How to Back up or Copy Your Outlook Information

Don't lose important emails and contacts, back up your Outlook PST file

There's a lot of important email messages, contact information, and calendar appointments stored in Outlook. Make sure you don't lose all this in case of a hard disk crash or another disaster. Create backup copies of your Personal Folders (.pst) files — that's where Outlook stores all your essential data.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, and Outlook for Microsoft 365.

Back up or Copy Your Outlook Mail, Contacts, and Other Data

Creating a backup copy of your Outlook data (or moving it to a different computer) can be as easy as copying a single file.

  1. Go to File and select Info.

    Screenshot of Info tab of File window
  2. Select Account Settings > Account Settings.

    Screenshot of Account Settings >Account Settings
  3. In the Account Settings dialog box, select the Data Files tab.

    Screenshot of Data Files tab in Account Settings
  4. In the Name list, highlight the PST file that you want to archive.

    OST files (files in the Location column that have the .ost extension) store emails for Exchange and IMAP email accounts. You can copy these OST files, but to extract data from OST files, use a third-party tool such as OST to PST Converter.

  5. Select Open File Location.

    Screenshot of Open File Location
  6. In Windows File Explorer, right-click the highlighted file.

    Screenshot of right-click menu
  7. Select Copy.

    If you don't want to right-click the file, go to the Home tab and select Copy. Or, if you prefer keyboard shortcuts, press Ctrl+C.

    Screenshot of Copy on right-click menu
  8. Go to the folder in which you want the backup or copy of the PST file, then select Home > Paste. Or, press Ctrl+V.

  9. Close the Windows Explorer window.

  10. In the Account Settings dialog box, select Close.

What Outlook Data and Preferences Are Not Kept in PST Files?

Outlook stores the most important data in PST files, but some settings are stored in separate files, which you may want to back up or copy as well.

Specifically, these files and their default locations include:

  • Email signatures created in Outlook: .rtf, .txt and .htm files (one for each format) named like the signature are located in \Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures
  • Settings for send and receive schedules in Outlook: .srs files (​Outlook.srs, for example) are located in \Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Emails saved as templates for re-use: .oft files (Template.oft, for example) are located in \Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates
  • Dictionaries that contain words you do not want the Outlook spelling checker to mark as misspellings: .dic files (Custom.dic, for example) are located in \Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof
  • Printer settings (including page sizes and header or footer text) for emails created in Outlook: OutlPrnt is located in \Users\[user]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook