How to Transfer Old Office to a New Computer

By J.E. Myers

Starting afresh with a brand new computer can be exciting. But customizing your new computer so it reflects your needs can also be a somewhat daunting task. Migrating Microsoft Office software from your old computer to the new machine can be tricky especially if a newer version of MS Office is already on your new machine. But with some preparation it is possible to successfully install both versions of Office and transfer all your valuable Office files, including Outlook email data.

Things You'll Need

  • Microsoft Office setup disc(s)
  • Microsoft Office COA keycode(s)
  • USB flash drive
  • Internet access

Step 1

Locate an MS Office setup disc for your old version of Office. If you have misplaced your disc, use a friend's setup disc. You can also contact Microsoft to acquire a replacement disc for a nominal charge, but you must be able to provide Microsoft with your original Certificate of Authenticity (COA) "keycode." If you don't have a keycode, download KeyFinder (see Resources) to your old computer and recover the COA code. You'll need this keycode in Step 3.

Step 2

Remove any newer version of Office from your new computer; if you want to run two different versions of Office, such as Office 2000 and Office 2007, you must install the older version first. Go to Start/Control Panel/Add Remove Programs and uninstall any newer version of Office on the new machine. Reboot your computer when removal is complete.

Step 3

Install the older version of Office on your new machine. Place the setup disc in the CD tray. Run the installation program, register and activate the software, and then reboot.

Step 4

Rename any desktop shortcuts found on your new computer that belong to the old version of Office. The newer version of Office you're about to install will overwrite these older shortcuts unless you rename them. Right-click on the shortcut icon for the old versions of Word, Excel and other Office applications. Select "Rename" and give the shortcut a descriptor such as "Old Word" or "Excel 2000."

Step 5

Reinstall the newer version of Office on the new computer using a setup disc for this version. Reboot.

Step 6

Transfer your old Office documents to the new machine using a USB flash drive. Deposit these files into your My Documents folder. But do not attempt to merely copy old Outlook data files in this manner: Outlook data files, called "pst" files, require special handling, according to Microsoft.

Step 7

Go to the Microsoft Office website (See Resources) and follow the instructions for moving your old Outlook data files and setting up your new copy of Outlook on your new machine.

Tips & Warnings

  • You might have various reasons for running an older version of a Microsoft Office alongside a newer version, but doing so can be tricky. Expect to do a little troubleshooting in the process. Consult Microsoft Help and Support for troubleshooting tips.
  • Back up your old Office files before attempting this data migration. Use an external backup device or a USB flash drive to copy and safeguard all your old work. This is especially important for Outlook pst files.