How to backup your Outlook Data file (To avoid data loss)

By: standss , Apr 17th, 2013

Microsoft Outlook is the most common email client used by thousands of users around the world.

For most users, it is the central place for storing all your emails, appointments/tasks, contact details etc so… how often do you remember to maintain and backup your datafile?

Very few Outlook users know until it is too late that… Outlook does NOT by default save your email, task and calendar data in a folder that you would ever think of backing up.

Unless you are in a corporate network using MS Exchange, all your Outlook data is stored in one Personal Folder file called PST (Personal Storage Table).

  • This file has a .pst extension and is saved somewhere on your computer.
  • This one file probably contains all your Outlook folders, e-mails, contacts, tasks, calendar items, journal entries and notes inside it.
  • (Unfortunately) This file is NOT saved to your Documents folder (at least not by default) so chances are you are not backing it up.

If this file becomes damaged or corrupted, this could hamper the normally operation of Outlook and even cause data loss, therefore it is important that you make regular backups.

So where is this file on your computer?

The exact location depends on the version of Outlook and Windows. To find out where your Outlook data is:

  • Go to your Inbox and make sure that the list of folders is displayed
  • Right-click the top-level folder and select Properties
  • Click the Advanced button. The full path to the data file will be displayed in the box labelled FileName.
  • Just make sure that file is part of your computer backup plan.

If you are using more than one PST (e.g. a separate file for archives), then you need to do the above for each of your Outlook data files.

I hope that this little tip helps keep your Outlook data protected.

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