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backup microsoft outlook dataThis is another of those things that one learns from unwanted experience. If you are in the majority who has experienced a system crash, then you will empathize with the hair tearing fits that accompany the loss of saved mails, contacts and sundry email data.

For those whose preferred email client is Microsoft Outlook 2007 on a standalone machine, here are five ways to backup your Microsoft Outlook data, avoid stress and save your data. Please note that the following applies to data files only and not to toolbar settings, signature files and profile entries.

  1. Manually copy your Outlook file

    • The default location for XP is C:/Documents and Settings/%username%/Local Settings/Application Data/Microsoft/Outlook/
    • The default location for Vista is C:/Users/%username%/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Outlook/
  2. Outlook stores all mail information in a single file with an extension “˜.pst‘. A “˜personal storage table’ file stores all account data like mails, contacts, journal, notes and calendar entries.

    The PST file can also be accessed by following File – Data File Management – Select the Data File tab. Select your personal folder(s) and click on Open Folder”¦

    After locating the file backing it up to any secure space like a different drive, a CD-ROM or a USB Drive is a simple process of copy-paste.

    To restore the data, go to File – Open – Outlook Data File ““ Browse to the backup location and select the file. In case of an error, right-click and deselect the Read only attribute in the PST file’s Properties tab.

  3. Relocate your Outlook file

    In the same way we keep our other precious files from harm’s way by saving it in a different partition, we can also change the default location of the Outlook PST file. Here’s a walkthrough”¦

    1. Close Outlook
    2. Locate the PST file through the default path as mentioned before.
    3. Copy it to another partition.
    4. (As a precaution rename the PST file in the old location. For instance, change Outlook.pst to Outlook.old. In case something fails, you can return to the old file.)

    5. Restart Outlook – when the prompt comes up use the browse button to direct Outlook to the new location.
    6. Update any Wizard rules you might have customized with the new path.
  4. Import and Export helps out

    It is a 5-Step process which exports your mail folders to any designated location. Import and Export in Outlook 2007 allows you to export the entire Personal folder or selected folders to another location (or partition).

    1. Click on File – Import and Export”¦
    2. backup microsoft outlook files

    3. Choose Export to a file
    4. 5 Easy Ways To Back Up Your Microsoft Outlook Data 2 export to file

    5. Choose Personal Folder File (.pst)
    6. backup microsoft outlook address book

    7. Select the folder to export from – e.g. Personal Folder. Check Include Subfolders if you want to include all subfolders (like contacts) within the Personal Folder. You can set up a selective backup through a Filter to export specific messages.
    8. 5 Easy Ways To Back Up Your Microsoft Outlook Data 4 personal folder

    9. Choose a safe location to store the exported file. A press of the Finish button ends the job.
    10. 5 Easy Ways To Back Up Your Microsoft Outlook Data 5 location

  5. To restore the data, similarly follow the wizard starting with File – Import and Export”¦- Import from another program or file – Personal Folder File (.pst) – browse to backup location and click finish.

    Note: The Import and Export way is not sacrosanct because it does not backup user set settings (i.e. the folder design properties) like view options, forms, permissions, rules and alerts or auto-archive settings.

  6. The Personal Folders Backup Add-In to the rescue

  7. The earlier steps might send the work-shy among us into a slumber. The help of a Microsoft Outlook Add-in – “˜Personal Folders Backup‘ saves us a few mouse clicks. It simply creates backup copies of the PST files at regular intervals to a designated location.

    With the 159KB download installed, browse to File – Backup. The Options setting in the tool lets you select the frequency of backups, the files to backup and the location to backup to.

    5 Easy Ways To Back Up Your Microsoft Outlook Data add in

    The Personal Folders Backup Add-In is supported by Outlook 2007, 2003 and 2002.

  8. Go for a Third Party software

  9. Here at MakeUseOf, we have covered a lot of ground talking about third party software’s. You can find a post on 5 Ways to Keep Your Emails backed Up 5 Ways to Backup your Email 5 Ways to Backup your Email Read More and one on the Amic Email Backup tool Amic E-Mail Backup - A Good Thing in a Small Package Amic E-Mail Backup - A Good Thing in a Small Package Read More .

Third party software is warranted in situations where you have to deal with multiple clients. In my humble opinion, if you are only looking to backup Microsoft Outlook data, the above enumerated solutions can be effective safety nets.

Have you backed up your Microsoft Outlook 2007 emails yet? Do you think taking these proactive steps now will save you some heartburn later? Let us know”¦

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