Avoiding Data Loss in PST Files

Since Microsoft Outlook stores all the important Outlook data in Personal Storage Files (PST), it is important that Outlook users take regular backups of PST files to avoid data loss. Our article looks at the standard way in which PST files can be backed up.

Most Outlook data such as email messages, contacts, tasks, notes, appointments, journal entries, etc. are stored in Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) folders. These folders are typically stored in either one of the following two locations depending on what kind of email account, the user is employing.

  • If the user has an email account on Microsoft Exchange server then the Outlook data is stored in a mailbox that is located on the server.
  • On the other hand, if the user is using a standard POP account, all the data will be stored in Personal Folder (PST) files stored on the local hard disk.

If the Outlook data is being stored in PST files, one needs to backup the PST files on a regular basis to easily carry out an Outlook repair when the need arises.

Before we understand how we can back up the PST file, let us quickly review how backing up data can help us. Backup of PST files can help us-

  • Restore Outlook data that becomes corrupted or is lost because of hardware failure.
  • Restore Outlook data that becomes corrupted due to sudden power failures.
  • Move or transfer Outlook data from one hard disk drive to another, either on the same computer or another computer.

Let us now see how we can back up the entire PST file.

  • To begin with, quit the mail applications that you are using such as Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Windows messaging.
  • From the Start button, go to Settings and then the Control Panel.
  • Open the Mail icon and click on the Show Profiles button. Open the appropriate profile and then click on Properties, Data Files.
  • If you have more than one PST file, you will need to back each one of them so that when you carry out an Outlook repair, you can recover data from the particular file that you want to. From Data Files, you will be able to select the Personal Folder service and all the PST files that you would want to back up
  • Select Settings and note down the path of the PST file as well as the exact file name listed in the Personal Folder service.
  • You can now close all the Properties Windows. Proceed to make a backup copy of the PST file mentioned above. Note that you can store the copy on a storage media such as a CD-ROM or external hard disk.

At times, an Outlook repair carried out using the backed up copies of the PST files may also not work because of corruption in the files or because there is a problem with the storage media. You might fear that you will certainly be losing some Outlook data from the files stored on the affected media. However, sophisticated tools such as DataNumen Outlook Repair from DataNumen can help repair PST files even from corrupted media such as zip disks, CD-ROMs, etc. Therefore, by backing up PST files, you can ensure that there is no data loss under any circumstances.

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