Backup Outlook emails and settings

This article provides information on how to back-up Microsoft Outlook automatically or manually. If you are actively using Outlook and rely on it for most of your communications, schedules and contact management, then you realize how important it is to have all that data stored safely.

On this page: How to back-up Outlook automatically How to back-up Outlook manually Backup limitations for locked or open files

This article contains comprehensive information about backing up Outlooks, however if you prefer video instructions over written articles click the Video Tutorials button below to see how you can back-up Outlook automatically:

Video Tutorials

Just imagine what would happen if all of a sudden your system would crash and you would lose all your Outlook information. The safest way to protect your data is to create regular backups of your Microsoft Outlook data (emails, calendar entries, contacts, etc.) and keep these on removable media such as external drives, Blu-ray/DVDs or FTP/SFTP remote locations.

Details:


Almost all of the data for Outlook is stored in .pst files, which means that by backing it up you protect the following information: Emails (in all folders, including archived items), Calendar entries, Contacts, Tasks and Notes. In order to have a complete backup of Outlook data, it is not enough to back up only the .pst files, but the following items too:

  • Personal Address Book
  • Offline Address Book (2010)
  • Rules
  • Signatures
  • Stationery and Templates
  • Menu or toolbar customizations
  • Nicknames
  • Navigation Pane settings (this file includes Shortcuts, Calendar, and Contact links).
  • Dictionary
  • Send/Receive settings
  • Print styles
  • Custom forms
  • Registered Microsoft Exchange extensions

How to configure an automatic backup for Outlook (2013, 2010, 2007, 2003)

Backup4all is a backup program that lets you back-up Outlook automatically. Basically you just have to define a backup job where you define various settings (such as where to keep the back-up, when to run the back-up, what type of backup to use) and that's it, your Outlook will be backed up regularily (if you choose to schedule it).
Here are the steps to follow to create a new backup job that will back-up Microsoft Outlook data:

  1. Download and install Backup4all here (if you don't have it already installed): Backup4all download
  2. Open Backup4all and select File->New Backup (Ctrl+N).
  3. On the first page enter a name for the backup in the Backup Name field. Select a backup destination where you want to save your backup and press Next.
  4. On What do you want to backup select Microsoft Outlook and press Next.
  5. Select the backup type and decide if you want the backup to be password-protected or not. Click Next.
  6. Select how often you want the back-up to run and press Save. The new backup job will appear in the backup list.
  7. Press Backup (F6) to start backing up Microsoft Outlook or leave it run when the scheduled date you've set previously will be reached.

Outlook data is stored in “.pst” files. For each mail folder defined in Outlook a .pst file is assigned. These files get quite large if you exchange lot of emails, thus when a small change occurs in a file (e.g. a new email has been received), the entire .pst will be marked as “modified”. When running the backup, the whole file will be backed up as you cannot backup only the changes inside the .pst file. That's why it is recommended to do a full or mirror backup (and not differential or incremental). Also, it is recommended to limit the number of backups in order to save disk space.

The video below shows how easy it is to Backup Outlook 2010 automatically:

If you are using Outlook 2007, the video below explains how to create the backup:

For Outlook 2003, watch the tutorial below:

How to manually back-up Microsoft Outlook

The easiest way to back-up outlook is using a tool that automates the process as described in the previous section. However, if you want you can also back-up Outlook manually by copying the files/folders to a specific destination. This has the disadvantage that it takes quite some time to find all the files, not to mention that in order to restore these you would have to follow these steps again. Below you can see the locations for the files/folders that need to be backed-up for different versions of Outlook.

Outlook 2013

The path for each file/folder that needs to be backed up is mentioned below:

  • Emails, calendars, contacts, tasks, and notes (.pst)

- Windows 8
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
or
drive:\Users\<username>\Roaming\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
- Windows 7 / Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\Documents\Outlook Files
- Windows XP
drive:\Users\<username>\My Documents\Outlook Files

  • Offline or cached Outlook items (.ost)

- Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

  • Personal Address Book (.pab)   

- Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings

  • Offline Address Book (.oab) 

- Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

  • Navigation Pane settings (.xml)

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Outlook\profile name.xml
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\profile name.xml

  • Registered Microsoft Exchange extensions (.dat)

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

  • Print styles (Outlprnt with no extension)

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

  • Signatures (.rtf, .txt, .htm)

