Backing up your mail and contacts in Outlook

MS Outlook IconDoing regular backups on your PC is an important way of keeping your data in case of that unfortunate event when either your PC fails or windows decides not to load. Thankfully alot of programs include back up routines in the software and Microsoft Outlook is one of them.

The backup tool will back up all your emails and contacts, diary entries and any other info you have put into Outlook in case of disaster. To begin with make sure you have checked for any mail that needs sending by using the send and receive function.

The following images (click to enlarge) show the settings I use but you can choose others if required, they are just what I find easiest and simple to do a reinstall for me.

Outlook Import export menuFrom the File menu select the option that says Import and Export. This will open a new menu allowing you to pick an option of what you wish to do. We are looking to export so there are a couple of options we can select, I choose Export to a File simply because its the easiest and quickest option available in my opinion. The below images are an outline of which options to select, the second image shows the file type I save the backup as but you can select any that you are comfortable with or have knowledge of.

Outlook export to file Export as a .pst file

A .pst (Personal Storage Table) file is used by Microsoft to store all the data in Outlook from within the Mail, Contacts, Tasks and Calendar tabs. This file can grow in size, when backing up mine it currently stands at nearly 800MB so make sure you have plenty of space if your Outlook program contains alot of data.

The last two images below are in relation to selecting what you want to backup and  where you want to store the file. If you are wanting to safeguard all the emails in Outlook make sure you click the check box that says Include sub-folders. This will then include all the folders you have created inside other main folders. After clicking Next you will be presented with the screen of where you want to save the file to and a name for it, use the browse button to find a safe folder, I would recommend creating a new folder or backing up to an external or second hard drive. The selection options are pretty self explanatory but I always select the first option of Replace duplicates when items exported.

Once you are happy with your selections click finish and it will begin the export process, depending on the amount of information it may take a couple of minutes.

Outlook - selecting subfoldersOutlook final options

One item to note this process does not back up your Internet mail settings ie POP account details.

How to restore a backup is similar but will be shown in a post later in the week.

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