How to Backup IMAP Emails Using MS Outlook?

Himanshu Goyal
Himanshu Goyal | Updated On - 22 Jun 2022 |

Read time 8 minutes

Whether you’re a working professional or a self-employed individual, you might be using email for your work-related communications. Email clients like MS Outlook make emailing activities easy for individuals and organizations.

IMAP is the email standard for synchronizing the emails in the server with your email client. In the email client, you can see the message subject and body, and you can set up the email client on any digital device to access your emails.

IMAP is flexible to move or delete the email without downloading it into the system. Any changes done on any device will reflect in all the devices. However, just like any digital data, IMAP data is also vulnerable to various threats. So, taking a routine backup is an effective method to keep the mailboxes secure. But do you know how to backup your IMAP data from Outlook?

Why is IMAP Backup Necessary for a Business?

The business does not want to lose any of its data, whether essential or not. The older data may be moved to an archive folder, creating a separate archive folder. The data loss can occur due to application crashes, malware/virus attacks, physical damage to the computer, data theft due to phishing, or user mismanagement.

Saving the organization’s data can be a highly beneficial activity because the business process may fail if the data is lost, and no backup is available for restoration.

Backup IMAP Data from Outlook

When you configure Outlook with an IMAP account, it stores a local copy of IMAP mailboxes in OST format, and with the help of this file, users can continue working on their mailboxes. But, if this OST file gets corrupted or removed accidentally, you wouldn’t be able to access the IMAP data without establishing a connection with the mailing server. So, it’s necessary to continuously backup your IMAP data.

Here we have mentioned some methods which you can use to backup IMAP mailboxes in Outlook.

Instant Solution

Manual Method to Backup IMAP Account Configured with Outlook

One of the fastest methods to backup IMAP emails is to use the “Import/Export” option of Outlook 2013/2016. With the help of the Import/Export wizard, an OST file can easily be converted to PST format. Follow the below steps to understand the process:

  1. Open Outlook 2013/2016 and go to the File tab.
  2. Now, select Open & Export and click Import/ Open and Export and click Import/Export
  3. The Import and Export Wizard will appear on the screen. Select Export to a file and click Next.
    Import and Export Wizard
  4. Select Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next.Select Outlook Data File (.pst)
  5. Now, select the IMAP folder you want to backup and click the IMAP folder
  6. Note: With this method, you can backup only one mailbox at a time

  7. Select the location where you want to save this file and click Finish.Select the location to save the file

This way you can easily backup IMAP mailboxes manually. But there are some complications with the manual methods, such as you can lose your data if an error occurs. So, it’s better to choose an alternative way to backup IMAP mailboxes.

Complications with Manual Methods

We see right away that the manual method is free. However, over time, we realize it also has numerous limitations. Look at the disadvantages of manual methods.

  • Getting the mailbox data from the server is a very time-consuming process.
  • There are no advanced options, such as the filter option.
  • Manual methods may not work for all versions of Outlook.
  • The whole process takes a long time and needs to be repeated many times.
  • Technical expertise is required to perform this process. Human error is also possible, as is the risk of data loss.

Expert Recommendation is Kernel IMAP Backup

Backing up IMAP mailboxes with Outlook is a secure and reliable approach. But, if the process stops in-between due to any reasons or Outlook stops responding, then you might end up losing your data. That’s why an automated solution is the best approach to back up IMAP mailboxes. So, even if your system shuts down inappropriately, the data will not be lost.

Kernel IMAP Backup

If you don’t want to use MS Outlook to backup IMAP mailboxes, then there is a better alternative for it – Kernel IMAP Backup software, which allows you to backup IMAP mailboxes without using any third application. This software even allows you to set filters on IMAP mailboxes for selective data backup. Here, take a look at the working process of this great utility.

  1. Install and launch the software on your system.
  2. Download Software

  3. On launching the software, click the Add button to add an IMAP account.
    Click Add button to add IMAP account
  4. Add the credentials for the IMAP account with the server name and port number, and then click Add.
    Add IMAP credentials
  5. The IMAP account will be added to the screen, click the Set filter and Migrate.
    Set filter and migrate
    Note: You can backup multiple IMAP accounts with this software.
  6. In the next step, apply the filters to the IMAP mailbox based on your requirements and click I am OK Start Migration.
    Click I am OK Start Migration
  7. The Save As pop-up will appear on the screen, select the specific format in which you want to save the file and click OK. By Default, the PST file option is selected.
    Select file format to save
  8. Now, browse and select the folders where you want to save this file and click OK.
    Select location to save data
  9. The software will start to back up the IMAP mailbox; once it is complete, a notification will display on the screen, click OK to end the process.

If you want to save this report in CSV format, then click Save report to CSV. And that’s how you can easily backup IMAP mailboxes.

Video Tutorial: Backup IMAP Mailboxes to PST Using Kernel IMAP Backup Tool



Configuring the IMAP account in Outlook is a great way to manage your emails. But it is necessary to take regular backups of your IMAP mailboxes. In this article, we’ve shown you how to backup your IMAP emails using MS Outlook. While the process may seem daunting at first, it’s actually quite simple and can be done in a matter of minutes. If you follow these steps, you’ll have a safe and secure copy of all your important emails that can be accessed from any device or computer.

However, if you still find it difficult to do it yourself or don’t have the time for it, we suggest that you use our Kernel IMAP Backup tool which can take care of everything for you in just a few clicks. It is an easy-to-use and efficient tool that has been designed by experts. It will help you keep all your important emails safe and secure. Kernel IMAP Backup helps you create IMAP backups quickly without any hassle. Have you backed up your email messages yet? If not, download this tool for free now.

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