Monday, January 21, 2008

How to Backup Outlook

How to Backup

Address Book:
Generally, if you save your messages as described below you’ll
have a copy of your address book. That’s because the Contacts
folder is stored with all your other folders. However, you can
get to just the address book if that’s what you want. Outlook
2000 has an extensive import and export feature that’s available
through the File | Import and Export menu. Select "Export
to a file" and choose "Comma separated values"
as the data format. Then select your Contacts folder and provide
a name for the exported file. This format is readable by almost
any mail program, and you can even use Notepad to read it in
a pinch. One unfortunate thing you may encounter is that the
import/export wizard may not be installed and you’ll have to
dig out your original Outlook 2000 CD to install it. However,
you can also export your address book through Outlook Express
as described in last week’s column, since they share the same
address book.

Account Settings:
Outlook 2000 mail accounts are stored in the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Outlook.
To save this data, start RegEdit and select that key in the
left-hand pane. Then from the menu select Registry | Export
Registry File. Save the file to a name like OL2KACCT.REG and
put it in a safe place. Like the address list, this will fit
on a floppy for most people. To restore the account settings,
right-click the .REG file and select Merge.

Mail Messages
and Rules: Outlook 2000 stores all your messages and folders
in a single file ending with a .PST extension, usually OUTLOOK.PST.
You may also see an ARCHIVE.PST, which are the old messages
and tasks that Outlook cleans out of your main .PST file if
you have archiving turned on. Where are these files hidden?
To find out, go to Outlook 2000 and right-click the root folder
(usually named Mail) and click Properties. Then click the Advanced
button on the dialog. You’ll see a value named Path that tells
you where the file is located. Typically, it’s C:\WINDOWS\Local
Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook, but you may also
see files stored in C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook
as well. You can make backup copies of these files, but make
sure to exit Outlook so that the files will not be in use while
you’re trying to make copies!

Mail Rules and
More: Mail filtering rules are kept in a file with a .RWZ extension,
usually in this same directory with your mail messages. There
may also be a few other settings and log files in this directory.
Since all these files are small, I suggest you back up all of
them. Outlook is pretty configurable, so even if you save all
these files you’ll have a lot of configuring to do on a clean
install. You can save yourself a lot of clicking if you go into
RegEdit and export the key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\9.0\Outlook
to a file. If you want, you can save all your Office 2000 settings
including Outlook accounts by exporting the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office
subkey to a name like 0F2KSAVE.REG. To get all your settings
back, just right-click the file you saved and select Merge.

Convenient Utilities
- A few months back, Microsoft released a great little utility
called Personal Folders Backup that helps you remember to save
your mail folders. It can be set to remind you to do backups
when you exit mail, and all you need to do is click the button
and it will make the backup. You can even set the backup file
location, so it’s easy to back up to another disk or a network
share. A second utility that I think is less useful is Save
my Settings which lets you save some of your Office 2000 preferences
(but not your important data like mail messages or address book)
to a Microsoft web site. You can later retrieve those settings,
either to restore them for the same computer or to migrate them
to a new computer. My preference is to save the registry tree
manually, rather than sending this data to some unknown Microsoft

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