Troubleshoot backups of Microsoft Outlook data
Who is this article for?
Incydr Professional, Enterprise, Horizon, and Gov F2, no.
Incydr Basic, Advanced, and Gov F1, yes.
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. Most users can follow the steps in Backing Up Microsoft Outlook Data.
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.
The Code42 agent 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:
- Older versions of Windows without VSS or with an older version of VSS
- Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) failures
- Extremely large PST files
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.
- Go to the Windows Start menu
- Search for cmd
- Right-click on cmd.exe and select Run as Administrator
- In the command prompt, enter this command:
vssadmin delete shadows /all
- Press Enter
It may take up to 24 hours for VSS to rebuild its snapshot in order for the Code42 agent to successfully back up the PST. If the issue persists after 24 hours, see the alternative solutions below or contact our Technical Support Engineers.
Solution 1: Separate backup set
Create a separate backup set with specific settings optimized for backing up your PST file.
- Open the Code42 agent.
- Create a new backup set.
- 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.
- Select Settings.
- Select Backup Sets.
Change the Backup Schedule to Only run between specified times.
- Select a time window when Outlook is usually closed.
- Wait for the new backup set to back up completely.
- 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:
- Use another application to copy your PST file.
- Back up the copy with the Code42 agent.
This process grants the Code42 agent 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:
- Personal Folders Backup tool - provided by Microsoft for copying files on a set schedule
- Applies to Outlook 2007 or earlier
- Provided for free
- Read Microsoft's guide to Using the Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders Backup tool
- Backup Outlook - A third-party product for backing up Outlook data
- Applies to Outlook 2000 through Outlook 2013 (32-bit and 64-bit)
- Requires purchase
- Read Quickstart for Backing Up Outlook Data for instructions
To copy and back up the file:
- Select a PST copy tool.
- Configure the tool to copy your PST file as needed (for example, once per day).
- Change your backup file selection to include the copied PST file.
- Wait for the copy of the PST file to back up completely.
- Change your backup file selection to exclude the original (non-copy) PST file.
If you have problems with your Outlook backups:
- Export your OLM file.
- Back up the copy with the Code42 agent.
This process grants the Code42 agent full access to back up the exported file because it is not actively in use.
To back up the exported file:
- Export or manually archive your Outlook data.
- 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 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: How to Manage .pst Files in Microsoft Outlook (includes video tutorial)
- Microsoft Support: Introduction to Outlook data files
- Explanation of IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)