Upgrade to Service Pack 2 (SP2) 14.2.1

Microsoft released the Service Pack 2 (SP2) 14.2.1 updater on April 25, 2012. This updater resolves the main issue users where having with the database upgrade in 14.2.0. Skip the 14.2.0 upgrade and go directly to 14.2.1. The 14.2.1 update requires 14.1.0 or later to be installed.

If you are one of those users asking, “Should I upgrade to 14.2.1?”, the answer for most is “Yes!”. This update should fix the main issue of failed database upgrades. Users are reporting better performance, and users with Thunderbolt and eSATA drives no longer have to contend with the constant activation issues. You can download a list of fixes in SP2 in Excel format.

Reasons Not to Upgrade

  • Kerio users need to wait for official word from Kerio before upgrading.
  • Users on Exchange 2007 might want to stick with 14.1.4 until the Date Stamp issue is fixed.

“Microsoft is aware of a problem users are reporting with a missing date header in replied or forwarded mails. This problem occurs when using Mac Outlook 14.2 or 14.2.1 with Exchange 2007. Microsoft understands the cause of the issue and is working on a fix.”

  • Hovering over a name in the message header no longer shows the email address. In 14.2.1, you have to click on the contact icon to open the contact. Then if there is more than one email address for sender you don’t know which email was used unless you do a Reply to message.
Compare Behavior to Show Email for Sender

Hover over sender 14.1.4

Hover over sender in 14.2.1


In case you need to revert, make sure you have a backup copy of the Microsoft Office 2011 folder in Applications. If you do not use Time Machine or clone your drive, compress (zip) your Microsoft Office 2011 folder in Applications before upgrading.

To compress your Identity, Control-Click (Right-click) on the Microsoft Office 2011 folder in Applications and select Compress.

In the Finder, duplicate (copy) your Main Identity in the Office 2011 Identities folder. I find this is quicker than restoring from Time Machine that requires a rebuild plus copy time.

~/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/your identity named Main by default

Before upgrading to SP 2 14.2.1, users need to rebuild their Identities and/or export data as .olm file for all their “On My Computer” data to ensure a good transition. It’s much easier to create backup files BEFORE you upgrade in case you need the extra step to make a successful transition to Service Pack 2.

  • Delete your Exchange and IMAP accounts in your backup Identity. This deletes the cache files in Outlook.
  • Under File > Export select to export all data as .olm file. This gets all your “On My Computer” data.
  • This .olm file can be used to create a new SP2 Identity if needed.

Changes to the Microsoft User Data folder

Microsoft moved some folders to a new location in the Service Pack 2 upgrade. Even though they moved the default location for these files, the old files were left in the Microsoft User Data folder. I suggest that users rename the Microsoft User Data folder in Documents to Microsoft User Data OLD. When you launch 14.2.1, a new Microsoft User Data folder will be created. For long time Office Mac users, your Microsoft User Data folder might contain many other older files as well. Take this opportunity to start with a fresh Microsoft User Data folder.

Compare Default folders in Microsoft User Data folder 

Default folders for Office 14.1.4

Default folders for 14.2.1

Quit Outlook, then  move your Main Identity folder to the new Office 2011 Identities folder from Microsoft User Data OLD.

Open the Database Utility. Hold Option (alt) key when launching Outlook to to open Database Utility.

Select your Identity as default.

When you open Outlook, your Identity will upgrade.

If you have issues with the upgraded Identity…

1) Rebuild your Identity.  How to

2) Re-index your Spotlight cache files for your Identity, if you have search problems after upgrading.

3) Start over in a new Identity.

Import your .olm file. Under File > Import select to import the .olm file into your new Identity. There is no upgrade process for this option.

  • Your .olm file will show up under an imported folder in the folder list.You’ll need to select the messages in the default folders (Inbox, Drafts, Sent, Deleted Items) and move to the local folders. You can drag any custom folder to it’s correct location. You can delete the imported folder structure after you move all the messages.You’ll also need to move the contacts, events, tasks, notes to their local folders.
  • Add your  Accounts.**
  • Delete the Microsoft User Data OLD folder after you are satisfied with your upgrade.

**POP Accounts

The new Outlook Identity will not know you have downloaded the old messages and will download all again. Before you enter your POP account in Outlook, log into your account with your browser. Move all the older mail out of the Inbox. Outlook only downloads from the Inbox. Leave only those new messages you have not downloaded.

Move your Scripts to Application Support

Open the Application Support folder in your User’s Library. Move any scripts you have added from the Microsoft User Data folder OLD folder to the new  Script Menu Items folders location. If you have not used scripts, you can ignore this step. If you are a Lion user you will need to enable the User’s Library folder. Hold down the Option key and select Go in the Menu bar to view your User’s Library folder.

User’s Library > Application Support > Microsoft folder

If you do not see Script Menu Items folders for Excel, Powerpoint and Word, they will be created when you open each application. You will need to move any scripts to these folders as well.

The Preferences folder contains your Custom Dictionary file. These files were moved from the Preferences folder. Compare the size of the Custom Dictionary file to be sure your Custom file was moved. You can delete the Office 2011 in the old location.

Old location: User’s Library/Preferences Microsoft folder

New location: User’s Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office/Preferences

Failed Upgrade and/or Rebuild?

I will be posting instructions on how to recover your data when rebuilding, restoring and upgrading fails shortly. Don’t panic! There is a way to recover your data.

[Added May 7, 2012] See How to move your data to a new Identity

[Added Nov 20, 2012] See Outlook rebuild results in folders named Recovered. This option works for many types of failed rebuilds not just the recovered folders issue.


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4 comments to Upgrade to Service Pack 2 (SP2) 14.2.1

  • TGB

    Link to list of fixes is now broken.

  • Bill

    After upgrading to 14.2.1, I deleted an IMAP account I had been using as short term solution before switching back to an Exchange account.

    I have successfully deleted the IMAP account, but it has left behind the Inbox with all of my mail from the server. I can’t delete it… it won’t go away. I have rebuilt the database, and it’s still there, and still impossible to delete. I haven’t yet added back my Exchange account… I want to make sure I can delete this. Any idea why the inbox is still there, and why I can’t get rid of it? Thanks!

  • Darin

    Does anyone know if the issue below (per this post) has been resolved in 14.2.2 or a later patch? Thanks.

    “Microsoft is aware of a problem users are reporting with a missing date header in replied or forwarded mails. This problem occurs when using Mac Outlook 14.2 or 14.2.1 with Exchange 2007. Microsoft understands the cause of the issue and is working on a fix.”