This article describes how to back up data created in Outlook including e-
mail messages, contacts, appointments, tasks, notes, and journal entries.
Outlook stores its data in Messaging Application Programming Interface
(MAPI) folders. MAPI folders can be stored in a file on your hard drive
called a Personal Folder file, or if you are using Outlook with Exchange
Server, the data can be stored in a mailbox on the server.
This article covers the following topics:
- Making a backup copy of a Personal Folder file
- Exporting Personal Folder data
- Importing Personal Folder Data
- How To Back Up Data Using Outlook with Microsoft Exchange Server
- Backing Up Personal Address Books
- Backing Up Outlook Settings Files
Backing up data created in Outlook allows you to restore the data if it is ever lost or damaged due to a hardware failure or other unexpected event. It also allows you to move or transfer the data to a different hard disk on the same computer or a different one by backing up the data from the original hard disk, and then restoring it to the new hard disk.
Making a Backup Copy of a Personal Folder File (.PST file)
If you are not using Outlook with Microsoft Exchange Server, Outlook will
store all of its data in a Personal Folder file. If you want to back up or
export a particular folder such as Contacts or Calendar, use the steps in
the section: Importing/Exporting Personal Folder Data.
Use the following steps to back up the entire Personal Folder file:
- Close any mail-related programs such as Outlook, Microsoft Exchange,
or Windows Messaging.
- Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Control
- Double-click the Mail and Fax icon. If you do not have Microsoft Fax
installed, you will see a Mail icon.
- Click the Personal Folders service you want to back up. By default
this service is called "Personal Folders", however, it may have been
named something else. If the service has been named something else,
you can determine what a service is by selecting the service from the
list of services and clicking Properties. On the dialog box that
appears, the title bar will say "Personal Folders" if the service is a
Personal Folders service. After reading the title bar, click Cancel.
Use this method to check the type of any service you are unfamiliar
You may have more than one Personal Folders service in your profile
and if so, each set of personal folders must be backed up separately.
If there are no Personal Folders services in your profile and you have
been able to store information such as e-mail, contacts, or
appointments in Outlook, then your information is most likely being
stored in a mailbox on a Microsoft Exchange Server. If this is the
case, see the section titled, Backing Up Data When Using Outlook with
Microsoft Exchange Server.
If there are no personal folders in the list of services and you are
not storing information in a Microsoft Exchange Server mailbox,
Outlook can only be used for browsing files and the features in
Outlook that store data can not be used. If this is the case, there
is no data to back up.
- Click Properties and make a note of the path and file name listed in on
the Properties dialog box.
NOTE: You can possibly reduce the size of a Personal Folder file by
clicking Compact Now. This is especially useful if you plan to back up
the Personal Folder file to a floppy disk.
- Click OK, then click OK again to close the Properties dialog box.
- Make a copy of the file you noted in step 5 using the Windows 95
Explorer or the My Computer icon. For more information on copying
files in Windows 95, click the Start button, then click Help. On the
Index tab, type "copying, files" to view the related topics.
If you ever need to restore a Personal Folder file, simply copy the backup
copy of the file you created with the above steps to the same folder and
name you noted in step 5.
Exporting Personal Folder Data
Use the following steps to export an individual folder such as Contacts
or Calendar to its own personal folder file:
- On the File menu, Click Import and Export.
- Click "Export to a personal folder file", then click Next.
- Click the folder you want to export and click Next.
- In "Save exported file as", type the name of the file to
which the data will be exported.
- Click Finish.
Importing Personal Folder Data
Use the following steps to import a personal folder file into Outlook:
- On the File menu, Click Import and Export.
- Click "Import from a personal folder file", then click Next.
- Type the path and name of the personal folder file you want to import,
then click Next.
- Click the folder into which the data will be imported.
- Click Finish.
Backing Up Data Using Outlook with Microsoft Exchange Server
If Outlook is being used with Microsoft Exchange Server you can choose to
have Outlook store information on the Microsoft Exchange Server or in a
set of Personal Folders on your hard drive. Use the following steps to
determine where Outlook currently stores its data:
- In Outlook, on the Tools menu, click Services.
- Click the Delivery Tab.
- Examine the "Deliver new mail to the following location" field.
If the field contains the word "Mailbox" followed by an e-mail name,
Outlook will store new e-mail, contacts, appointments, and such, in a
set of folders on the Exchange Server. If the field contains the words
"Personal Folder" or another name of a set of personal folders, Outlook
will store new e-mail, contacts, appointments, and such in the
personal folders on your hard drive.
When Outlook information is stored on a Microsoft Exchange Server, it is
typically backed up at the server. For more information on backing up or
restoring information stored on an Microsoft Exchange Server, see your
Microsoft Exchange Server Administrator. If your information is being
stored in a set of Personal Folders on your hard drive and you want to
back up the data, see the section above titled Making a Back Up Copy of a
Personal Folder File.
Backing Up Personal Address Books
Although Contacts information may be kept either in a Microsoft Exchange
Server mailbox or Personal Folder and accessed via the Outlook Address
Book, the Personal Address Book creates a file that is stored on the
workstation hard drive. In order to assure that this address book is backed
up, you must include any files with the .pab extension in your backup
To locate your personal Address Book file, follow these steps:
- Click Start, point to Find, and then click Files Or Folders.
- Type "*.pab" (without the quotation marks), and click to select My
Computer in the Look In list. Click Find Now, to start the search.
- Note the location of the .pab file and include it in your backup.
If you need to restore this address book either to the same computer or a
different computer, simply add the Personal Address Book service to the
profile and point to the .pab file.
Backing Up Outlook Settings Files
If you have customized settings which you want to replicate on another computer using Outlook, you may wish to include the following files in your back as well as the Personal Folders file:
- <Profile Name>.fav - This is your Favorites file that includes the settings for the Outlook bar.
NOTE: When attempting to use the Favorite file from a backup of the Outlook configuration, the profile created on the new machine must be identical in all respects to the originating profile, otherwise the Favorites file will be invalid and a new generated.
For additional information about replicatng the Outlook Bar, please click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
OL2000: Cannot Replicate the Outlook Bar
- <Profile Name>.rtf - This file stores the Rich Text Format Autosignature.NOTE: If you use Word as your e-mail editor, signatures are stored in the Normal.dot as Autotext entries. This file should be backed up as well.
Custom views are integrated to the folders on which they were created. If you export items from one Personal Folder to another, the views are not maintained.
For additional information about the Personal Address Book, profiles and
information services, please click the article number below
to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
OL97: User Profiles and Information Services
OL97: How to Copy the Personal Address Book to Another Computer
Article ID: 168644 - Last Review: January 19, 2007 - Revision: 1.1
- Microsoft Outlook 97 Standard Edition
|kbexport kbfaq kbhowto kbimport kbinterop kbmigrate KB168644|Retired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.