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How to Backup and Restore Emails in Microsoft Outlook



Microsoft Outlook logo

Modern email systems keep your email in the cloud so you can access it from anywhere, even if they have storage limits. Here’s how to backup and restore your Microsoft Outlook emails if you ever need those messages again.

How to Backup in Microsoft Outlook

Making a backup in Microsoft Outlook is very easy. Backups are stored in Personal Storage Table (PST) files, which can be opened directly in Outlook. Here̵

7;s how to make one.

RELATED: What is the difference between Outlook PST and OST files?

Open Microsoft Outlook on your computer, click “File” in the ribbon and select Open & Export> Import / Export.

Outlook's

Click on “Export to a file” and then select the “Next” button.

Outlook's

In the next window, highlight “Outlook Data File” and click “Next” to continue.

The file types you can export to.

You can select an individual folder, such as ‘Archive’, but if you want to backup all your emails, click on the name of your mailbox, make sure ‘Include subfolders’ is checked and click then click ‘Next’.

The folder choices for the data export.

By default, your file is named “backup.pst” and saved in the Windows default Microsoft Outlook folder, but you can change the location and file name.

If you save the file with the same name as another PST file in that location, the emails will be saved in the same file. This is what the “Options” section is for; choose whether to replace duplicate emails, create duplicate emails, or not export duplicate emails at all. When you are done, click on ‘Finish’.

The export options for the file being exported to.

Outlook creates a PST file in the location you specified. Metadata such as folder properties (views, permissions, and settings for AutoArchive), message rules, and blocked senders lists are not exported.

The exported .pst file in Windows Explorer.

Use the backup function as an external backup, to free up space in your IMAP account, or to move emails to another account or Microsoft Outlook on another device.

RELATED: Export an Outlook calendar as a CSV file

Restore a backup in Microsoft Outlook

Now that you have a PST file, you should be able to import the data in it back into Microsoft Outlook, which is as easy as exporting the file.

Open the Outlook application on your computer, click “File”, then select Open & Export> Import / Export.

Outlook's

Then select ‘Import from another program or file’ and click ‘Next’.

Outlook's

Highlight the “Outlook Data File” option and then select “Next”.

The file types you can choose from to import.

Choose the PST file you want to import and choose whether to replace duplicate emails, create duplicate emails, or not import duplicate emails at all. When you are done, click on ‘Next’.

The import options for the file being imported from.

Select the folder you want to import – or the entire mailbox, if that’s what you exported – and choose whether to import the files into the current folder you are in or into folders with the same name as you exported.

If you’re restoring from a backup or moving your emails to a new device, you’ll want to “import items into the same folder” and choose the email account to import them into. This will create the same folder structure that you exported to the PST. When you are done, click on ‘Finish’.

The Outlook location where the files will be imported.

Your emails are now imported into Microsoft Outlook. If you import emails from another account and you are using IMAP or MAPI, the imported messages will be synchronized with the email server and you can access them from other devices. Depending on the number of emails, it may take some time to complete the sync.

Keep in mind that metadata such as folder properties (views, permissions and AutoArchive settings), message rules and blocked senders lists are not exported to the PST, so they will not be imported and you will have to recreate them.




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