How to download and backup all of your mailbox content in Outlook

Making regular backup files of any important data you have is always a good idea. The steps below involve exporting (copying) the contents of the message folder to a Personal Folders file (.pst) using the Import and Export functions. This creates the backup .pst file. You can then copy the .pst file onto a CD or DVD for safekeeping. This can be done in all popular email software.

In Outlook 2010, follow these steps to export a specific folder:

  1. Click the File tab.
  2. In the Outlook Options window, click Advanced.
  3. Click Export.
  4. In the Import and Export Wizard, click Export to a file, and then click Next.
  5. Click Outlook Data File (.pst), and then click Next.
  6. Select the folder to export, and then click Next.
  7. Click Browse, and then select the location where you want the new .pst file to be saved.
  8. In the File Name box, type the name that you want to use for the new .pst file, and then click OK.
  9. Click Finish.

For earlier versions of Outlook follow these steps:

  1. On the File menu, click Import and Export.
  2. Click Export to a file, and then click Next.
  3. In the list, click Personal Folder File (.pst), and then click Next.
  4. Click the folder that contains the messages you want to back up. If the folder contains a subfolder that you want to include, select the Include Subfolders check box, and then click Next.
  5. Under Save exported file as, click Browse, and then specify a name and location for your backup file, for example, Mail Backup.
  6. If you back up a .pst file that you have backed up to before, click one of the following: 

    Replace duplicates with items exported - Existing data will be overwritten with the information in the file being exported. 

    Allow duplicate items to be created - Existing data will not be overwritten, and duplicate information will be added to the backup file. 

    Do not export duplicate items Existing data will be kept, and the duplicate information in the folder will not be copied to the backup file. 
  7. Click Finish.