How to Backup and Restore Emails in Microsoft Outlook

Last Updated: Feb 22, 2024 by

In today’s digital age, email has become an essential tool for communication and business. With the amount of important information and data stored in our emails, it is crucial to have a backup and restore system in place. This is where email archiving and retention come into play.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of backing up and restoring emails, and how to do it effectively using Microsoft Outlook.

Why Backup and Restore Emails?

Protect Against Data Loss

Emails are a vital source of information for individuals and businesses alike. They contain important documents, contracts, and conversations that are crucial for day-to-day operations. In the event of a system crash, accidental deletion, or cyber attack, having a backup of your emails ensures that you do not lose this valuable data.

Compliance and Legal Requirements

Many industries have strict regulations regarding email retention and archiving. For example, the healthcare industry must comply with HIPAA regulations, which require the retention of all electronic communications for a minimum of six years. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in hefty fines and legal consequences.

Easy Access to Old Emails

Having a backup of your emails also allows for easy access to old emails. This can be useful for retrieving important information or documents, or for legal purposes.

How to Backup Emails in Microsoft Outlook

Manual Backup

The simplest way to backup emails in Microsoft Outlook is to manually export them to a PST file. A PST file is a personal storage table that contains all your emails, contacts, and calendar items.

To manually backup your emails, follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook and click on the “File” tab.
  2. Click on “Open & Export” and then select “Import/Export”.
  3. In the Import and Export Wizard, select “Export to a file” and click “Next”.
  4. Select “Outlook Data File (.pst)” and click “Next”.
  5. Choose the folder you want to backup (e.g. Inbox, Sent Items, etc.) and click “Next”.
  6. Choose a location to save the PST file and click “Finish”.

Your emails will now be saved in a PST file, which can be imported back into Outlook if needed.

Automated Backup

Manually backing up emails can be time-consuming and tedious, especially if you have a large number of emails. This is where email backup software comes in. There are many third-party tools available that can automate the backup process and make it more efficient.

Some popular email backup software options include:

  • MailStore
  • CodeTwo Backup for Office 365
  • Backupify
  • SysTools Outlook Backup

These tools offer various features such as automatic backups, cloud storage, and advanced search options. They also allow for easy restoration of emails in case of data loss.

How to Restore Emails in Microsoft Outlook

Manual Restore

To manually restore emails from a PST file, follow these steps:

  1. Open Microsoft Outlook and click on the “File” tab.
  2. Click on “Open & Export” and then select “Import/Export”.
  3. In the Import and Export Wizard, select “Import from another program or file” and click “Next”.
  4. Select “Outlook Data File (.pst)” and click “Next”.
  5. Choose the PST file you want to restore from and click “Next”.
  6. Select the folder you want to restore (e.g. Inbox, Sent Items, etc.) and click “Next”.
  7. Choose a location to import the emails to and click “Finish”.

Automated Restore

Similar to email backup, there are also third-party tools available for automated email restoration. These tools can save you time and effort by automatically restoring emails from a backup file.

Some popular email restore software options include:

  • Stellar Repair for Outlook
  • Kernel for Outlook PST Repair
  • SysTools Outlook Recovery
  • Recovery Toolbox for Outlook

These tools offer features such as selective restoration, advanced search options, and compatibility with various versions of Outlook.

Best Practices for Email Archiving and Retention

Set a Retention Policy

A retention policy is a set of guidelines that determine how long emails should be kept before they are deleted. This is important for compliance and legal purposes, as well as for managing storage space.

It is recommended to set a retention policy that aligns with industry regulations and the needs of your organization. This can be done through the use of email archiving software or by manually deleting old emails after a certain period of time.

Use Email Archiving Software

Email archiving software is designed to automatically store and organize emails for long-term retention. This can help with compliance and legal requirements, as well as make it easier to retrieve old emails when needed.

Some popular email archiving software options include:

  • MailStore
  • Barracuda Message Archiver
  • Mimecast
  • GFI Archiver

These tools offer features such as automatic archiving, advanced search options, and cloud storage.

Train Employees on Email Management

Proper email management is crucial for effective email archiving and retention. It is important to train employees on how to properly organize and store emails, as well as how to identify and delete unnecessary emails.

This can help reduce the amount of storage space needed and make it easier to find important emails when needed.


In today’s digital world, email backup and restoration are essential for protecting against data loss, complying with regulations, and ensuring easy access to old emails. By following the best practices outlined in this article and using the right tools, you can effectively backup and restore emails in Microsoft Outlook and ensure the safety and accessibility of your important data.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.