Emails are at the center of communication between organization’s representatives. Users that spend most of their workday sending emails and organizing meetings can testify on how important it is to keep a safe copy of your email communications. If your work revolves around Microsoft Outlook, you might want to back up your application files (emails, contacts, calendars, etc,) to a safe location.
If you make periodical back-ups, moving to a new PC or a new Outlook account will be care-free. Even more, having an Outlook backup will eliminate the risk of data loss and will allow you to keep a reliable offline email archive.
Fortunately for its users, backing up Outlook application data has become a lot easier starting with Office 2010. Instead of having tons of folders to worry about, your backup will be stored in a single file. This will allow you to import the PST file with minimal hassle on another computer.
To streamline the process even further, we’ve created a complete guide on backing up all your emails, contacts, calendars, tasks and some application settings. If you’re migrating to a new PC, be sure to check out the second guide on importing Outlook backups.
Note: The guides below are compatible with Outlook 2010, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016.
How to Export an Outlook Backup File
- To back up your files in Outlook 2016, 2013 – access the File menu, then click on Open & Export (from the left-hand menu). Now, click on Import / Export.
Note: In Outlook 2010 – Go to File > Options > Advanced > Export.
- Click on Export a file to highlight it and then click Next.
- Select Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next again.
- On this screen, you’ll have to select which folders and files you wish to back up. Unless you already have a backup in place, it’s good practice to create a complete backup of all your files. To do this, click the email address associated with your account to highlight it and make sure the box next to Include subfolders is checked. Click Next to proceed.
Note: If you’re looking to back up specific data, pick the specific folder and hit Next, but make sure you leave Include subfolders ticked. If you want to apply even more filters to your backup, you can use the Filter button. You can do selective backup based on words, locations or time zones.
- Use the Browse button to set the path where you want your backup to be created. You can also give it a custom name. If you want to avoid duplicates, select Replace duplicates with items exported and hit Finish.
- If you have sensitive information in your backup, it’s best to set a password at this point.
- Depending on how much information you have, it might take more than 5 minutes for the process to complete.
That’s it! You’ve successfully backed up your Outlook data.
How to Import a PST backup file
Keep in mind that backup PST file has the same properties as any other file. This means you can move it freely on your computer or copy it to an external drive an move it to another PC. Another thing to consider is that this PST file is not a live file. This means it will not update with new emails, contacts and calendar information after it was created. Outlook keeps an updated PST file in Documents > Outlook Files. But since it’s stored locally, it can break due to various factors.
Now that you’ve made your Outlook backup, here’s how to import them into a new computer.
Note: The guide below will work on Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2010.
- In the main Outlook window, expand the File tab and choose Open & Export from the menu on the right.
Note: In Outlook 2010, go to File > Open > Import.
- Select Import from another program or file, then click Next.
- Then, select Outlook Data File and click Next.
- In the next window, click the Browse button to navigate to the backup file. Once you load it, you can use the Options menu to prohibit duplicates or replace them with existing items. Hit Next to proceed.
Note: If the backup that you’re importing is newer than the emails you currently have, it’s best to Replace duplicates. If it’s older, use the Do not import duplicates.
- Now you need to specify what folders you need and where do you want to import them. If you want to import the whole backup, select Outlook Data file and hit Finish.
Note: You can also select and import individual folders just like we did in the first guide. Even more, you can choose Import items into the same folder in: and use the drop-down menu to select a custom folder.
That’s it! You’ve successfully imported an Outlook backup.