Do you know where your emails are saved? Are you sure they’re being backed up? You may be surprised to find out that your emails are not where you expect them to be.
In this post, I’ll show you how you can find out where your Outlook data is stored so that you can ensure that they are actually part of your backup plan.
How does Outlook save emails on your computer?
Outlook does NOT save each email as a separate file. Instead it saves all the emails into one PST file (or if you’re using Exchange or Office 365… one OST file).
All your emails are in one file. If you lose that one file, you lose all your emails!
- That’s not strictly true because you can have multiple files e.g. one for old emails and one for current emails, but the general idea still applies. Your emails are stored in a few files and if you lose one file, you will lose hundreds or even thousands of emails.
It is important that you know where these files so that you can back them up regularly.
Where are Outlook’s data files stored?
Depending on the version of Outlook you are using (and whether you are using POP3, IMAP, Exchange or Office 365), Outlook will save your data in either Documents folder or the hidden appdata folder.
Luckily it is easy to find where.
In Outlook 2010 or later, click the File tab, then click Info in the left pane. Select Account Settings and then Account Settings again. Then click the Data Files tab.
In Outlook 2007 and older versions, click Tools – Options on the command bar. Then click the Data Files tab.
All your data files will be listed as shown in the diagram.
Make sure that you back them up regularly and your emails will be safe.
Do you know where your emails are saved on your computer?
They may not be where you think they are. Here’s how you can find out where your emails are so that you can be sure that they are part of your backup plan.
Last week at the golf club, I spoke to a frustrated fellow golfer who had just lost all his emails…
The harddisk on his old computer had crashed… and when he used his backups top restore his data to his new computer, he was in for a shock.
His Outlook emails were not there… despite having a well-thought out and implemented plan for backing up his computer.
Because Outlook does not actually ask you to save emails in a particular location, it is easy to forget about them.
Where does Outlook save emails?
If your emails are hosted with Office 365 or MS Exchange then a copy of your current emails will be on your server. Hopefully your network administrator is backing them up.
However, if you are using a POP3 mail account (which many people still are) or if you are archiving emails outside of Exchange, you need to know where your emails are being saved.
All your emails are generally saved in one big data file (PST file… which is short for Personal Storage Table). Unfortunately Outlook does not always create this file in a folder that you would remember to backup.
Some users may also have multiple PST files with additional files for Archives etc.
To find out exactly where all your data files are in Outlook 2010/2013:
- Click File.
- On the Info Tab, click Account Settings and then Account Settings again.
- Click Data Files to display a list of all your currently connected data files as shown below.
Makes sure that you are backing up all the Outlook data files shown above.
Additional Tip: If you’re not using Exchange, you may want to put your main Outlook PST files in your Documents folder. Assuming that you’re backing up your Documents folder regularly, you should be safe.
I know that it’s only been a few weeks since we released the new version of QuickFile but we’ve had so much great feedback from users that we felt had to be implemented and put out there for you to use right now.
This update is free for all existing registered users of version 5.
Fixes and Features in this upgrade include:
- Show Sub folders: In previous versions of QuickFile, it was possible to see subfolders of a folder (after searching for it). We’ve put this feature back in Version 5 and done a separate blog post on how to use it.
- Remove suggestions: Folder recommendations in QuickFile are significantly more accurate in QuickFile Version 5. However there may be cases where you want to remove a suggestion. You can do this now by right clicking over the suggestion on the QuickFile screen as shown in this blog post.
- Significant speed improvement when moving emails: Some users found that QuickFile as a sometimes slow when moving emails. We’ve rewritten the moving code.
- Bug Fixes: There were a number of small bugs in other screens that have been tidied up.
Click to download the updated version (or a fully functional trial version) of the QuickFile Outlook addon.
Registered Users: Download the trial version and install it on your computer. It will automatically pick up your existing registration and settings.
New to QuickFile: Click QuickFile for Outlook Version 5 for more information on the easiest way to file and find your emails in Outlook.
Here’s a quick tip on how you can save one or more emails outside of Outlook. This is very useful if you want to save your emails on your harddisk in Client folders along with Word files etc.
Go to the folder (inside Outlook) that has the emails.
