How safe are your emails from a computer crash?

By: standss , Jul 11th, 2016

Do you know where your emails are saved? Are you sure they’re being backed up? You may be surprised to find out that your emails are not where you expect them to be.

In this post, I’ll show you how you can find out where your Outlook data is stored so that you can ensure that they are actually part of your backup plan.

How does Outlook save emails on your computer?

Outlook does NOT save each email as a separate file. Instead it saves all the emails into one PST file (or if you’re using Exchange or Office 365… one OST file).

That’s right.

All your emails are in one file. If you lose that one file, you lose all your emails!

  1. That’s not strictly true because you can have multiple files e.g. one for old emails and one for current emails, but the general idea still applies. Your emails are stored in a few files and if you lose one file, you will lose hundreds or even thousands of emails.

It is important that you know where these files so that you can back them up regularly.

Where are Outlook’s data files stored?

Depending on the version of Outlook you are using (and whether you are using POP3, IMAP, Exchange or Office 365), Outlook will save your data in either Documents folder or the hidden appdata folder.

Luckily it is easy to find where.

In Outlook 2010 or later, click the File tab, then click Info in the left pane. Select Account Settings and then Account Settings again. Then click the Data Files tab.

In Outlook 2007 and older versions, click ToolsOptions on the command bar. Then click the Data Files tab.

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All your data files will be listed as shown in the diagram.

Make sure that you back them up regularly and your emails will be safe.

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