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haggis999

Guidance requested on Outlook PST files backup strategy

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I am seeking suggestions on how best to handle backups of MS Outlook PST files. My active PST file is 1.7GB and I have several archive PST files, two of which are about 3.6GB.

 

At present, my Outlook PST files are stored in a folder within My Documents on my Windows 7 PC. I recently set up a scheduled daily backup of My Documents, replacing my previous rather ad hoc manual backup regime. This daily backup has highlighted a problem of excessive growth of the size of my backups. The problem is that almost all my PST files change their timestamp on a daily basis, even for archive files I have not knowingly modified. It may be that simply having them listed in my Outlook window causes an update every time I open Outlook. The bottom line is that my backup file size increases by about 11GB every day even if very little data has changed.

 

I cannot be the first to grapple with such a problem. Any guidance on a better way to deal with Outlook backups would be appreciated.

 

David

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You're not alone.  Our response to this Retrospect shortcoming is to backup our large collection of PST files only once a week and to only retain the two most recent of those weekly backups.  The bottom line is that Retrospect is poorly suited for large files in which only a few bytes change from day to day.  Restated, Retrospect needs modern deduplication capability but I doubt that lies in the near future, given that we've hoped for deduplication capability for the six or eight years we've used this product but it hasn't happened.

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I feared that there was no magic bullet for this problem. My plan is to follow your example and severely reduce the number of PST file backups. To this end, I have just moved my Outlook folder out of My Documents so that it will no longer be included in my normal daily backup.

However, my most urgent problem is that my existing Retrospect backup set (disk-based) is clogged up with loads of copies of my PST files and I have almost run out of disk space. The Retrospect User Guide tells me that I cannot delete files from a backup set. If this is true, am I forced to delete the entire backup set and thus throw away all the backups of other My Documents files I would prefer to keep?   

David

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You have two options:

 

1. Groom the oldest backups. That will remove all files from the oldest backups, but will let you keep the latest backups.

 

2. Use a temporary disk, transfer/copy the backups to that disk using a filter that will copy everything but the PST files. Then copy the backups back to the original disk.

 

Not ideal, but both options will let you keep backups.

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You have two options:

1. Groom the oldest backups. That will remove all files from the oldest backups, but will let you keep the latest backups.

2. Use a temporary disk, transfer/copy the backups to that disk using a filter that will copy everything but the PST files. Then copy the backups back to the original disk.

 

Not ideal, but both options will let you keep backups.

Hi Lennart,

Many thanks for those suggestions. I had already considered and rejected the grooming option, as it would remove far too many of the non-PST files, but your second idea looks very promising.

 

David

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