.pst files are not backed up? or are they?

New user … I saw in another post that maybe .pst files are not backed up?  (Outlook mail files)  

So question … are .pst files backed up?  

Sorry … but that would make *no* sense whatever if they are not backed up!  Backing up my contacts in the pst files is a primary purpose for back-up!  

Hello JanuaryEight,

My experience is that PST files were backed up under SW but they are definitely not backed up satisfactorily under SW 1.6 – see my posts under the ‘Software Update - WD SmartWare Version 1.6.0 for Windows’ string.

I have managed to back them up by opening SmartWare and then exiting (this is to start WDBackupEngine.exe but close WDSmartWare.exe), opening and closing Outlook (this may not be necessary) and then leaving it for a few hours.  Windows Explorer has then showed the PST file as backed up on my Passport, but when I’ve opened SmartWare again it is still shown as pending.  This is totally unsatisfactory.

Others have reported being unable to backup PST files.

You will probably be aware that even if SmartWare is working correctly Outlook must be closed for the PST file to be backed up and it then takes up to ten seconds.  This is similar to a Word file having to be closed before it is backed up.

If you’ve already installed SmartWare it’s probably worth trying, but not otherwise.

Thanks … sobering! 

Does the built-in Windows Backup do a better job of backing-up .pst files?  Does Outlook have to be closed there too?

I don’t know, but it can scarcely do a worse one. 

I can see the logic of only backing up when Outlook is closed, because there is constant change (in the same way that a Word file has to be closed, because you can’t back up every key stroke) but I haven’t used Windows Backup.

Two further comments. 

By design it appears that Outlook files are only backed up once in 24 hours because they keep changing see http://wdc.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7072.  This does not seem very helpful to me – I want  backed up files to be up to date.  Bearing in mind that PST files only seem to be backed up at the point when Outlook is closed, this seems an unnecessary restriction.

I’ve also noticed that PST files which Explorer shows as backed up are shown as ‘failed to backup’ by SmartWare.

These may explain some of the ‘not backing up’ queries.

Does the “once-every-24-hours” back-up occur only in the 1.5.9 version(s)?  Does the back-up occur in the 1.6.0 version?  I think you said that back-up doesn’t reliably occur in the new version for some reason …

SW backed up the PST files at the point when Outlook was closed, usually within about 10 seconds.  I was turning SmartWare on and off manually, because of the WDFME problem, and usually only backed up once a day so any 24 hour rule would not have been obvious.

With SW 1.6 the behaviour seems to have changed and several people have reported that their PST files are not being saved. 

My own experience is that the files seem to be backed up although SmartWare says they aren’t.  For example Outlook was closed yesterday evening soon after 23.00.  By 23.15 my PST file was backed up in the swstor showing a ‘modified time’ of 15.22 on 15 May, which I think was when I had opened Outlook. 

However SmartWare says ‘Partial Backup Accomplished’ and that the PST is a file which ‘Failed to Backup’.  Under ‘View Files’ it says the reason is ‘File pending backup’ with a time of ‘5/15/2012   11:10:19 pm [ie 23:10]’.  So the file waiting to be backed up, and which failed to back up (according to SmartWare), appears to be a file which has been backed up (according to Explorer).

The ’24 hour’ rule may explain why PST files were backed up when I left SW running for several hours with Outlook closed.

This pattern of behaviour has been consistent since I installed SW 1.6.

I have re-opened and closed Outlook several times since then and the PST file has not been backed up which seems to confirm the ‘once every 24 hours’ rule.  SW still says ‘File pending backup’ with a time of ‘5/15/2012   11:10:19 pm’.

So; I suspect that the 24 hour rule applied with SW but I don’t know; SW 1.6 is probably backing up the PST files but telling me (and other users) that it is not.  I haven’t tested a Retrieve. 

I have reported this to WD.

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Golly - what a mess … and pst files are a primary file that needs to be backed-up!  It will be interesting to see what WD has to say.  Thanks for your follow-up about all this …