All your mail, your contacts, your calendars, and almost every other detail of your life is in Outlook. To make sure you don’t lose all this in case of a hard disk crash or some other disaster, you can create backup copies of your Personal Folders (.pst) files — that’s where Outlook stores all the essential data.
- Go to your Outlook folder in Windows Explorer:
- Select File | Data File Management… from the menu in Outlook.
- Highlight your main data file (typically named Personal Folders).
- Click Open Folder…
- Highlight all files ending in “.pst”.
- Make sure in particular your selection includes “outlook.pst” and “archive.pst”.
- If you have Windows Explorer configured not to show file extensions for known formats, look for Microsoft Office Outlook Personal Folders files.
- Select Edit | Copy from the menu to copy the selected files.
- Open the folder where you want to put your backup copies in Windows Explorer.
- Ideally, this will be on another computer, on a removable disk stored far away from your home, somewhere on the Internet, or at least on a different hard disk.
- Select Edit | Paste from the menu to paste your .pst files to the backup location
Restore from Your Outlook Backup
To restore your mail, contacts and other data from a backup copy of an Outlook PST file:
- Select File | Import and Export… from the menu in Outlook.
- Select Import from another program or file.
- Click Next.
- Highlight Personal Folder File (PST).
- Click Next again.
- Now use the Browse button to select the backup copy of the PST file you want to recover from your backup location.
- Make sure Replace duplicates with items imported is selected.
- Click Next.
- Finish the import process with Finish.
Usually, the default import settings work fine, but you may want to tweak them to suit your needs.