Incremental backup of Outlook pst file while Outlook is open

On many occasions, my spouse & I tried to backup / copy out pst files but
just happen our Outlook is open & thus the pst is locked.

is there any tool to copy out the locked pst file esp in incremental chunks
& yet give a good backup (not an unuseable backup)?
My pst is approaching 18GB now.

If there are software that costs less than US$10, I'll consider it as well

Someone in EE ever shared he wrote a freeware that could split the pst file
into smaller chunks: I guess this will help speed up incremental backups.
Anyone still know where to get this tool (for Win 7 x64 & 32bit Win XP)?
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sunhuxAuthor Commented:
I'm requesting for this as on many occasions, our Outlook pst requires "repair" so
just don't want that one of the days, we lost our emails
Clark KentSoftware Engineer cum BloggerCommented:
Hello Sunhux,

If you have read somewhere about a utility, as you are talking about then give a try to it and see the results. But always keep a backup of PST file before deploying a software on data because if a software draw a blank, then you can be in trouble. Your entire question is indicating that you are seeking a tool that can help you split data file and and in that approach it could also keep your data intact/safe. Why you do not try PST Repair Software to do these task. This tool is primiarly programmed to repair tampered PST file or Outlook items but, some other feature like “split” woule be helpful for you.

Note: Recommendation of any third party tool is clearly based of my personal experiences, so only choose a software if you it seems fine to you.

Thanks & Regards
Clark Kent
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
no you can backup on closing outlook
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with such a pst file - i can only say copy it out ASAP
you can also backup it in chunks - say every year; so searching is easier
btw - i'm no fan of "incremental backups" you need only 1 of them in error - and the whole backup becomes useless
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
I know you are asking for a way to backup your PST file but I highly recommend you focus on the fact that your PST file is 18GB--these were not designed to get that large and you should archive older emails into separate PST file(s)--this will not only improve performance but also lessen the chances of developing issues with your PST files. I have my live/current  Outlook PST file with the current 2 years email, then an archive with the previous 2 and then another with the 2 before that. So I have 3 PST files. Suggest you do something similar.
Alexei KuznetsovMicrosoft Outlook MVPCommented:
Here is the freeware Split PST Files tool you've been asking for. And there is a commercial one for backing up your Outlook folders incrementally (it costs $15 as a single utility, full bundle includes advanced version of Split PST Files as well).

DISCLAIMER: I recommend these tools because I'm one of the developers, so feel free to ask any further questions.

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Qlemo"Batchelor", Developer and EE Topic AdvisorCommented:
Outlook itself does not provide any means for incremental backups. A simple approach is to store the timestamp of last backup in a file with each backup, and back up anything which has been modified since. I guess that is the same as the above mentioned tool does.

I can only agree to the "no-18GB" statement of lionelmm. The fact that you have to repair the PST often is a very good sign it is getting too big to handle properly. 2GB is fine, 4GB works, but everything above should be avoided.
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Question to Alexei about the tool:

Does it split the PST such that

a) oldest email get stored into the 1st split pst & newest emails get into the latest pst?
    Besides "Date Received" of the emails, what are criteria does it use to sort/split the
    mails into the pst?

b) if lose any one of the pst file (say it got corrupted or there's a bad sector that it
    resides in), can I still access the rest of the mails the remaining good pst?

c) for latest emails, they get updated into the last/latest copy of pst so if we just
    backup this last/latest pst, we would have got the new mails that get archived?

d) while Outlook is running/open, does it lock this last/latest pst file or all pst splits?
sunhuxAuthor Commented:

b) ... the rest of the mails in the remaining good pst?
Alexei KuznetsovMicrosoft Outlook MVPCommented:

a) Free version splits by size only. Commercial version has additional options including split by year.
b) Yes.
c) It always creates new PST files. No incremental backup option in the "Split PST Files" utility.
d) No.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Keep in mind that as I mentioned earlier you can use Outlook itself to split the file into more than one PST file. I have three PST files and I can access them at any time. I do this by using the archive feature of outlook--this costs you nothing and can be setup to continuously "archive" older email. I put all email that are older than 2 years into my archive PST file. You can decide how you want to do yours.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
I have several archive pst's
2005 and older, 2006,..2014.pst
Alexei KuznetsovMicrosoft Outlook MVPCommented:
Honestly, I don't understand why do you want to backup your Outlook items to PST files. PST files is the most unreliable format for this task. I recommend you to use MSG format (one file per item).
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Why? It is part of Outlook; I can access it in that session of Outlook, I can search it then and there, it using the same software--Outlook. Agree that PST is a pain but that is what Outlook uses.
Alexei KuznetsovMicrosoft Outlook MVPCommented:
And you can search/open MSG files as well. But one file per item is much more reliable. Corrupted PST often leads to full data loss.
that's why backups exist imo
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Hmm, with many small (say a million) msg files, it will take a lot of disk space
due to loss of space due to disk cluster size.   And I've seen Win Explorer opens
very slowly with a folder containing a million over files

With msg files, how do we index/retrieve?  In Outlook pst, we can search
faster or it's slower?
Qlemo"Batchelor", Developer and EE Topic AdvisorCommented:
As long as the MSG files are indexed properly, searching should not make much of difference between file system and Outlook.
The other stuff is correct - millions of files slow down access, and small files waste space. Using MSG files is nothing I recommend in general.
Lionel MMSmall Business IT ConsultantCommented:
Outlook has some disadvantages (lie already mentioned) but it also has advantages in that you can sort your email into folders by subject or category or by certain people or companies. You can then either search those folder using quick search which works very very fast or you can search the entire PST file with advanced search. If you have individual msg files you can use windows search feature or other search apps you can install. I still suggest staying with the PST file, but breaking into smaller sizes into archive files.
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