One of the most important programs that most computer users use is their email client, and having a load of your precious emails accidentally deleted (or laptop/ PC stolen) can be a nightmare. So for this tutorial I will walk you through the simple steps of how to back-up your .pst files (emails)
I am using Windows 7 and Outlook 2007 in this example, but it is pretty similar for XP and Vista and other Outlook client’s.
I previously wrote a tutorial that deals with backing up your other important data here using the free to use GFI Backup Home Edition which will be of use to you should you wish to do a full back up for all your important files, including your Outlook emails. However, for this tutorial we are going to cover how to back up your Outlook .pst files only.
First you will need to enable viewing of hidden files and folders by navigating to your Folder Options folder. You can get here by either opening up your command prompt (Windows Key + R) and typing ‘control folders’, (without the quotes) then under ‘View’ check the ‘Show hidden files, folders and drives’ and click OK. The other way to get there is Start>Control Panel (select small icons in Windows 7 or Classic view in XP) > Folder Options; then under ‘View’ check the ‘Show hidden files, folders and drives’ and click OK.
Now you have enabled this you will be able to navigate to the normally hidden folder where your .pst files are.
Now you need to figure out where you are going to back up your .pst files to. These files can be fairly large depending on how much email you get/ send. Mine at work for example are nearly 2GB (the larger this files is may also be a reason for Outlook getting sluggish as time goes on, so archiving these will help) I would advise backing it up to an external device if possible (what’s the point of backing something to the same hard drive where it normally resides?) like an external hard drive, DVD, CD or on-line with something like Dropbox which is free and gives you 2GB to start with. I’d highly recommend you getting a Dropbox account as it one of the most useful bits of software you will own.
Now you know where you are going to back you files up to, simply navigate to your .pst folder located below (close Outlook first or you will not be able to back up the file)
Back up the Outlook folder which will also include its contents (the .pst files, your contacts, calendar etc) to your back up media of choice by either copying (copy & paste or just burn to disk or copy the Outlook folder to your Dropbox account). I’d advise doing this at least once a week, if not once a day.
That’s it, you’re done!
Any questions, please ask in the comments below.