Backing Up Emails in Windows 7

December 3, 2010, By Christian Cawley

Losing emails is never good – but quite common. With different ways of delivering emails to out email clients come different challenges in managing and finding the messages we want and discarding those that we don’t.

To ensure that nothing is ever lost, many users employ the services of the backup tools that are built into many popular email clients. This way, they surmise, if the email gets deleted from the mailbox (the store of emails on your computer) then it can be restored from a backup.

This is of course, absolutely true – but how do you find the backup tool in your particular email client?

Microsoft Outlook

Backing up emails in Microsoft Outlook is comparatively easy, and can be completed in a matter of minutes depending on the size of the mailbox.

To get started, open Outlook and on the left pane identify and select the mailbox you wish to backup. Next go to File > Import and Export and select Export to a file. In the next screen, select Personal File Folder (.pst) and select the folder you wish to backup; the wizard should default to the one you selected above. If you want the sub-folders to be exported, mark the Include Subfolders checkbox.

Click Next to continue and Browse to the location you wish to Save exported file as, and give it a name. Click Finish to complete the export.

When using this method, note that if you export a PST file with the same name as a previous export, you have additional options to Replace duplicates, Allow duplicates and Do not export duplicate items, so choose the most appropriate option for your needs.

Mozilla Thunderbird

Configuring a manual backup of your emails in Mozilla Thunderbird is a little tricky, but can be done in a just few minutes. In the mail client, got to Tools > Account Settings and on the left pane look for Local Folders; in the Message Storage section you should see Local directory: and a file path which you will need to copy.

Go to Start > Search and paste the file path into the box – the folder will appear in the search results so click it to open. This is the location where you emails are stored and by going up a couple of levels to the Profile folder you should have all you need to back up your email messages. You can then save these folders to a removable USB flash device or DVD, for instance.

Third Party Solutions

Alternatively you might prefer the advantage of a third party email backup solution such as MailStore. While this tool is available on a subscription basis for corporate users, home users get their own version, MailStore Home available from

With this tool downloaded and installed you can access and backup POP3 and IMAP mailboxes, email accounts configured in Windows Mail and Outlook Express, Mozilla Thunderbird and SeaMonkey, Gmail, Yahoo Mail (with an appropriate subscription) and Microsoft Exchange accounts and all email accounts setup in Microsoft Office Outlook. Backups can be browsed and even saved to CD or DVD, making this a great additional layer of backup support.

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