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Read time 5 minutes

Summary: The blog discusses the need to save IMAP mailbox data as PST files and offers three methods: Import and Export in Outlook, changing IMAP to POP3 settings, and using Kernel IMAP Backup software for efficient, Outlook-independent backups.

Email services such as Gmail, Outlook.com, and Yahoo store data locally in the OST format when set up with IMAP settings in email clients like Outlook 2010 and later versions. Nevertheless, OST data isn’t easily transferable. Therefore, it is strongly advisable to create a backup of this locally stored OST file to safeguard your IMAP mailbox data. To assist you in creating a backup, we’ve outlined some techniques for converting an IMAP mailbox into a PST file. Continue reading the blog to discover these methods.

Methods to Save IMAP Mailbox Data in PST

To save IMAP data in Outlook PST files, we can try the following methods.

  1. Import and Export Method
  2. Change IMAP Settings to POP3
  3. Use a third-party tool to export IMAP data to PST
Instant Solution

Kernel for IMAP Backup, an automated tool to save or backup IMAP Data to PST and various other file formats, including EML, MSG, MHT, HTML, DOC, DOCX & PDF.

Any of these methods can be used to save IMAP mailbox data to Outlook PST file as a backup.

A. Import and Export Method

Here’s a method for users to back up IMAP mailboxes using the Outlook application. Follow these steps: In Outlook, utilize the Import and Export feature by navigating to File > Open & Export > Import/Export. This feature allows you to export IMAP mailbox data to an Outlook PST file by selecting the “Export to a file” option. When doing so, ensure you choose “Outlook Data File (.pst)” as the preferred saving format. However, it’s worth noting that this method has a limitation—you can only move one mailbox at a time to a PST file.

B. Change IMAP Settings to POP3

This approach entails transitioning from IMAP to POP3 in your Outlook account settings. You can manually adjust the account settings with the appropriate server configurations. Following this modification, your IMAP data will be automatically archived in PST files.

C. Use a Third Party Tool to Export IMAP Data to PST

As we are aware, manual solutions are cost-free but often come with certain limitations, such as file size restrictions, limited choice of mailbox items, complexity, and extended processing time. On the other hand, professional tools like the Kernel IMAP Backup software offer a reliable and organized method for backing up various IMAP servers to Outlook PST files.

This software is capable of efficiently backing up emails, calendars, contacts, tasks, and more in a single operation. Additionally, it provides multiple filter options, allowing you to selectively choose specific items for backup. To gain a better understanding of how this tool works, please note that the following steps are provided in a summarized form for your reference.

  1. Just add your IMAP Server account with the login credentials (you can add multiple mailboxes from your IMAP Server account as well). Once added, click Set Filter and Migrate option to move further.
    Add mailboxes from your IMAP server
  2. Apply filters (Folder Review, Date Filter /Exclude empty/Exclude deleted folder, Skip previously migrated items, etc.) as per your requirements and then click Migrate. It will ask the file format for saving the data. Select PST and click OK.
    Select PST file format for saving the data
  3. Then, add a location on your system to save the PST file and click OK.Add location to save files
  4. The migration gets started and will show the completion message at the end.

Now you have a clear idea of how straightforward it is to preserve IMAP mailbox data as PST files using the Kernel IMAP Backup software. You can assess the tool’s efficiency by giving its trial version a try. One notable advantage of this method is that you don’t require Outlook to perform the IMAP data backup.


Email servers typically store data in OST format when configured within Outlook using IMAP settings. However, there are instances where it becomes essential to archive IMAP data into PST files. In this context, we have provided several backup methods to facilitate the conversion of IMAP mailbox data into PST format.

Video Tutorial: Backup IMAP Mailboxes to PST


Kernel IMAP Backup