How to Export and Backup All Emails From MS Outlook Inbox

Exporting and backing up emails from your MS Outlook inbox is critical to safeguard your important communications. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the step-by-step process to export Outlook emails and set up automated backups.

Why You Should Export and Backup Outlook Emails

Here are some key reasons why exporting and backing up Outlook emails is essential:

1. Prevent Data Loss

Backing up Outlook emails prevents permanent data loss in case of hardware failure, accidental deletion, corruption, or ransomware attacks. You’ll have a copy to restore from if disaster strikes.

2. Free Up Storage Space

By exporting old emails that you still want to retain, you can delete them from the Outlook inbox and archives to free up storage space. The exported emails can be stored separately without taking up space in your inbox.

3. Facilitate Transfer to Other Computers

The exported Outlook data file (.pst) containing all emails can easily be imported into Outlook on a new Windows PC if you get a new computer.

4. Retain Email Records for Compliance

Certain regulations require retaining business communications and records for a number of years. Exporting emails facilitates compliance.

Manual Method to Export Outlook Emails

Follow these steps to manually export emails from Outlook:

  1. Open Outlook and click File > Open & Export > Import/Export
  2. Select Export to a file, then click Next
  3. Choose Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next
  4. Select the mailbox folder (Inbox, Sent Items etc.) or account to export
  5. Ensure Include subfolders is checked
  6. Click Next, then Browse to choose export location
  7. Name the file and click OK
  8. Click Finish to export emails

This exports emails from the selected folder or entire account into a .pst file which can be stored as a backup.

  • The export includes email attachments
  • Some metadata like rules and views will not be exported

Automated Backup for Outlook Emails

Rather than manually exporting Outlook data, setting up an automated backup is a more reliable and convenient solution. Here are the steps to configure auto-archiving:

1. Open File > Options > Advanced

Under AutoArchive, configure:

  • Location and name for backup file
  • Scope – All folders or specific folders
  • Run auto-archive every 1 week
  • For items older than 1 month

2. Click OK to save settings

This will now automatically archive emails older than 1 month from all or selected folders into the backup file as per the schedule.

Alternative: Use Backup Software

For more flexibility and options, use a dedicated third party backup program instead of Outlook’s built-in tools.

Popular Outlook backup software to securely save emails, calendar, contacts etc.:

  • EaseUS Todo Backup
  • ABF Outlook Backup
  • MailStore Home

Benefits include:

  • Automated scheduled backups
  • Backup directly to external drives or cloud storage
  • Encryption and compression
  • Restore individual items easily

The premium versions of these software offer better features than the free built-in Outlook export.

Best Practices for Outlook Email Backups

Follow these best practices when backing up Outlook emails:

  • Verify – Periodically verify backup integrity to ensure the files are not corrupted
  • Encrypt – Enable encryption on the backup files for enhanced security
  • Store Offline – Keep a copy of the backup offline on an external hard drive as an extra safeguard
  • Test Restoration – Test restoring some sample emails from the backup file to ensure the process works correctly when needed


Safeguarding important business and personal communications via Outlook email backups is critical to avoid catastrophic data loss. This guide has provided step-by-step instructions to export Outlook emails manually or automatically using inbuilt as well as third party tools for enhanced features. Following best practices around verification, encryption, offline storage and restoration testing is key to getting the most out of Outlook email backups.