Introduction to profiles

A profile contains configuration information for email accounts, data files, and information about where your email items are saved. When Microsoft Outlook 2010 runs for the first time, a profile is created automatically and is named Outlook. As you add or change email accounts, or include an additional Outlook Data Files (.pst), the profile is updated.

Outlook 2010 profiles are stored in the Windows registry and contain the following information:

  • What account information to use     This information includes the user name, display name, email server name, and Internet service provider (ISP) account password.

  • Where the email data is delivered and saved     In Outlook, data is delivered and saved either on the email server or in an Outlook Data File (.pst) file on your computer. Some accounts, such as Microsoft Exchange Server accounts might use an offline Outlook Data File (.ost).This data includes rules, messages, contacts, calendars, notes, tasks, journals, Search Folders, and other settings.

Most people need only a single profile. Beginning with Outlook 2010, multiple Exchange Server accounts can be included in one profile. Also, Outlook 2010 makes it easier to use a unique Outlook Data File (.pst) for each email account. If you previously used multiple profiles to keep accounts isolated — such as work and home accounts, you might want to consider using a single profile.

Profiles aren’t intended, nor offer, security for preventing people from accessing your Outlook information. If you share your computer together with another person, we recommend that you create a Windows user account that uses a password for each person. Each person who then uses Outlook will have a unique profile.

Use profiles with Outlook

See Create a profile if you’ve just installed Outlook for the first time on your computer and want to get started, or you want to add additional profiles — for other users or for personal (non-Exchange) mail accounts.

Want to be prompted to choose a profile when you start Outlook? Or set a default? See Turn on or off profile prompt. Or, if you want to change information for an existing profile, or remove a profile entirely, see Edit a profile and Remove a profile.

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