How to manually archive or backup mail in Outlook

If you are leaving the University for any reason, your email account will be disabled and then deleted after a period of time. To determine when that will occur, refer to this article. It is a good idea to backup or archive your email now in case it will needed in the future. Follow the instructions below to accomplish this. This needs to be done in the Outlook program, not Outlook Web Access.

Turn off Email Cache

By default Outlook will only keep a certain amount of email on your computer with the rest saved on the server.  When you are archiving your email, you may want to turn off this setting so that all your email are in one place to be archived.

  1. In Outlook, go to Account Settings and then select Account Settings.

  1. On the Email tab, click the account and then click the change button.

  1. Under Microsoft Exchange server, clear the Use Cached Exchange Mode check box.

Archive Email from Outlook

1. Open Outlook.

2. Click the File menu

3. On the Account Information screen which opens, click Open & Export

4. Select Import/Export from the options

5. On the Import and Export Wizard window, select the option to, Export to a file, then select, Next.


6. On the Export to a File window, select Outlook Data File (.pst)

7. The next window allows you to select what folder(s) should be exported. For your entire mailbox, including Calendar, Contacts and Notes, select your email address at the top of the list.

Ensure the option, Include Subfolders, is selected.

8. Saving the file: Click the Browse button to specify where the export file (backup.pst) will be saved. It is recommended that this file be saved somewhere you can easily locate it, such as the Desktop or Documents folder.  The default location is in the Outlook Files folder in the Documents folder. For most computers, this location is, c:\users\[username]\documents\outlook files\

9. After setting the save location, click Finish. 

10. Optional: add a password to the file to encrypt it. If you forget this password, please note it will not be broken by UW IT employees. Leave the fields blank if no password is required.

11. upon clicking, OK, Mail will export your mailbox. It may take some time for the process to complete (the average mailbox of 5GB will take 5 minutes to export, large mailboxes may take even longer, usually between 10-60 minutes, depending on size). Once finished, save the file to an external drive to take with you.


Personal storage files (.PST) are Microsoft Outlook files and should be opened by Outlook to view and edit contents. Some mail applications will import mail from these files if you do not have Outlook available. Please check your email application to ensure it supports PST files. 

In order to access your exported email, return to the main screen in Outlook. 

Click the File menu, select Open & Export again, then select, Open Outlook Data File.

In the Open Outlook Data File explorer window, navigate to your exported file, select it and click, OK.

The file will display in your folder list. Expand that to access the backup of your email.

Note: You may want to re-run the archive process if new email arrives which you would like to backup after the initial archiving has completed.


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Article ID: 26912
Fri 3/10/17 9:41 AM
Sat 2/18/23 7:33 PM