How to Take Proper Backups of PST Files

Personal Storage Tables or PST files are used to store local email data. These can be used to hold all the Outlook data when Microsoft Exchange Server is not being accessed or if one is using an independent email account. Considering that the PST files store vital personal and business-related information, it is important that Outlook users know how to take proper backups of PST files.

Users who are not using their Outlook application with an email account on Microsoft Exchange Server will typically store all their email data along with Contacts, Calendar, Tasks, etc. in Personal Storage Tables or PST files. The biggest advantage that Exchange server users have is that their data in the mailbox stored on the server is regularly backed up by the administrator and there will proper recovery mechanisms in place. On the other hand, if Outlook is being used with other email accounts and data is being stored on local computers in the form of PST files, it is crucial that users know how to take proper backups of their PST files and to carry out an Outlook repair when required.

The simplest way of backing up all the data is to back up the entire PST file.

  • To begin, make sure that no mail-related programs are open. This will include not just Outlook but also Microsoft Windows Messaging.
  • From the Control Panel, select Mail (or Mail and Fax).
  • You can now choose the Personal Folders service that you would like to back up. Typically this is called Personal Folders. You could of course, rename the service. It is possible that your profile has more than one Personal Folders service. In such a case, you will have to backup every set of personal folders separately. Users should also be aware that if they find no personal folders in the list of service, then Outlook has been set up only for browsing files and cannot be used to store any data. In such a situation, there is no data to back up and Outlook repair will not involve restoration of any data.
  • Once the Personal Folders service is selected, choose Properties and note down the PST file name listed as well as the path to the particular file. This file stores all the important PST data.
  • You can now proceed directly to Windows Explorer and make a copy of the file mentioned above. Else, you could reduce the PST file by clicking on Compact Now. This will make the back up process faster and more efficient.
  • If there is any corruption in the PST file due to software or hardware failure, it is fairly simple to carry out an Outlook repair by using the back up copy of the PST file. From the floppy disk or CD on which the back up copy has been stored, the PST file can copied into the same file location as has been previously noted and given the same file name. All the data will now be easily accessible through Outlook.
  • If there is a problem with the back up copy stored on the CD or floppy disk, one may have to use more sophisticated applications such as DataNumen Outlook Repair from DataNumen to retrieve PST files from damaged external media. DataNumen Outlook Repair helps users carry out Outlook repair on fairly large PST files, restoring data without any problems.

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