Select the email you want to export out of Outlook (You can also select multiple emails by holding down the CTRL button on the keyboard and then clicking on the emails).
Click File-Save As.
Enter a filename.
Choose a format from the drop-down.
What format should you use?
The two common formats that you can use are:
Outlook Message Format (msg): This creates a copy of the entire emails outside Outlook for you and has any attachments etc still as part of the email. This only works when you are exporting single emails. You will also need to have Outlook to view the message in the future.
Text Only (txt): This creates a plain text file (all formatting and attachments are removed). This option is also available when you try to export multiple emails… all emails are put in the one text document with header information (date/sender/recipient/Subject) clearly identifying each email.
What about exporting to PDF?
Outlook cannot export directly to PDF format. However if you are using QuickFile for Outlook-Ultimate Edition<http://www.standss.com/quickfile>, you can export all or selected emails from any folder into a PDF file. The PDF file will have a clickable table of contents (list of emails in date order) at the top and will also have links to all attachments.
On the QuickFile section of the Ribbon, click More Actions-Export Emails.
Did you know that Outlook is configured (by default) to eventually corrupt itself and lose some and maybe even all your e-mails?
In this post we will cover few essential tips that will help you to ensure that your Outlook data is safe and protected from software corruption or data failure.
1. Find out where your Outlook E-mails are saved and backup regularly
When you first install and start using Outlook, it creates the data file (PST) on its own and saves it in a location that you are unlikely to include in your regular backup plan.
You can read our earlier post on how to backup your Outlook Data file to locate where your data file is saved and include the location to your regular backup routine.
It is a good idea to back up on regular intervals (I tried to restore from a backup CD a few years ago to find that the backup was corrupt too. I lost more than 12 months of e-mails)
2. Outlook may corrupt itself unless you split your data into at least two files.
By default, Outlook saves all your e-mails in one file. There are a number of problems with this:
- As the Outlook data file gets filled up, Outlook will get slower
- There is a physical limit to the size of your Outlook data file. You can get instructions on how to check the size limit of your data file in our post “How to maintain Outlook data (PST) Files”
- If you reach this limit, Outlook will suddenly stop working and there is a great risk that you could lose some if not all of your e-mails.
The solution is to split your data into more than one data file.
Step-by-step instructions on how you should split your data file is provided in our free e-book “The Professional’s guide to Email Management in Microsoft Outlook”. Refer to Tips 3 and 4.
3. Use QuickFile to simplify shifting e-mails out of your Inbox and Sent Items folders
- It works inside Outlook by adding two buttons to your toolbar
- It does not require you to change the way you use Outlook
- It will dramatically reduce the time and effort required to file your e-mails.
Hope you find this tips useful in keeping your Outlook data safe and protected.
Do you have some tips of your own to protect your Outlook data?
Share it with us by leaving a comment on this blog.
Microsoft Outlook is the most common email client used by thousands of users around the world.
For most users, it is the central place for storing all your emails, appointments/tasks, contact details etc so… how often do you remember to maintain and backup your datafile?
Very few Outlook users know until it is too late that… Outlook does NOT by default save your email, task and calendar data in a folder that you would ever think of backing up.
Unless you are in a corporate network using MS Exchange, all your Outlook data is stored in one Personal Folder file called PST (Personal Storage Table).
- This file has a .pst extension and is saved somewhere on your computer.
- This one file probably contains all your Outlook folders, e-mails, contacts, tasks, calendar items, journal entries and notes inside it.
- (Unfortunately) This file is NOT saved to your Documents folder (at least not by default) so chances are you are not backing it up.
If this file becomes damaged or corrupted, this could hamper the normally operation of Outlook and even cause data loss, therefore it is important that you make regular backups.
So where is this file on your computer?
The exact location depends on the version of Outlook and Windows. To find out where your Outlook data is:
- Go to your Inbox and make sure that the list of folders is displayed
- Right-click the top-level folder and select Properties
- Click the Advanced button. The full path to the data file will be displayed in the box labelled FileName.
- Just make sure that file is part of your computer backup plan.
If you are using more than one PST (e.g. a separate file for archives), then you need to do the above for each of your Outlook data files.
I hope that this little tip helps keep your Outlook data protected.
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