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Summary: Our guide covers three efficient methods for Office 365 mailbox backup to PST. You can utilize the Content Search eDiscovery method for a technical approach, opt for the user-friendly Kernel Office 365 Backup & Restore tool, or use Outlook for manual backup. Choose the method that suits your needs to ensure mailbox data protection.

The transfer of information among colleagues generally happens through email communication and Office 365 has made their lives much easier and hassle free. However, both end users and administrators often do not consider taking backup of their mailbox data seriously. They believe that their data is secure in the cloud. But to break this myth, there are various malicious activities which have the power to hamper your data, even in cloud storage. There are numerous reasons to back up your Office 365 mailboxes to a secure format like PST. Maybe you’re moving to a new organization and need to preserve your email data, or you’re trying to create an archive for compliance purposes. Whatever the reason, it is a good practice to backup Office 365 emails and other items.

Office 365 has an inbuilt method called Content Search eDiscovery which can help you to take backup to PST files. Also, there are a few Office 365 Backup tools that can securely export Office 365 mailboxes to PST files. Both these methods have been discussed in detail below.

Why do you need backup Office 365 mailbox to PST?

When you subscribe to Office 365, you entrust Microsoft with the important task of storing and managing your data. However, as any seasoned IT professional knows, relying on a single point of storage is never a good idea.

There are a few key reasons why you might need to backup Office 365 mailboxes to PST. First, if you plan to delete your Office 365 account, you’ll need to export your mailbox data so that you can move it to another account. Second, if you’re troubleshooting an issue with your Office 365 account, exporting your mailbox data can provide valuable information to support technicians. Finally, if you’re concerned about data loss due to hacker attacks or other security breaches, backing up your Office 365 mailbox can give you peace of mind. No matter what your reason for wanting to backup or export your Office 365 mailbox, the process is relatively simple and only takes a few minutes to complete.

There are a few key reasons why you might need to backup Office 365 mailboxes to PST-

  • Moving to a different account-
    If you are planning to delete or switch to a different Office 365 account, you will need to export all your mailbox data to ensure continuity of work.
  • Technical support-
    Second, if you’re troubleshooting an issue with your Office 365 account, exporting your mailbox data can provide valuable information to support technicians.
  • Regular backups of data-
    To keep your data protected from any kind of data loss due to hacker attacks or other security breaches, backing up your Office 365 mailbox can give you peace of mind.

Some other reasons could be changing to a different PC, moving from Windows to Mac operating system, hardware failures, unintendedly deletion of files, and decluttering inbox folders. No matter what the reason is, the process is relatively simple and takes only a few minutes to complete.

Methods to backup Office 365 mailboxes

Office 365 administrators can backup mailboxes using the Content Search eDiscovery method. But it requires much knowledge about Office 365 and the Exchange admin center. If you are a technocrat, then you should try this method to export Office 365 to PST for free. If you are a novice, then this method is not reliable for you. So, you should try third-party backup tools for Office 365. We will discuss both the methods here:

Content Search eDiscovery method to backup Office 365 mailboxes

Content Search eDiscovery tool is used to search and find data from the mailboxes/public folders of Exchange Online. Later, you can export this data to PST files for future use. To export Office 365 Mailbox to PST free, you need to log in to your Office 365 account and go to the Exchange Admin Center.

This manual method is performed in 3 major steps-

  1. Allocate required permissions
  2. Create a new content search
  3. Download in PST format

Exchange Admin Center
First, make sure that you are a member of the eDiscovery Manager role group. If you are not, add yourself. Without the necessary permissions, you can proceed ahead with the process.
eDiscovery Manager
Now you need to create a new Content search. In the Content search, you can select the mailboxes which you want to export. You can also filter your mailboxes before exporting. Finally, you can export this search.
select the mailboxes
Once the Office 365 export mailbox to PST process is completed, you can download the search results to your computer.
download the search results
By providing the export key that you get while downloading the search results, you can save your Office 365 mailboxes as PST files on your system. Once it is completed, you can use those files to access your mailboxes again in case of data loss.

Using PowerShell method

The following steps explains in detail the procedure for exporting a mailbox from Office 365 to PST via PowerShell method:

Step 1: Open the PowerShell application

To begin, you need to make sure that you are logged in as an admin & open the PowerShell application either through the Start menu or by using the Run dialog box.

Step 2: Connect to Office 365 Exchange Online

Next, create a new remote PowerShell session & connect to Exchange Online using your Office 365 tenant admin credentials. Use the following command in the PowerShell console:

$UserCredential = Get-Credential

$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

Import-PSSession $Session

Step 3: Export mailbox to PST

Once connected, execute the following PowerShell command & initiate the mailbox export process:

New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox [Mailbox Name] -FilePath [Path And FileName Of PST]

Replace `[Mailbox Name]` with the name of the mailbox to be exported, & `[Path And FileName Of PST]` with the path & name of the PST file where the mailbox will be exported.
For example:

New-MailboxExportRequest -Mailbox -FilePath C:\ExportedPSTs\sahilverma.pst

Note: The above command will export the entire mailbox content, including all subfolders, to the specified PST file.

