Microsoft Office Outlook (Outlook XP/2002, Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007) Personal Folders (PST) Backup Tool

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Many users use Microsoft Office Outlook (i.e. Outlook XP/2002, Outlook 2003 or Outlook 2007) as their default e-mail client, contact list manager and daily management tasks organizer. Over time, it’s common to have Outlook contain all your important email messages, contacts information, calendar entries, appointment details, essential notes, critical to-do tasks and other personal data. To safeguard your important data against data loss and theft, it’s crucial to backup all your data — imagine what would happen if your hard disk got corrupted or if you accidentally formatted your computer and lost all your data!

Thankfully, the later versions of Microsoft Outlook stores all data in .pst (Personal Folders) files, which makes it very easy for backup and restore purposes. Each .pst file contains all of your Outlook folders, including the Inbox, Calendar, and Contacts. You can have a single .pst file, but you might also have an additional .PST file that you use for archiving.

Compare Personal Folders Backup, exporting, and archiving

There are three ways to back up your Outlook e-mail messages, contacts, appointments, tasks, notes, and journal entries — the Personal Folders Backup tool, exporting, and archiving.

Personal Folders Backup tool is used to copy your entire .pst file or files to your hard disk or to a network server or share.

Export is used to create a file containing Outlook information, but still keep the original data in your folders. You can only export one folder at a time.

Archive is used to move the items that you want to back up out of your folders.

Microsoft provides a Outlook add-in named the Personal Folders Backup plugin that can create backup copies of your .pst files at regular intervals (only for Outlook 2002 and later versions), backing up all of your Outlook folders easily and automatically.

Outlook PST Backup

Personal Folders Backup offers several options. For example, you can choose which .pst file you want to back up, and how often you want to back them up. Before you begin the backup process, you might want to check the size of your .pst file. If you have multiple folders in your .pst file, you must select the top-level folder to determine the total file size for all the folders. Make sure that the file sizes tally.

To install the Microsoft Outlook Personal Folders Backup tool:

  1. Download the tool from the Microsoft Office Online site by clicking the Download link and following the instructions in the dialog boxes
  2. Make sure that you quit Outlook
  3. Double-click the Pfbackup.exe program file on your hard disk
  4. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the installation
  5. Start Outlook

Instructions for use:

  1. The Personal Folders file (.pst) that you want to back up must be open. If the file is visible in Folder List, it is open
  2. On the File menu, click Backup
  3. Click Options
  4. In the Backup these personal folders files list, select the check box for each item you want to back up
  5. Change the .pst file name shown. Or, to select a different folder, click Browse, navigate to the location you want, and then click Open
    Note: The default file name and location where the .pst file is saved is shown in the File location box
  6. To have Microsoft Outlook automatically remind you to make a backup copy of this file, select the “Remind me to backup every x days” check box, and then type the number of days between 1 and 999
  7. Click OK
  8. Click Save Backup
    Note: The items selected will not be backed up until you quit Outlook

You can download Personal Folders Backup add-in for Office Outlook 2002/2003/2007 from Microsoft Download Center (OGA validation required). Or, you can also download the setup file pfbackup.exe from the following direct download links:

English (US) edition
Spanish edition
German edition
Simplified Chinese edition
Greek edition
Russian edition


  • Personal Folders Backup tool only backs up .pst files. If you have an Exchange Server mailbox, your server mailbox folders should already be backed up by your Exchange Server administrator.
  • If you are using an East Asian operating system with an English version of Microsoft Office, you cannot use this download.

The Personal Folders Backup tool is designed for use in Outlook 2002 and later, and provides a quick and easy way to back up your Outlook data to your hard disk or network. After you back up your information, you can even copy these backups of your Outlook data to a removable media such as a CD, DVD, or external hard drive. The backup files are exact copies of the original files and are saved in the same file format. You can receive periodic reminders to back up your files.

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