How-To

How to Back Up Your Contacts, Calendar and Messages on Outlook.com

While Outlook.com is a reliable service, there might be times when it’s down or you’re offline. In those instances, it’s a great idea to have an offline copy.

We all have a ton of information stored up in cloud services these days. But when you’re offline or the service is down, you’re kind of stuck. So, it’s good to have a backed-up copy of your data. When it comes to email, Microsoft’s Outlook.com makes creating an offline copy of your messages, contacts, and calendar items easy with its “Export Mailbox” feature. Here is a look at how to use it so you have access to the data you need when you’re offline and need to get things done.

Note: You will need to be running the new beta version of Outlook.com to see these settings. If you don’t see them, flip the “Outlook Beta” switch to On. And you’ll be able to check out the new dark mode with the beta enabled, too.

Back up Your Outlook.com Mailbox

First, click on Settings (gear icon) at the top-right corner of the page and then choose View all Outlook settings at the bottom of the menu.

Now, on the Settings page go to General > Privacy and data and click the Export mailbox button. Then your backup copy will be prepared, and you will get an email with a link to download your mailbox within four days.

Your copy will be in the form of a PST file that contains your messages, contacts, and calendar info. You will need the desktop version of Outlook to open it. If you don’t have Outlook, you can use PST viewer software which you can find for free or paid versions. It’s also important to know that the file could be enormous. For example, I tested this on a secondary account that I use sparingly and the file was over 1 GB in size.

Before the emergence of “the cloud” as it is now, we would back up our emails and files directly to our local drive. And then back them up on an external drive for good measure. Exporting your mailbox from time to time is a good idea. Outlook.com is a solid and trustworthy service, but there are times it goes down, or you might not be able to connect to it due to a problem on your end. Or, maybe you are offline for a few hours and need access to some data on the service. Whatever the reason, it’s important to have an offline copy of your data so you can still get things done.


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