping mail from 2009 forward. Then in the future, you can export by year when your database starts to get too big.
    These links should help.
    Archive Your Data
    Backup Individual Items
    Archiving your e-mails with EagleFiler

  • Amit Patel

    i have two notebooks , 17″ adn 13″ one i use at office and other i travel with. When i travel i want to move my Main database of entourage to my travel notebook. both have Mic office 2008 for mac. as you have said i erased the old travel database and moved my office database to travel notebook and started entourage. every time it does two thing. either it create new identity or ask me to rebuild my database and create a backup. and then its fine. but it takes 60 mins my database size is 14gb.
    can you please advice me why this is happening or is there a better way to do it ?

  • Moving your Identity from one computer to another should not be causing this problem. Are you copying the entire Identity or just the database? You should copy the entire Identity.
    Check permissions on the files after you move and compare to a new blank Identity that was created on that computer.
    Other options:
    1) move to an IMAP account
    2) Use an external drive for Microsoft User Data folder
    Sync Options