Staying Safe: How To Backup Outlook Email Data

Your Outlook data file, also called a PST file, contains all of the data that is created and received in Outlook such as emails, contacts, notes, your to-do list, calendars and other Outlook data.

If you rely on email for your day to day work, keeping your Outlook data backed up frequently could save you hours of frustration and potentially lost data.

Over time, your email data file grows and shrinks as you receive and delete email. While not extremely common, the data file is prone to corruption – which is the most common way Outlook users can lose data.

To prevent corruption and possible data loss, always keep in mind:

Close Outlook properly – shutting down your email without going through the “File, exit” dialogue can cause file corruption.

Watch your file size – A PST file that exceeds 3gb can be problematic. Although Microsoft says newer versions of Outlook (2003 and newer) will support PST files up to 20gb, in our experience, Outlook operates best if you keep the file below 3gb.

How to backup Outlook data file in Windows Vista and Windows 7 manually

1. Open “My Computer” and browse to your C:/drive.

2. Click on tools. Once the drop down menu is displayed, choose Folder Options. If the tools menu is hidden press alt on your keyboard to display it.

3. In Folder Options, click on the view tab.

4. In the middle of the window there will be a list. Under Hidden Files and Folders, check show hidden files and click ok.

5. On your C:/drive browse to the users folder, and select the user account you are using.

6. Select App Data, then Local.

7. Scroll down to the Microsoft Folder and open.

8. Select your Outlook data file. It is usually named Outlook.pst. Right click the file and select copy.

9. Open the destination of your choice, such a flash drive, or a different folder on your hard drive.

10. Right click and select paste.

11. You have successfully created a backup of your Outlook Data File.

To manually back up your Outlook data file in Windows 2000/Windows XP follow the directions listed below.

1. Open Computer and browse to your C:/drive.

2. Click on tools once the drop down menu is displayed click Folder Options.

3. In Folder Options click on the view tab.

4. In the middle of the window there will be a list.

5. Under Hidden Files and Folders check show hidden files, click ok.

6. On your C:/drive browse to Documents and Settings and select the user account that you use.

7. Select Local Settings then Application Data, and then scroll down to the Microsoft folder and open it.

8. Select your Outlook data file. It is usually named Outlook.pst. Right click the file and select copy.

9. Open the destination of your choice, such a flash drive, or a different folder on your hard drive. Then, right click and paste.

We recommend backing up your Outlook PST file at least once a week for normal users, and if you’re an email power user, daily backups make sense.