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures

  • Stationery (.htm)

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery
- Windows 8 (64-bit)/ Windows 7 (64-bit)/ Windows Vista (64-bit), with Outlook 2013 32-bit
drive:\Program Files (x86)\Common Files\ Microsoft Shared\Stationery
- Windows XP
drive:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Stationery

  • Custom forms

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Forms
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Forms

  • Dictionary (.dic)

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\UProof

  • Templates (.oft)

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates

  • Send/Receive settings (.srs)

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

  • Message (.msg, .htm, .rtf)

- Windows 8/ Windows 7/ Windows Vista
drive:\Users\<username>\Documents
- Windows XP
drive:\Documents and Settings\user\My Documents

Outlook 2010

The path for each file/folder that needs to be backed up is mentioned below (italicized, the path contains environment variables so you can simply copy it with the %% characters in Windows Explorer as it will be recognized):

  • Personal Folders file (.pst)
    %userprofile%\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Outlook Data file (.ost)
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Personal Address Book (.pab)
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Offline Address Book (.oab)
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Navigation Panel settings (.xml)
    %appdata%\Outlook\profile name.xml
  • Registered Microsoft Exchange extensions (.dat)
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Rules (.rwz)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Print styles (Outlprnt with no extension)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Signatures (.rtf, .txt, .htm)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Signatures
  • Stationery (.htm)
    %commonprogramfiles%\Microsoft Shared\Stationery
  • Custom forms
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Forms
  • Dictionary (.dic)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\UProof
  • Templates (.oft)
    %appdata%\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates
  • Send/Receive settings (.srs)
    %appdata%\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Message (.msg, .htm, .rtf)
    %userprofile%\Documents

Outlook 2007

The path for each file/folder that needs to be backed up is mentioned below:

  • Personal Folders file (.pst)
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Personal Address Book (.pab)
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Command bar and menu customizations (.dat)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook\outcmd.dat
  • Navigation Pane settings (.xml)
    %appdata%\Outlook\profile name.xml
  • Registered Microsoft Exchange extensions (.dat)
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Outlook Contacts nicknames (.nk2)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Rules (.rwz)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Print styles (Outlprnt with no extension)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Signatures (.rtf, .txt, .htm)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Signatures
  • Stationery (.htm)
    %commonprogramfiles%\Microsoft Shared\Stationery
  • Custom forms
    %userprofile%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Forms
  • Dictionary (.dic)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\UProof
  • Templates (.oft)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates
  • Send/Receive settings (.srs)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Message (.msg, .htm, .rtf)
    %userprofile%\Documents

Outlook 2003

The path for each file/folder that needs to be backed up is mentioned below:

  • Outlook data files (.pst)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Personal Address Book (.pab)
    %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Command bar and menu customizations (.dat)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Navigation Pane settings (.xml)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook\Outlook.xml
  • Registered Microsoft Exchange extensions (.dat)
    %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Outlook contacts nicknames (.nk2)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Rules (.rwz)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Print styles (Outlprnt with no extension)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Signatures (.rtf, .txt, .htm)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Signatures
  • Stationary (.htm)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Stationary
  • Custom forms
    %userprofile%\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Forms
  • Dictionary (.dic)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Proof
  • Templates (.oft)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates
  • Send/Receive settings (.srs)
    %appdata%\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Message (.msg, .htm, .rtf)
    %userprofile%\My Documents

Backup limitations for locked or open files

The backup and restore for Outlook works only if you use the same version of Windows and the same version of Outlook on both the backup and restore computers.

Backup4all uses the Volume Shadow Copy service that allows you to back up local open files from NTFS partitions under Windows 7/Vista/XP/2008/2003. Therefore you can back up Outlook without closing it if certain requirements are met:

  • computer is running Windows 7, Windows 2008 Server, Windows Vista, Windows XP and Windows 2003
  • Microsoft Outlook data is not being backed up via the network
  • Microsoft Outlook data is located on a NTFS formatted partition
  • the VSS (Volume Shadow Service) is running and is properly configured

If any of the requirements above is not met, Outlook will need to be closed before backing up the data (otherwise files that are in use will be skipped).

Applies to:

  • Backup4all 3 or above
  • Outlook 2003
  • Outlook 2007
  • Outlook 2010
  • Windows XP
  • Windows Server 2003
  • Windows Vista
  • Windows 7

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