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A030901: Upgrading from Previous Versions of Outlook

Outlook 2003 is the preferred client for Exchange Server 2003; it provides a wealth of features over previous versions. This article explores how to upgrade from a previous version of Outlook to Outlook 2003 and looks at some of the issues surrounding the upgrade process.

To start, you can perform an in-place upgrade on all previous versions of Outlook, including the following:

The in-place upgrade method is the easiest way to deploy Outlook 2003. It automatically migrates the user's settings and profile to the new Outlook version.

Internet-Only Setup - If you have previously used Outlook for Internet Mail only (that is, not connecting to an Exchange server), you might need to do some additional setup after Outlook 2003 is installed so that you can configure Outlook with your Exchange server settings.

However, before you put that Office 2003 CD in the drive and start the upgrade, make sure that you check the minimum system requirements for Outlook 2003. You need to have a computer that is at least a 233MHz Pentium (or equivalent) with Windows 2000 Service Pack 3 or later, and at least 150MB of hard drive space (although it will be more like 300MB with common installation options selected).

Another point to remember is that the requirements for Outlook 2003 state you will need at least 128MB of RAM; however, you will get much better performance out of 256MB. Although Outlook 2003 does feature an "offline" mode that can help with a slow connection, there is little hope for a slow computer. (Also, keep in mind that these requirements do not include the requirements for any of the other Office 2003 applications.)

If you are ready to upgrade your Outlook clients, but you are not ready to roll out the entire Office 2003 suite of products, you can install Outlook 2003 independently, upgrading your previous version of Outlook and then installing the rest of the Office 2003 suite when required.

Although this method enables your users to immediately get the benefits of using Outlook 2003 as a mail client for Exchange Server 2003, you must customize the installation when you install the full version of Office 2003 to ensure that your Outlook settings are kept.

Deployment Tools - You can find several deployment tools in the Office 2003 Resource Kit to assist with the deployment process. Look for the kit at http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork/2003/.

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