If you are anything like me, you keep all of your email, contacts, calendar items, and notes in Microsoft Outlook. Tell me honestly. . . .how would you feel if all of that information just disappeared? I can tell you right now. . . .I would be lost. So let’s talk about how to back all this information up. If you are a typical computer user, your information is stored on the C:\ drive of your computer. Windows uses the default directory structure of C:\Documents and Settings\username\ etc, to store data for most programs. I don’t use this structure. When I install a program and it asks me where I want to store my data, I point it to c:\Mary’s Stuff. This is a folder I created to store all my data. I have a sub-folder for each program. It just makes it easier for me to find. . . and back up, “my stuff”. Additionally, I have an external hard drive permanently connected to my computer. I drag and drop the C:\Mary’s Stuff folder to the hard drive once a week. Depending on the amount of data you have to back up, your method can include an external hard drive, a CD burner (most computers sold today come with those preinstalled), or a USB Jump drive. So, here are the steps you need to take to back up your Outlook data: 1. Identify where your Outlook data files are stored. From Outlook, click on the File Menu, and then choose Data File Management. Highlight your main data file (most people only have one, so don’t freak out if you don’t see more than one), and then choose Open Folder. 2. Now that the folder is open, you should see at least one file in there with a file extension of .PST. That is your main Outlook data file. It may be called Outlook.pst. If your Outlook is set up to archive mail, you might also have an archive file in that folder. 3. Right click on the PST file and choose Copy from the menu. (If you have more than one file, hold down the CTRL key while clicking the files). Then right click on one of the files and choose Copy. 3. Using the address bar at the top of the Explore window, Click on the drop down arrow on the extreme right of the address field. Choose the spot where you want to paste the files. (I choose Local Disk (F:) for my external hard drive). Then click on the Edit menu, and then Paste. If you are backing up to CD, then you may get a message in the Systray (lower right corner of your monitor), that you have new files to burn to the CD. Do NOT skip this step. On my computer, I have Windows XP as my operating system, and I use Outlook 2003 as my email program. Slight variations may arise if your operating system is different, or your version of Outlook is different. If you need assistance with this, feel free to contact me at computerdiva at comcast dot net.
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