Tip #3 of 8: Find out where your Outlook data file is and backup regularly

By: standss , Jun 13th, 2014

As promised, here I’m with Tip #3 which I personally feel is the most important as it deals with keeping your Outlook data safe from data loss. I don’t even want to imagine the consequences of losing all my emails, contacts, appointments etc for even a day.

Before we get into that, I hope you have had the chance to read the earlier 2 tips, if not here is the link:
Tips 1 & 2 of 8 Simple Tips for Email Management


How can you be sure that your Outlook data is being backed up if you don’t know where it is?

I am frequently surprised with the number of users who have no idea where their Outlook data is actually saved on their computers.

Unless you are part of a corporate network using MS Exchange, all your Outlook data is stored in one Personal Folders file. This file has a .pst extension and is saved somewhere on your computer. This one file contains all your Outlook folders, e-mails, contacts, tasks, calendar items, journal entries and notes inside it.

So where is this file on your computer?

The exact location depends on the version of Outlook and Windows you are using but unfortunately it is almost never saved in a place you will remember to backup.

To find out where your Outlook data is:

1. Go to your Inbox and make sure that the list of folders is displayed

2. Right-click the top-level folder and select Properties

3. Click the Advanced button. The filename will be displayed in the box labeled FileName.

You need to make sure that you regularly backup this file to a CD, DVD or external hard-disk.

Please make sure that you are backing up your outlook data regularly.

What’s Next?

Did you know that Outlook is configured (by default) to eventually corrupt itself and lose some and maybe even all your e-mails?

Scary right… but not to worry, in the next tip, I will show you a technique that will stop your e-mail file from getting bloated, slow and eventually corrupting itself and dying.

Till next time… have a better Outlook.

Time to join the conversation – what do you think?

I hope that you found the tips so far useful in our quest for a better email management system.

Let us know what you think by leaving a comment below. Feel free to share your own experience and the filing system that you use to keep your inbox clean and organized with our readers.

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3 Replies to “Tip #3 of 8: Find out where your Outlook data file is and backup regularly”

  1. Tip #3 – doesn’t give specific details on how to actually back up the file. It’s important for those of us who are not at all tech savvy’ to have that level of detail explained.

  2. @Carol, the easiest and safest way to back the files is to copy the files onto a external hard drive. In the unforeseen event that your computer crashes, you will always have this backup file to load back onto your new machine and not loss all your data. Hope this helps

  3. Following these instructions takes me to an .ost file, as opposed to a .pst file.

    Is this the same thing?

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