Microsoft Outlook saves your email messages, calendar events, tasks, and other items in either an Outlook for Windows Data File (.pst) or an Outlook for Mac Data File (.olm). This article provides recommendations for backing up your Outlook Data File.
If you experience issues when backing up extremely large PST or OLM files, see Troubleshoot backups of Microsoft Outlook data for more information.
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 if your email is also stored on the email server. Contact your email provider with questions about your email storage.
Back up Microsoft Outlook data
If you have changed your backup file selection or moved your Microsoft Data File to a different location, verify that the file is included in your backup file selection. For the default location of your Microsoft Data File, see Outlook File Locations below.
On Windows, the Code42 app backs up the home folder, including the default location of your Microsoft Data File, by default. So in most cases, your email is backed up automatically and you don't need to take any further action.
If your Windows Outlook data is very large or you are using Outlook for Mac, see below for some further considerations based on your operating system.
The Code42 app backs up open files like Microsoft Outlook PST files using the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). This approach has a low impact on system resources and is fully supported by Microsoft.
For more information, see our full article about Understand and troubleshoot backing up open files with Windows VSS.
To ensure the database and all Outlook data can be recovered, we recommend exporting your Outlook data to an Outlook for Mac Data File (.olm) and backing up that file.
Outlook's Main Identity folder contains a database of Outlook data and many separate data records for emails, preferences, contacts, and other information. Microsoft provides instructions for recovering the Main Identity folder, but it may not fully recover all of your Outlook data, which is why we recommend recovering from an .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 8 and 10||
|macOS 10.12 or later||
||/Users/<username>/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/Main Profile|
|Outlook 2011||/Users/<username>/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/Main Identity|
- Microsoft Support: Introduction to Outlook Data Files (.pst and .ost) (Outlook 2013 and 2016 only)
- Microsoft Support: How to Manage .pst Files in Microsoft Outlook (includes video tutorial)
- Microsoft Support: What is a Microsoft Exchange account?
- Microsoft Support: What are IMAP and POP?