Apply an Outlook Profile (PRF) File to configure Outlook profiles

Updated: April 9, 2009

Applies To: Office Resource Kit

This Office product will reach end of support on October 10, 2017. To stay supported, you will need to upgrade. For more information, see , Resources to help you upgrade your Office 2007 servers and clients.


Topic Last Modified: 2016-11-14

You can choose from two main methods if you need to update Microsoft Outlook profile information after you install Microsoft Office Outlook 2007:

  • Update profile information in an Outlook profile file (PRF file), and distribute the file to your users. When Outlook imports the PRF file, user profile settings are updated.

  • Use the Office Customization Tool (OCT) to reconfigure profile settings, save those settings in a configuration maintenance file, and apply that file to your users' installations.

Using a PRF file to update users' profiles might be the best choice if one or more of the following circumstances apply:

  • You saved a PRF file with your users' Outlook profile configurations when you installed Outlook.

  • You are making minor changes to the profiles.

  • You do not want to inadvertently modify other Office settings, which cannot be done by using a PRF file.

  • You want to add a service that cannot be configured by using the OCT.

This topic describes how to update Outlook profiles by using a PRF file.

Using the OCT to update profiles might be the best choice if you are making other changes to Microsoft Office settings at the same time that you want to modify Outlook profile information, or if you are making substantial or complicated changes to Outlook profiles. For more information about updating profiles by using the OCT, see Office Customization Tool in the 2007 Office system.

You can update an existing PRF file by editing it in a simple text editor, such as Notepad. The PRF file contains detailed comments to guide you in making appropriate changes. All of the customizations that are available through pages in the OCT can be made manually by editing the file.

For example, follow these steps to update the Microsoft Exchange server name for a group of users:

  1. In Section 1, in the [General] section, set the value for OverwriteProfile to Append as follows: OverwriteProfile=Append.

  2. In Section 4, in the [Service 1] section, set the value of OverwriteExistingService to Yes as follows: OverwriteExistingService=Yes.

  3. In Section 4, in the [Service 1] section, set a new string value for the HomeServer field. For example: HomeServer=New-Exchange-Server-Name.

After you make changes to the PRF file, you can use the file to update Outlook profiles in several ways. For example, you can provide the file to users by making it available on a network share, or you can distribute the file by using Microsoft Systems Management Server.

In previous versions of Outlook, the PRF file was an executable file. Users could update their profiles by double-clicking the file name. The Outlook PRF file is no longer an executable file.

You can add custom features to users' Outlook profiles by editing the file. For example, if you need to add a new messaging service for your users that is not provided in the OCT, you can make manual changes to the PRF file to add the service.

A fast way to create a PRF file for use in your deployment is to create your preliminary configuration by specifying Outlook options in the OCT and exporting the settings. After you save the file, open it with a text editor and make additional changes. For more information about working with PRF files, see Customize Outlook profiles by using an Outlook Profile (PRF) file.

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