I’ve now published several articles where I discuss the importance of backing up the data on your computer (See Backing up your files – a vital step to securing your data); and part of that process should also include backing up email content used in Outlook.
Whether you use Microsoft Outlook for personal use or access it for work, your email often contains important correspondence, photos and information that should be backed up and kept safe. I know personally if I lost my email content I would be devastated.
When performing a backup on your computer you should always ensure that the Data file (or PST File as it is also referred to as) used as part of your Outlook profile is included in that process, however, if it is not or you want to backup just your email file then let’s take a look at the process.
To back up your Data file, follow these steps:
- Open Microsoft Outlook
- Click the File tab and choose Account Settings > Account Settings
- From the Account Settings dialog box, click the Data Files tab
- You will now see a list of the Data Files (or PST files) being used as part of your Outlook profile
- The file marked with the tick icon will identify the default Data File where any new email is being delivered
- In the Location column, note the file path on a piece of paper for each of the files being used within your email profile
- Often you will find that Outlook has created the file in an obscure location. The default path for Windows 7 is C:\Users\YourName\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook so ensure you note the entire file path
- Now you will need to open Windows Explorer, press Windows Key + E on the keyboard
- Navigate to the file location as noted above and locate the file which should have a .pst file extension
- If you cannot find a folder which is referenced in the file path, it may be a hidden system folder. To adjust your Windows settings to view hidden system files: from within Windows Explorer, click Organize > Folder and search options
Tip: If you cannot see the file extension for any of the files on your computer, you can change this setting through the Folder and search options dialog box by removing the tick from the option for Hide extensions for known file types
- Select the View tab and select the button for Show hidden files, folders, and drives
- Click OK
Add your Data File to your backup routine
Now that you have identified where your email file(s) is located on your computer, you have two options to back up:
- Add the file path of your Data File (PST) to your normal backup routine so that the file is included in future backup schedules
- Close Outlook and copy the .PST file from the location specified into a folder which is already included in your regular backup schedule
Backing up your PST file is easy once you are able to identify the file path and location. If you require assistance on how to backup your computer, check out my blog post. If you have any questions or require additional information do not hesitate to contact me.