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How to properly backup PST files

PST (personal storage table) is a type of file used by Microsoft. It contains stored copies of emails, calendar events, and other data belonging to users in Microsoft software, such as exchange, outlook, and windows messaging. One benefit of PST files is that they are easily transferrable from one software to another. PST files are stored on the local computer. Because of this, backing up PST files is very important to do in case the machine's data drive gets corrupted where recovery is not feasible.


Many software exists that can provide the ability to backup pst files. These include a traditional backup, where the software backs up the pst files from one machine to another.

One type of backing up these files is through the cloud, where the data is stored on the internet. Backing up to the cloud has its advantages, which include reduced costs and less configuration. However, cloud backups also come with disadvantages. Since the backup is on another provider, your data can be viewed by someone else, causing privacy issues. Additionally, you are more dependant on the provider, especially when you want to restore some files.

Using a traditional backup will be a challenge for pst files, due to the size of the files and how often the file is in use.


1. Files are often too big

Pst file size can get large over time; they can easily get to over 40GB. If you have tens of clients each with 40 Gigabytes of pst files to backup, your network performance will greatly be hindered due to the massive amount of bandwidth usage.

2. Files are in use

Typically, many users leave their programs running, especially email clients. Some programs require the backing up files to not be in use for it to be backed up. This is because certain files get locked up by the operating system when the file is in use. This will be a problem when clients are still using the emails clients where the pst files are locked.

3. Multiple versions will typically consume significant more disk.

Backup software can keep multiple versions of the data. This is useful when a user needs to restore data that was saved at a specific time or a specific version. However, the disadvantage of doing is this that the file size for keeping all the versions will be significantly higher. This will fill up your disk space very quickly, especially when multiple users have many pst files to back up.

With the challenges above, it's important to make sure you have the right backup software that can overcome these hurdles. Syncrify, a multi-tier based backup solution, can handles these challenges to ensure backing pst files is quick and efficient.

1. Syncrify uses delta backup to save bandwidth

Syncrify uses the Rsync algorithm for backups. This means that when backing up, only the delta blocks (or the changed data) will be pushed, so the entire file does not need to be transferred over. For example, if the 40 GB PST files have only changed a few KB of data after the last backup, the next backup will only send the couple KB of data to the destination server, not the entire file again.

2. Syncrify can backup locked files

Syncrify uses Volume Shadow Copy (VSS), which is a technology included in Microsoft Windows that allows taking manual or automatic backup copies or snapshots of data, even if it has a lock, on a specific volume at a specific point in time over regular intervals. This solves the issue where users can get their PST files backed up even if they have it currently running on their machine.

3. Syncrify uses versioning to save disk space

Syncrify can keep multiple versions of a backed-up file. These versions only contain the delta, meaning, it doesn't keep the entire file size for each version. This significantly reduces the disk usage on the server. Users can simply restore the specific version of a backed-up file.


With the importance of PST files, backing up is a requirement. Since the data is often large, one must be careful in making sure the backups run smoothly. Syncrify ensures the PST files are backed up correctly. It uses the Rsync algorithm so that only the delta files get copied over. Syncrify also can access the locked files when it is being used by another program. Lastly, it uses versioning to save disk space and lets the user restore a specific version of a file easily. When looking for the right solution to backup PST files, Syncrify is the right choice.

Created on: Jan 29, 2021
Last updated on: May 28, 2024


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