How to Take Backup of IMAP Mails Configured with MS Outlook?

Admin | Cloud Backup Email Conversion email migration How to's Software Technology | 5 minutes read | Last updated on February 8th, 2023,

Keeping a backup of Outlook data is always a good option even if you are having your profile configured with an IMAP server that too maintains a copy of your data. The reason for saving a local backup is that a few folders that you create on your local Outlook profile are specific to the system on which Outlook is installed and are non-existent to the mailing server. In case any disastrous situation, you may lose your data that you might have saved in your local folders.

When we configure any IMAP mailing server with MS Outlook, then it maintains a local copy of the of the mailbox data that is present on the server. This local file is saved with the .ost extension. It is Offline Storage Table file and allows users to work continually on their mailboxes even when their system isn’t connected with the mailing server. Therefore to ensure the safety of the OST file, it’s better to frequently keep its backup.

Troubles with Outlook 2016 and 2013 Backups

Until Outlook 2010, saving a backup of IMAP configured user accounts was pretty simple, as compared to its upgraded editions, Outlook 2013 and 2016. Earlier email messages were saved in one PST and calendars and contacts were saved in another PST. As users were saving and maintaining each PST file separately, there was no threat to data security. But unfortunately, with Outlook 2013, everything has become chaotic. Major changes have been done in how IMAP accounts are handled. Instead of using two data files, one for emails and another for contacts and calendars, the current Outlook 2013, 2016 and above editions store contacts, calendars, notes, tasks, appointments etc. Now what does that mean? It means that all user items (emails, contacts, calendars, tasks, notes etc.) are saved within one file. The only place where data is divided is when user is viewing it in MS Outlook application. Within Outlook application, Contacts, Calendars, and other non-email data etc. are stored in their respective folders and are labelled as “This computer only”.

This type of storage method shows that although an automatic backup of IMAP messages is getting done, but the same task isn’t getting performed for contacts and calendars. Both these data items are present only on the local system. Therefore, when something disastrous situation occurs like accidental data deletion, virus intrusion, hard drive crash or formatting etc. you may lose your important contacts, calendars and other mailbox data.

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The only resort to avoid such a stressful situation is to search a perfect way of manually backing up of local folders. If you are also searching for some methods to save IMAP OST file backup including contacts, calendars and all other local folders, then follow the next section of the blog.

How to Take Backup of IMAP Mails, Contacts, Calendars Manually?

The most convenient method of saving backup of emails configured as IMAP in Outlook OST file is to convert them into PST file. Keeping regular backup of contacts and calendars and other folders data as PST will ensure complete backup of user data. And it will keep you PST file light and away from any corruption risks.

Important : Exporting an Outlook OST file to PST file comes with another crucial advantage of enabling users to transfer their mailbox data to a different computer. You can move a PST file to another machine, but that isn’t the case with OST files. Thus by exporting your OST files to PST format, you can easily transfer your Mailbox data between different machines.

Now, follow the below mentioned steps to know how to take backup of IMAP mails, contacts, calendars, configured with MS Outlook to PST format, using inbuilt Import-Export wizard available in Outlook 2016/2013 editions:

  • Open Outlook and choose File -> Open & Export -> Import/Export from the top menu
  • Now select Export to a file
  • Choose Outlook Data File (.PST), and click on Next
  • Now choose the email account from which you want to export data. You can export data of only one account at a time
  • Check Include subfolders checkbox to export complete user account data including Calendar, Contacts, and Inbox and all other folders
  • Click on the Next. Now, select the destination where you want to save the exported file.

Note : This method will export all user folders and folder structure, but it won’t export Meta data like folder properties.

Is there any Alternative Solution to Resolve this Problem?

Although Manual conversion of OST file to PST involves a few simple steps but it might create some issues. It may happen that the manual method may not export all folder contents and in some situations, may fail completely. But you don’t need to worry about any kind of situation. You can take help of an automated solution that will definitely help you resolve your queries regarding how to convert Outlook OST data files to PST file. The software is very simple to use and is helpful for both technical and non-technical users. It comes fully loaded with various advanced features that provides assured migration of unlimited Outlook Offline data files to PST format in single processing, and without any data loss. An OST file consists of complete user data – emails, contacts, calendars, notes, journals etc. and the software successfully convert all these data items to PST, without missing a single bit of data. Moreover, Users can use various filters to choose what data they want to save as PST. Encryption in OST file is not at all an issue for this utility that successfully decrypts encrypted OST file and converts to desired output format.

If you are looking for some direct solution for saving backup of emails configured as IMAP, then you must use IMAP Export Tool. It’s a highly advance utility that enables users to move multiple IMAP configured user accounts mailbox data to PST, PDF, EML, MBOX, MSG, Office 365, Exchange Server and more.

Its Time to Wrap Up

Converting Outlook OST database to PST file will definitely help users in various situations like saving backup of local OST folders or open an orphan OST file directly in Outlook or transfer Outlook OST files between two computers. In this blog, we have discussed both manual and automated solutions to solve your problems. Another method is also provided to help you understand how to take backup of IMAP mails configured with MS Outlook. You can try any of them as per your choice and convenience.