Home business built around MS Outlook 2007. How best to transfer to new PC & backup?

I have an eBay business and it has turned out over the years my use of Outlook 2007 is absolutely mission critical in being able to look up past sales going back 2-3 years and double check shipped inventory. I use gmail for all my other email but for what it does outlook is better for this little niche use and I would like to keep using it.

Toward that end I realize that if this program crashes re software damage or the hard drive dies I’m boned. I would like to do 2 things.


1:Upgrade to a new PC and transfer Outlook smoothly to the new PC

2: Back up Outlook regularly once installed.

I realize Outlook is not like normal programs and that it is sometimes a bear to move over smoothly because of its modular nature.

What software or procedures do I need to smoothly accomplish this transfer then backup?

Wow… not … even a tumbleweed!

>>a lonely whistling wind sweeps across the empty thread<<

Well, since no expert has weighed in, I’ll try. I’m just an Outlook user though, so take what I say with a grain of salt. My advice is worth what you’re paying for it. That said,

Get your new machine and just install Office (or whatever Microsoft sells that includes Outlook). Outlook stores all your emails, contacts, and such in a folder with a PST suffix. You should be able to copy your current PST file to a removable drive of some kind. Then you should be able to use the new Outlook on your new machine to “recover” or “restore” from your old PST copy. There’s a recovery facility built into Outlook, somewhere I’m too lazy to look for right now. That should get your whole body of data into your new hardware/software.

For backups, Outlook also has its own built-in system. But I use a freeware program called Safe PST Backup. And I use Dropbox. Set up Safe PST Backup to send a backup into your Dropbox. You can set it to do this multiple times a day if you wish. It runs in the background and does not interfere with the operation of Outlook. Then you always have a current backup “on the cloud” in your Dropbox. Anything happens to your Outlook, you can always restore from the backup. I work with Outlook all day myself, and I have backups sent at 10am, 1pm and 5pm.

Of course, to be really safe, you may want to also copy a backup onto some other safe place, like that removable drive. Do this every week and, no matter what happens, you will not lose more than one week’s work. Annoying, even costly, but not fatal. And this will (or should) only be necessary if Outlook corrupts your files without you noticing, and those corrupted files get sent to Dropbox. Incidentally, that’s one reason my first backup isn’t sent until 10am. That gives me time to notice if anything wonky has happened to my Outlook files, before they get sent out to over-write last night’s 5pm copy.

I think there’s a pay-version of the backup utility that gives you additional options, like multiple destinations, if you think that to be necessary.

ETA – you can of course use Dropbox and Safe PST Backup right now, on your old machine. When you get your new one set up you’ll be able to “restore” directly from the PST file in your Dropbox.


Outlook stores it’s data in a .pst file. There may be more than one especially if you archive older emails. Do a search in Windows Explorer for *.pst. Copy them to a DVD or USB drive for backups. If things are really important, make sure to store them ‘off-site’ like at your work in case something like a fire destroys your computer or home.

When you get a new PC first install Office and Outlook. Next copy your pst files from the old computer and import them into the new Outlook. In Outlook 2010 it’s in the File tab, Open, Import.

In the long run you probably want to backup the entire computer as you probably have thing more than just Outlook that are imporant. One way is to get an external hard drive of about 2 or 3 TB that is USB3 compatible . Most come with some kind of software for doing backups. Or there’s the free version of EaseUS ToDo Backup which is what I use. Again you might want to get more than one of these external hard drives to store your backups off-site. I do.

I guess I should have read CannyDan’s post first. Seems he beat me to it.

Several things you can do.

  1. back up the *.pst files
  2. export your contacts (if this is where you keep your contacts). There are lots of format choices. I like exporting to Excel as a back up.
  3. When you upgrade to a new machine, use the Windows "easy file transfer’ system. Search on the term. You save from the PC you will transfer from, and then install to the new PC. Actually, this can also be used as a back up system.
  4. I believe that you can also synch this through OneDrive (used to be called SkyDrive) and save your email in the cloud. Hotmail/live/Microsoft.com free mail service or use Office 365 subscription service.

The easiest is to first back up the *.PST files. Second, use easy file transfer to a external disk drive and then reinstall on a new PC.