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Outlook backup

Posted on 2014-03-14
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Last Modified: 2014-06-06
Can i rest assured that if i've copied all .pst and .ost files, i've completely backed up Outlook?
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Question by:CEHJ
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Frosty555 earned 125 total points
ID: 39929423
OST files aren't particularly useful because they are just an offline cache for the mailbox data on a Microsoft Exchange server. To properly back up that mailbox, you have to backup the Exchange server itself. I think you can recover some mail items from an OST file, but it's a precarious scenario to find yourself in and not supported by anyone.

The PST files contain mail, contacts, calendar, tasks, notes, etc., the data that Outlook stores. It doesn't contain any configuration information such as your mail accounts and passwords, signature, or Outlook visual appearance settings.
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by:Peter Hutchison
Peter Hutchison earned 125 total points
ID: 39929428
If you have Rules and signatures setup you need to back them up too:

a) See File, Manage Rules & Alerts, Options, Export rules
b) Signatures are stored in C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures
c) Custom spelling. C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof\Custom.dic
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by:Ken Butters
Ken Butters earned 125 total points
ID: 39929432
That should give you a backuop of all of your email / contacts etc.

Only thing I can think of that might be missing is any autocomplete entries... which are not critical.

I believe that depends on if you are working in outlook exchange or not.
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by:CEHJ
ID: 39929454
To properly back up that mailbox, you have to backup the Exchange server itself.
Yes that's OK. That will be taken care of by someone else

The PST files contain mail, contacts, calendar, tasks, notes, etc., the data that Outlook stores. It doesn't contain any configuration information such as your mail accounts and passwords
Yes i was afraid of that. So how do i back that up?

The objective would be to be able to restore Outlook to its former working state on a new box

If you have Rules and signatures setup you need to back them up too:
 Groan ... Thanks. I suppose that has to be added to the todo list...
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
Hypercat (Deb) earned 125 total points
ID: 39929619
Actually, the best way to "back up" your Outlook configuration is to use roaming profiles, or at least redirect the Appdata\Roaming folder to a server shared location.  All of the essential Outlook configuration details - NIK lists, signatures, etc. - as well as the basic profile settings are in the user's profile in the Appdata\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook folder.  Then, of course, you want to include the server shared folder in the regular backups of that server.
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by:CEHJ
ID: 39929861
Actually in this case, it would appear that the only pst/ost files are in AppData/Local

Quite a few osts in there too, some as large as 4GB
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Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39930110
Yes, the PSTs are in the Appdata\Local folder (unless they've been moved to a different location). The PSTs contain all of the email, contacts, etc., i.e., the Outlook items.  However, the configuration information that includes the Outlook profile settings, NIK list, signatures, etc., is in the Appdata/Roaming, as I outlined above.
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by:CEHJ
ID: 39930247
However, the configuration information that includes the Outlook profile settings, NIK list, signatures, etc., is in the Appdata/Roaming, as I outlined above.

Ah ok. I don't have the box in front of me. Can you give me an idea of the file names i'm likely to find in there?
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by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39930260
The path is: C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook.  Depending on the profile name that is being used, you would find the following file types, each preceded by the Outlook profile name:  .xml and .srs. So if the user's Outlook profile name is, for example, "Outlook," then the files names would be outlook.xml and outlook.srs. Also if you're using a version of Outlook earlier than 2010, you will see the NIK file with the extension .NK2 and a file named outcmd.dat, which you'd also want to back up.
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by:CEHJ
ID: 39930726
C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\**
 C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\**

I hope therefore we can say that the above paths/patterns are sufficient to back up Outlook completely?
the files names would be outlook.xml and outlook.srs.
So the connection metadata are human-readable?
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Expert Comment

by:Hypercat (Deb)
ID: 39934260
Well, in a manner of speaking.  You can open the outlook.xml file, but mostly it contains lots of long series of numbers that don't mean anything to any human. The .srs file can only be opened (legibly) by Outlook as far as I know.
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Expert Comment

by:Peter Hutchison
ID: 39934268
To backup Outlook profiles, export the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles
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by:CEHJ
ID: 39934318
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows Messaging Subsystem\Profiles 

Open in new window

Are the values of that human readable?
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Expert Comment

by:Peter Hutchison
ID: 39934435
No, there is a lot of binary data amongst a bit of human readable data. Although if you re-import the settings you will get the profiles back.
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by:CEHJ
ID: 39937812
The registry key thing is a PITA as i wanted to do the backup in Linux using ntfs-3g.
Maybe i could use reglookup or registry-tools. Anyway, can we now summarize by saying that exporting that key and backing up

C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\**
 C:\Users\[username]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook\**

is all that's required to recreate Outlook on a new Win 7 box?
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Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 40003481
The question has either no comments or not enough useful information to be called an "answer".
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Author Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 39995319
Certainly not abandoned. I've been waiting for my client. It will happen soon. Sorry about the delay
Still studying this
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Author Comment

by:CEHJ
ID: 40118535
So sorry to let this one slip folks - it contains some very useful info
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by:CEHJ
ID: 40118549
Thanks
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