How to Backup and Export All Emails From Microsoft Outlook

  • Backing up your Outlook emails ensures you never lose important data due to system crashes, hardware failures, or other unexpected events.
  • Exporting emails to a .pst file creates a portable backup that can be imported into another Outlook account or computer.
  • Regularly backing up your Outlook data is a simple process that can save you from potential headaches down the road.
  • Outlook provides multiple methods for backing up emails, including exporting to .pst files, forwarding to another email account, or saving emails as individual files.

Keeping your important emails safe and accessible is crucial, whether you use Outlook for personal or professional purposes. Losing years’ worth of communication due to a system failure or other unforeseen event can be a nightmare scenario. Fortunately, Microsoft Outlook provides several methods for backing up and exporting your emails, ensuring you always have a secure copy of your data.

Why Backup Outlook Emails?

There are several compelling reasons to regularly backup your Outlook emails:

Data Loss Prevention: Hard drive failures, system crashes, or accidental deletions can wipe out your entire email archive in an instant. A backup ensures you can recover your emails and avoid losing valuable information.

Email Migration: If you’re switching to a new email account or service provider, backing up your old emails allows you to seamlessly transfer your data to the new account.

Archiving: Backing up emails can serve as an archiving solution, allowing you to free up space in your primary mailbox while still maintaining access to older messages.

Compliance: Some industries and organizations have regulations that require email archiving for record-keeping purposes. Backing up emails can help you meet these compliance requirements.

Exporting Emails to a .pst File

One of the most common and reliable methods for backing up Outlook emails is to export them to a .pst (Personal Storage Table) file. This file format is specific to Outlook and can store emails, contacts, calendar events, tasks, and notes.

Step 1: Open the Import and Export Wizard

  • In Outlook, go to the “File” menu and select “Open & Export” > “Import/Export”.

Step 2: Choose the Export Option

  • In the Import and Export Wizard, select “Export to a File” and click “Next”.
  • Choose “Outlook Data File (.pst)” and click “Next” again.

Step 3: Select the Folders to Export

  • Select the email account you want to export from the list.
  • Make sure the “Include subfolders” option is checked to export all folders within that account.
  • Click “Next” to proceed.

Step 4: Choose the Backup Location

  • Click “Browse” to select the location where you want to save the .pst file.
  • You can save the file on your local hard drive, an external drive, or cloud storage.
  • Click “Finish” to begin the export process.

Once the export is complete, you’ll have a portable .pst file containing all your emails, contacts, calendar events, and other Outlook data. This file can be imported into another Outlook account or used to restore your data on a new computer.

Forwarding Emails to Another Account

Another option for backing up your Outlook emails is to forward them to another email account. This method can be useful if you don’t want to deal with .pst files or if you need to access your emails from multiple devices.

Step 1: Create a Backup Email Account

  • Set up a new email account specifically for backing up your Outlook emails. This can be a free account from a service like Gmail or

Step 2: Forward Your Emails

  • In Outlook, select the emails you want to forward.
  • Click the “Forward” button and enter the backup email address in the “To” field.
  • Click “Send” to forward the emails.

Repeat this process periodically to ensure your backup account contains your most recent emails. You can also set up rules in Outlook to automatically forward specific emails or folders to your backup account.

Saving Emails as Individual Files

If you only need to backup a few important emails, you can save them as individual files on your computer or external storage.

Step 1: Open the Email

  • In Outlook, double-click the email you want to save.

Step 2: Save the Email

  • Click the “File” menu and select “Save As”.
  • Choose a location to save the email file, such as your desktop or a folder on your hard drive.
  • Select the file type (e.g., .msg or .html) and click “Save”.

Repeat this process for each email you want to backup. While this method is more time-consuming than exporting to a .pst file or forwarding, it can be useful for saving specific emails for archiving or sharing purposes.

Automating the Backup Process

Manually backing up your Outlook emails can be a tedious task, especially if you have a large mailbox or need to backup frequently. Fortunately, there are ways to automate the backup process.

Windows Task Scheduler: You can use the built-in Windows Task Scheduler to create a recurring task that exports your Outlook emails to a .pst file at regular intervals (e.g., weekly or monthly).

Third-Party Backup Software: Various third-party backup solutions, such as Backup4all or EaseUS Todo Backup, offer dedicated Outlook backup features. These tools can automate the backup process and provide additional features like compression, encryption, and cloud storage integration.

Outlook Rules: Outlook’s built-in rules can be configured to automatically forward specific emails or folders to a backup email account. This can be useful for backing up important emails as they arrive.

Automating your Outlook backup process ensures that your emails are regularly backed up without any manual intervention, providing an extra layer of protection against data loss.

Best Practices for Backing Up Outlook Emails

To ensure your Outlook backups are reliable and secure, follow these best practices:

  • Backup Regularly: Determine how often you need to backup your emails based on their importance and the volume of new messages you receive. Weekly or monthly backups are common for most users.
  • Use Multiple Backup Locations: Don’t rely on a single backup location. Store your backups on local drives, external storage, and cloud services for added redundancy.
  • Verify Your Backups: Periodically check your backup files to ensure they are intact and accessible. Open a few emails from the backup to confirm the data is complete.
  • Secure Your Backups: If your emails contain sensitive information, consider encrypting your backup files or using password protection to prevent unauthorized access.
  • Rotate Backup Media: If you’re using external storage devices for backups, rotate between multiple drives to protect against drive failures or physical damage.

By following these best practices, you can ensure that your Outlook email backups are reliable, secure, and readily available when you need them.


### What is a .pst file?

A .pst (Personal Storage Table) file is a file format used by Microsoft Outlook to store emails, contacts, calendar events, tasks, and notes. It is a common method for backing up and transferring Outlook data between different accounts or computers.

### Can I backup Outlook emails from multiple accounts?

Yes, you can backup emails from multiple Outlook accounts by repeating the export process for each account. When exporting to a .pst file, you’ll need to create a separate file for each account.

### How do I import a .pst file into Outlook?

To import a .pst file into Outlook, go to the “File” menu, select “Open & Export” > “Import/Export”, choose “Import from another program or file”, select “Outlook Data File (.pst)”, and follow the prompts to locate and import the .pst file.

### Can I backup Outlook emails to the cloud?

Yes, you can backup your Outlook emails to cloud storage services like OneDrive, Google Drive, or Dropbox. After exporting your emails to a .pst file, you can upload the file to your preferred cloud service for secure off-site storage.

### How much space do Outlook backups require?

The amount of space required for an Outlook backup depends on the size of your mailbox and the number of emails, contacts, and other items you’re backing up. As a general rule, plan for the backup file to be slightly larger than the total size of your mailbox.

### Can I automate Outlook backups using third-party software?

Yes, there are various third-party backup solutions that offer dedicated Outlook backup features and can automate the backup process. Some popular options include Backup4all, EaseUS Todo Backup, and CloudBerry Backup.