Step 4: Complete the export process

After the export process is complete, you can use the following PowerShell command to remove the export request & finalize the process:

Remove-MailboxExportRequest -Identity [Export Request Name]

Replace [Export Request Name]`with the name of the export request that you want to remove.

Although, these manual methods does bring along a few limitations-

  • This is a complex process and requires detailed knowledge about all the utility.
  • To keep the PST file protected with a password becomes an issue.
  • Saving selective items is not feasible while using this method.
  • It might save duplicate items.

Export Office 365 Mailbox to PST via Outlook

To export Office 365 mailbox to PST from Outlook, follow the steps below.

  • Access Outlook and tap on the File menu.
  • From Open & Export, click on Import/Export.Import/Export
  • Click on Export to a file and hit Next.Export to a file
  • Select Outlook Data File (.pst) and click on Next.Select Outlook Data File
  • Choose the email account you wish to export. It is possible to export only one account at a time. Select the Include subfolders check box.Choose the email account you wish to export
  • Tap on Browse and specify the destination for saving the Outlook Data File (.pst). Type up the file name and hit OK.specify the destination for saving the Outlook Data File
  • Tap on Finish and export Office 365 mailbox to PST using Outlook.

Kernel Office 365 Backup & Restore

Kernel Office 365 Backup and Restore is a professional tool to backup single as well as multiple Office 365 mailboxes to PST files. Both end users and Office 365 administrators use this tool to backup the entire mailboxes or selective items of it.

  • Backup single and multiple mailboxes into PST files.
  • Add multiple mailboxes for backup using a CSV file.
  • Apply filters to do a selective backup of Office 365 mailbox data.
  • Option to exclude empty & deleted folder from the backup.
  • Save the backup summary report in a CSV file for reference.
  • Suitable for end users and Office 365 administrators.
The software process is simple, and these are the steps for it-
  1. Download the Kernel Office 365 Backup and Restore in your system and configure it.
  2. After launching the tool on your computer, select the Backup option from the home screen.Office 365 Backup & Restore Tool
  3. After that, click the Add button to add the Office 365 account. Then choose Basic Authentication mode.add the Office 365 account
  4. Enter the Office 365 account details that you want to backup. Select List all mailboxes, and then click Get User Mailbox(es) to display all the mailboxes of the Office 365 account. Select specific mailboxes for backup and click Add.Office 365 account
  5. In the next step, verify whether all the mailboxes are listed or not, and click Set Filter and Migrate.Set Filter and Migrate
  6. Select the migration type for each mailbox from the Migration Type Selection window and click Migrate.Migration Type Selection
  7. Apply filters to the mailboxes according to your requirements like item type, date, include/exclude folders, etc., and click I am Ok Start Migration.
    I am Ok Start Migration
  8. The Save As wizard will appear on the screen; select the output format in which you want to backup Office 365 mailboxes.Select the type of output
  9. Select the desired location to save the backup file and click OK. The tool will start to backup Office 365 accounts to PST; you can view the process on the screen.location to save the backup file
  10. Once it is complete, a notification will appear on the screen confirming the same. Click Ok to finish the process.finish the process
    Note: If you want to save the backup report to CSV, then click Save report to the backup report to CSV
Final words

In summary, we have discussed four methods for Office 365 mailbox backup to PST files. The manual approaches, using built-in export eDiscovery, Outlook, etc., offer control but demands effort. Alternatively, Kernel Office 365 Backup & Restore simplifies the process with a user-friendly tool. Select based on your preference or organizational needs, but always safeguard your PST files.

Kernel Office 365 Backup & Restore stands out as a robust, user-friendly solution for individuals and businesses. Its intuitive interface and diverse features make mailbox backup swift and straightforward. Try it for free today and safeguard your critical mailbox data effectively.


Q- Where are the Office 365 emails stored?

A- All the email messages, along with calendar items, contacts, notes, & tasks, are stored in the mailbox associated with the Microsoft 365 group. Moreover, they are also stored in a user’s mailbox. Office 365 stores data in the cloud, so users can access it from anywhere & at any time. It is a secure way of storing data as it is backed up & protected by Microsoft’s data centers.

Q- Can you backup the shared mailbox in Office 365?

A- To backup a shared mailbox in office 365, you can use the eDiscovery tool to create a search & export the mailbox contents to a PST file. This method, however, does require appropriate permissions & administrative access.

Q- How is the Office 365 data stored?

A- Office 365 offers a cloud-based solution for managing your mailbox data. The process of storing your data is secure & seamless, with your information being asynchronously transferred via HTTPS to an Office 365 server. From there, the data is sent via HTTPS to a Mailbox server that resides in the relevant data center. This method ensures that your information is kept safe & that data transfer occurs quickly & efficiently.