Skip to main content
Code42 Support

Troubleshoot backups of Microsoft Outlook data

Applies to:
  • CrashPlan for Small Business
  • Code42 CrashPlan (previously CrashPlan PROe)


If you are experiencing problems backing up your Microsoft Outlook data (PST or OLM files), review the solutions listed below.


This article describes troubleshooting steps for rare situations. For most users, we recommend the steps in Backing Up Microsoft Outlook Data.

Backing up enterprise email
In server-based email configurations (such as enterprise environments or email clients using Exchange or IMAP), backing up email stored on your device may be unnecessary because your email is also stored on the email server. Contact your email provider with questions about your email storage.


CrashPlan backs up open files (like your Outlook .pst file when Outlook is open) using Microsoft's built-in VSS technology. Problems backing up this data most commonly occur in systems with:

Recommended solution

To eliminate issues with the Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), clear your VSS snapshots. You must have administrative privileges for the device to perform these steps.

  1. Go to the Windows Start menu.
  2. Search for cmd.
  3. Right-click on cmd.exe select Run as Administrator.
  4. In the command prompt, enter this command:
    vssadmin delete shadows /all
  5. Press Enter.

It may take up to 24 hours for VSS to rebuild its snapshot in order for CrashPlan to successfully back up the PST. If the issue persists after 24 hours, see the alternative solutions below or contact our Customer Champions for Code42 for Enterprise support.

Alternative solutions

Solution 1: Separate backup set

Create a separate backup set with specific settings optimized for backing up your PST file.

  1. Open the CrashPlan app.
  2. Create a new backup set.
  3. Change the file selection of your new backup set to include only the PST file location.
    For the default location of your PST file, see Outlook File Locations below.
  4. From Home, select Details.
  5. Next to the new backup set, select the backup set settings button backup set settings.
  6. From Device Backup Settings, change Backup Schedule to Only run between specified times.
  7. Select a time window when Outlook is usually closed.
  8. Wait for the new backup set to back up completely.
  9. Change the file selection of your other backup set to exclude the PST file.

Solution 2: Back up copy of PST file

As an alternative to backing up the PST file directly, you can use a two-stage process:

  1. Use another application to copy your PST file.
  2. Back up the copy with CrashPlan.

This process grants CrashPlan full access to back up the copied file, because it is not actively in use.

A number of tools are available for copying your PST file, including:

To copy and back up the file:

  1. Select a PST copy tool.
  2. Configure the tool to copy your PST file as needed (for example, once per day).
  3. Change your backup file selection to include the copied PST file.
  4. Wait for the copy of the PST file to back up completely.
  5. Change your backup file selection to exclude the original (non-copy) PST file.


Recommended solution

If you have problems with your Outlook backups:

  1. Export your OLM file.
  2. Back up the copy with CrashPlan.

This process grants CrashPlan full access to back up the exported file because it is not actively in use.

To back up the exported file:

  1. Export or manually archive your Outlook data.
  2. Change your backup file selection to include the exported OLM file.

Outlook file locations

The default location of your Outlook Data File depends on your operating system and Outlook version.

Operating System Outlook Version File Location
Windows 7, 8, and 10
  • Outlook 2016
  • Outlook 2013
  • Outlook 2010
C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Outlook Files
Outlook 2007 C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
Mac OS X 10.10 or later Outlook 2016 /Users/<username>/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/Main Profile
Mac OS X 10.5 or later Outlook 2011 /Users/<username>/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/Main Identity
Mac OS X 10.4.9 or later Entourage 2008 /Users/<username>/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2008 Identities/Main Identity

External resources