How to Backup Outlook 2003, 2007, 2010 or 2013 PST Data file (Mail, Calendar, Contacts,Tasks)

If you are using Microsoft Outlook as your personal organizer (Tasks reminder, Calendar, Mail application), then you have to backup its contents very often, to avoid loosing Outlook data when your computer crashes or if you want to transfer its contents to a new computer. 

First of all you must know that all Outlook personal folders are saved in one file on your computer (e.g. Outlook.pst) and if you backup (copy) this pst file to another location on your computer (e.g. your external USB disk), then you have a reliable backup of your Outlook data that can be restored if needed.

Secondly, we should clarify that the most reliable and proper way to backup or restore Outlook data, is to manually copy/paste the Outlook data file (e.g. Outlook.pst) to another location instead of using the “Import / Export” capability given by Microsoft Outlook.

This happens because when you are using the Import/Export capability to export Outlook data to a file:

[ “FIle”  >  “Import / Export”  >  “Export to a file”  >  “Outlook Data file (.pst)” ],  you’ll lose significant Outlook settings like:

– Message rules.

– Junk E-mail and Blocked Senders,

– Folder and Items properties or views,

– Auto Complete cache (suggested contacts), etc.

In this article I‘ll show you how to properly perform a reliable Outlook backup operation in all versions of Microsoft Outlook. *

Notice*: If you are using Outlook 2003 or 2007, then you can use the “Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders Backup tool” to automate the Outlook backup process.


If you want to backup your Outlook PST data file manually, then follow the steps below:

How to perform an Outlook data backup (2003, 2007, 2010).

Step 1: Locate Outlook Personal folders data file (.pst) on your computer.

First of all you must locate where Outlook stores its information (Data file). *

Notice*: To be able view Outlook data file, go to Windows “Control Panel”, open “Folder Options” and under “View” tab, enable the “Show Hidden files, folders and drives” option.

Usually (by default) Outlook data files are stored in one single file (“pst”) at the following location on your computer:

Windows XP:

C:\Documents and Settings\<your username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook

Windows Vista or 7:

‘C:\Users\<your username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook

Office 2013:

If you 're using Outlook 2013 (Office 2013) the Outlook data files are stored in this location on your computer:

'C:\Users\<your username>\Documents\Outlook Files\<YourEmailAddress>.pst


If you want to manually find your Outlook data files location, then:

Outlook 2003:

* Click here if you are using Outlook 2007. Outlook 2010 or Outlook 2013.

1. (From Outlook main menu), choose : “Tools“ > “Options


2. In “Options” window choose “Mail Setup” tab.


3. In “Mail Setup” tab, choose “Data files”.


4. In “Data Files” window, choose “Open Folder”.


5. Continue to Step 2.

Outlook 2007, 2010 or 2013

If are you using Outlook 2007, 2010 and you want to find the Outlook personal folders location (.pst file), then:

1. From “File” menu go to “Info” > “Account Settings”.

Notice*: In Outlook 2007, go to Tools menu, click Options, click the Mail Setup tab, and then click E-mail Accounts.


2. In “Account Settings” window, choose “Data Files” tab and click to “Open File Location”.


3. Continue to the next step.

Step 2: Backup your Outlook Data files.

When you open the Outlook data files location as described in the previous step you should see the following screen:


As you can see in this window there is a file named “Outlook.pst” (the default file name). This file contains all Outlook folders such as Calendar, Inbox, Tasks, Sent Items, Outbox, Deleted Items, and user-created folders.

So if you want to backup all your Outlook data:

1. Close all open “Outlook” windows and

2. Copy Outlook.pst” file in another location on your computer (e.g. your external USB hard disk drive) and that’s it.

By doing this, you have a reliable backup copy of your Outlook Data files until today. To always have an updated copy of your Outlook data, then you must repeat the above procedure often.

You can restore or open your Outlook data from backup at any time needed by using the instructions at this article: How to properly Restore or Open Outlook pst files.

If you want to move (transfer) your profile account settings to a new computer then read this article: How to Backup & Restore Outlook Account Settings.

Tip for users working with Outlook 2003 or 2007 versions:

If you don’t want to take manual backup of your Outlook Data files using the above procedure, then you can read this article on how to automate (schedule) Outlook Backup operation:

How to use “Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders Backup tool”  to backup your Outlook files.

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