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Strategy for backup of Outlook pst file

Posted on 2016-09-17
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Last Modified: 2016-09-29
My PST file has over 12,000 emails. Is there an easy way to select a date range that would encompass say 11,000 emails and back only those up AND in turn have the pst file reduced in size very substantially? There is very little chance that I would ever need any of the 11,000 backed up emails, but I would want to leave that as an option of course, hence the backup. At this time I am primarily concerned with the bloated pst file.
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Question by:Need-a-Clue
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Joe Winograd, EE MVE earned 250 total points
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You didn't say what version of Outlook you're using, so the steps may vary, but in all versions you'll be able to create a new PST file. For example, in Outlook 2010/2013/2016, the steps are:

Home
New Items
More Items
Outlook Data File

After creating the new PST, move whatever messages you want into it. After moving the messages, you reduce the size of the original PST as follows:

Right-click the PST in the Navigation pane
Data File Properties
Advanced
Compact Now

That will reduce the size of the PST by reclaiming the space from the messages that were moved into the new PST. This process is known as Archiving in Outlook — in this case, you're doing it manually — but if you'd like, Outlook has an AutoArchive feature, which you may read about here:
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Automatically-move-or-delete-older-items-with-AutoArchive-e5ce650b-d129-49c3-898f-9cd517d79f8e

Regards, Joe
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by:CompProbSolv
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Are the emails in the Inbox or distributed throughout some folders?  If they are in a single folder then it is easy to sort by date, click on the newest one you want to move, then shift-click on the oldest, right-click on any one, and then move to the new PST that you've created from Joe's suggestions.
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by:yo_bee
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What version of Outlook are you using?
Each one has slightly different ways to handle this, but what you are looking for is Auto Archive Feature.
https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Archive-in-Outlook-2016-for-Windows-25f75777-3cdc-4c77-9783-5929c7b47028
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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I recommend against autoarchiving.  I did it once,  and had to reset everything.  I'll never try that again.
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by:Alexei Kuznetsov
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My PST file has over 12,000 emails. Is there an easy way to select a date range that would encompass say 11,000 emails and back only those up AND in turn have the pst file reduced in size very substantially?
This is almost exactly how Outlook AutoArchive works. You just set it to move items older than X to another archive PST and that's it!
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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> I recommend against autoarchiving.

I agree. I always do it manually. But many users like it and use it without problems, which is why I mentioned it.
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by:Need-a-Clue
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Experts, I am using Outlook 2013. I always prefer to do any type of backups manually. The auto archiving sounds good, but I fear problems letting Outlook fending for itself. I will try doing it manually tomorrow and post when I have completed it. Thanks..
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by:yo_bee
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by:John Hurst
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Auto Archiving is made for this and I have been archiving mail since Outlook 2002 15 years ago. I still have all my archives. I have no problem suggesting you use it. Do set it up properly and uncheck any settings that will delete emails. Just Archive only.
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by:Need-a-Clue
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Hello Experts. Against my first instinct I have decided to try John Hurst's suggestion. I set it up not to erase any files as suggested. I did  not see an option to run immediately so I chose one day. So far, nothing has happened. It is still showing 12,000 plus emails.  I will hope for the best within a day or so and continue reporting.
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by:John Hurst
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If you set it up to run in one day, then by tomorrow or the next day you should see an archive.pst file (or whatever you named it growing in size).

Once archive has completed (a) set it for a normal time frame (once a month say) and (b) Compact the main mail file. Compact is under the Properties of the Mail file (outlook.pst, say)
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by:Need-a-Clue
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John Hurst...I set auto archiving to one day. I set it not to erase any file. After 3 days it has not made my pst file or number of emails smaller. Suggestion?
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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Forget autoarchiving. Backup Pst  (file->options->advanced->export, then follow prompts to go to file and Pst file)  when you are done,  delete emails you don't want by doing a search.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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> Suggestion?

I suggest following the steps in my first post (the manual part, not the last sentence with the AutoArchive part). You'll be able to see results (reduced PST size) immediately after doing the "Compact Now".
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by:John Hurst
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Archiving works fine. I have been using for a decade and just port my archives up to the next Outlook version.

Here are my settings (does not depend much on Outlook Version).

Outlook-2010-Auto-Archive.
Please let us know
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by:Alexei Kuznetsov
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+1 to John. AutoArchiving works perfectly. There are no known issues. Fast, easy and convenient.
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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I still do not trust autoarchiving.  The more I work with computers (almost 32 years now), the more a distrust them.  I prefer to either do it manually or use the backup method.  In that way it gets done AND I am sure of what is being done.

BTW, I ALWAYS make a backup of the ost/pst file BEFORE doing any of this.
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by:Alexei Kuznetsov
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I still do not trust autoarchiving.
This sounds like a religious question of faith =) Why do you distrust AutoArchiving? What's the reason?
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by:Need-a-Clue
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Dear Experts, I want to thank all of you for the Expert suggestions you have offered to me. I feel 98% sure that my solution is in your advice. I don't want to keep this question open, but I don't have the time presently to devote to implementing like this. I will be able to devote time in a few days and will only post if I cannot get Outlook to do what I would like it to do.

Since all of you have been so helpful perhaps you can also look at another Outlook question I have on another pc. While composing any email my text is about 80 points large! It does not arrive that way, just during composing. I have told Outlook the font and size I want, but it ignores me.
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by:Joe Winograd, EE MVE
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You're welcome. For my fellow experts, the other question is here:
https://www.experts-exchange.com/questions/28972715/Outlook-2013-HUGE-typeface.html
Regards, Joe
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by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
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You are always welcome to any assistance we may give.
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