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These directions are for helping you to backup and restore local emails, contacts, and calendar to and from Microsoft Office Outlook, and should be applicable for versions 2000/2003/2007. This document will not cover other email programs such as Thunderbird or Outlook Express. If you have any questions or problems during or after the process, please email ecehelp@ncsu.edu.

  • The pictures on this page were captured from Office Outlook 2007. The appearance of your program and certain text may vary.
  • PST files created in Office Outlook 2000 are limited to a total size of 2 GB, and these files cannot be converted to the newer formats of versions 2003/2007 that support up to 18 GB. Please contact ecehelp@ncsu.edu if you need assistance exporting/importing emails from Outlook 2000.

Quick and Dirty Backup!

If you intend to immediately restore your emails and contacts (after a re-install or move to a new machine), then there is a quick and simple method.

  • If Microsoft Office Outlook is open, close it.
  • Copy (do not move!) the following folder to a safe location:
    • (for Windows 2000/XP) C:\Documents and Settings\<userID>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
    • (for Windows Vista) C:\Users\<userID>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Files within this folder contain your saved emails, contacts, and other data. However, they do not contain program settings.
    • outlook.pst contains everything under "Personal Folders", including locally-saved emails, contacts, calendar, notes, etc.
    • If you AutoArchive your emails, then archive.pst will contain everything under "Archive Folders".
    • Any .pst files you have manually created will also be in this folder.
  • After copying the Outlook folder, you have effectively backed up your email/contacts/etc. Copy/Move the folder to the machine you wish to restore the files to and scroll down this page to find directions on how to import .pst files.

If instead you wish to make a backup of your emails/contacts to store in another place for safe-keeping or redundancy, then see below for the method for exporting your data to a new .pst file.

Exporting your Personal Folders

This describes how to create a backup copy of your email and contacts for storing/redundancy.

  • Open Microsoft Office Outlook
  • Select File -> "Import and Export..."

Choose to Export

  • Choose "Export to a file"
  • Click NEXT to continue

Choose file type

  • Choose "Personal Folder File (.pst)"
  • Click NEXT to continue

Choose folders to export

  • Choose "Personal Folders"
  • Check the box labeled "Include subfolders"
  • Click NEXT to continue

Choose location save exported file

  • Choose a location to save the backup file
  • Since you are creating a new file, the options for duplicates will not affect anything. Leave as default.
  • Click FINISH to create the backup file and complete the process

Importing PST files to Office Outlook