Troubleshoot backups of Microsoft Outlook data with CrashPlan

This article applies to all products.png


If you are experiencing problems backing up your Microsoft Outlook data (PST or OLM files), review the solutions listed below.


This article describes troubleshooting steps for rare situations. Most users can follow the steps in Backing Up Microsoft Outlook Data.

Backing up enterprise email
In server-based email configurations (such as enterprise environments or email clients using Exchange or IMAP), backing up email stored on your device may be unnecessary because your email is also stored on the email server. Contact your email provider with questions about your email storage.


The CrashPlan app backs up open files (like your Outlook .pst file when Outlook is open) using Microsoft's built-in VSS technology. Problems backing up this data most commonly occur in systems with:


To eliminate issues with the Windows Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS), clear your VSS snapshots. You must have administrative privileges for the device to perform these steps.

  1. Go to the Windows Start menu
  2. Search for cmd
  3. Right-click on cmd.exe and select Run as Administrator
  4. In the command prompt, enter this command:
    vssadmin delete shadows /all
  5. Press Enter

It may take up to 24 hours for VSS to rebuild its snapshot in order for the CrashPlan app to successfully back up the PST. If the issue persists after 24 hours, see the alternative solutions below or contact our technical support team.

Alternative solutions

Solution 1: Separate backup set

Create a separate backup set with specific settings optimized for backing up your PST file.

  1. Open the CrashPlan app.
  2. Create a new backup set.
  3. Change the file selection of your new backup set to include only the PST file location.
    For the default location of your PST file, see Outlook File Locations below.
  4. Select settings_icon.png Settings.
  5. Select Backup Sets.
  6. Change the Backup Schedule to Only run between specified times.
  7. Select a time window when Outlook is usually closed.
  8. Wait for the new backup set to back up completely.
  9. Change the file selection of your other backup set to exclude the PST file.

Solution 2: Back up copy of PST file

As an alternative to backing up the PST file directly, you can use a two-stage process:

  1. Use another application to copy your PST file.
  2. Back up the copy with the CrashPlan app.

This process grants the CrashPlan app full access to back up the copied file, because it is not actively in use.

There are tools available for copying your PST file, including:

To copy and back up the file:

  1. Select a PST copy tool.
  2. Configure the tool to copy your PST file as needed (for example, once per day).
  3. Change your backup file selection to include the copied PST file.
  4. Wait for the copy of the PST file to back up completely.
  5. Change your backup file selection to exclude the original (non-copy) PST file.



If you have problems with your Outlook backups:

  1. Export your OLM file.
  2. Back up the copy with the CrashPlan app.

This process grants the CrashPlan app full access to back up the exported file because it is not actively in use.

To back up the exported file:

  1. Export or manually archive your Outlook data.
  2. Change your backup file selection to include the exported OLM file.

Outlook file locations

The default location of your Outlook Data File depends on your operating system and Outlook version.

Operating System Outlook Version File Location
  • Outlook 2019
  • Outlook 2016
  • Outlook 2013
  • Outlook 2010
C:\Users\<username>\Documents\Outlook Files
  Outlook 2007 C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Outlook
  • Outlook 2019
  • Outlook 2016
/Users/<username>/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/Outlook/Outlook 15 Profiles/Main Profile
  Outlook 2011 /Users/<username>/Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2011 Identities/Main Identity

External resources

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful

Articles in this section

See more