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How to backup Microsoft Outlook .pst files

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How to backup Microsoft Outlook .pst files


  • Locating and backup the pst-file

Before you can make a backup you’ll need to know what to backup first. In the case of Outlook in a home environment, all data is stored in a single file with a pst-extension. The pst-file is also known as Personal Folders and is able to store several mail, contacts, journal, notes and calendar folders. More about pst-files can be found here.

You can locate your pst-file by using one of the following methods;

* Make sure you include hidden and system files and folders when searching for a pst-file

** For Windows 2000 and Windows XP see the following link

** For Windows Vista and Windows 7 see the following link

* By default it is located in;

For Windows 2000 and Windows XP the default is;
C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\

For Windows Vista and Windows 7 the default is;


* You can also locate the file by using;
Right click the root folder (probably Outlook Today)-> Properties-> button Advanced


-> field Filename


* If you have multiple pst-files you can get an overview via;
File-> Data File Management…



  • Restore pst-file

A backup is worthless if you can’t restore it. So we first test the back-up. Testing the backup when knowing that the original still works is a lot less stressful then as well.

To restore your pst-file, copy the file to the location where you want to work with it like; D:\My Documents\My Outlook\Temp.
If you restored from CD/DVD, make sure you uncheck the "Read Only" file attribute by right clicking the file and choosing Properties. Now open Outlook and connect to the file by choosing; File-> Open-> Outlook Data File…
You can now check if the backup was successful and make sure you backed up the correct file.