Backup & restore Outlook settings (and more)

An overview of the backup/restore methods for most common Outlook settings.

As a network administrator it probably happens more than you would like that you need to reset a Windows roaming profile or TS profile. No problem of course: you rename the current profile (for Windows roaming profile you rename both the local and the server profile), create a new one, and after a logoff/logon you can copy back the files from the Desktop, Favorites, and Documents folders.

And then you need to reconfigure Outlook. If you set back the necessary Exchange Server settings, configure AutoArchive, add PST(s) and maybe some other basic settings this will probably be sufficient. Don’t forget to set back additional mailboxes if the user had extra MBs configured …

Some users like to set all kinds of settings, but it’s not that obvious to backup/restore all of them. Here are some more settings you can backup/restore:


One thing you can easily restore are the AutoSignatures. You just need to copy the folder …\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data\Microsoft\Signatures to the new profile, and that’s it. This folder contains the HTM, RTF and TXT versions of the AutoSignatures.

Client rules:

For client rules you will need a working Outlook and backup the rules from within Outlook. Use Tools, Rules and Alerts, Options, Export Rules (Import Rules for import), to save/retrieve to/from a RWZ file.

Personal folders and Offlline Folders:

Note where the .pst and eventual .ost are kept !

Personal Address Book:

If still applicable (nowadays most of the time Outlook Contacts are used instead), also note the location of .pab file(s).

Some Outlook backup/restore information sources:

Microsoft article, How to manage personal folders files in Outlook (IMO), at;en-us;Q196492 for more details. It also covers backing up, and restoring mails to/from pst files, and some other settings.

Outlook Backup Tutorial which covers Outlook 2007 Outlook 2003 Outlook 2000 Outlook Express:

Outlook: hoe maak ik een back-up? also describe some third party tools.


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