The Best Way to Backup Office 365 Mailbox to Local PST with Ease

Office 365 is a popular web-based email client provided by Microsoft. It enables its users to access emails from anywhere at any time whenever online. Some of its additional features include sharing files, working from mobile devices, cloud services amongst other benefits. There is often many lingering questions that remain in the mind of people using Office 365. Some of those queries include “Can one create Office 365 backup?”. If yes, then, “How to Backup and Restore Office 365 email?” and “What is the best way to backup Office 365 user account?”. Solution to export Office 365 user mailbox to PST has been discussed in this post.

Export Office 365 Mailbox to PST

How to Archive Exchange Online Mailbox?

There are a number of ways through which a user can download Office 365 mailbox to local or hard drive. Some of the possible solutions have been described below. Follow them step by step to export PST from Office 365 online.

Solution#1: Backup Exchange Online Mailbox to PST Using eDiscovery PST Export Tool

Most common and efficient method to backup Office 365 Exchange mailbox is to export it to PST file format. Outlook uses a personal storage file or PST to save all its mailbox data on the user’s local machine. One can archive all their mailbox data and save it in a ‘.pst’ file format.

An eDiscovery PST Export Tool is an inbuilt application provided by Microsoft. It helps to export Office 365 mailbox to PST file. This creates Office 365 Exchange backup by downloading email files, contacts and calendars to an Outlook PST format. It is considered to be the best way to backup Office 365 mailbox as it is free to implement.

To access this tool special privileges are needed. The use of eDiscovery tool is granted by an admin account holder. Follow the steps below to acquire the permissions needed to access the tool.

Step 1: Firstly, login to Office Account online with Administrator credentials.

Step 2: Next, Go to Admin>>Exchange like the image shown below

Step 3: Now, click Permissions from the left pane. Then, go to Admin Roles>>Discovery Management.

Step 4: From Discovery Management, click the ‘+’ sign to add Roles. Click on Mailbox Import Export below roles. Then, under Members, click the ‘+’ sign again and click once on the name of the user. After that, click Save.

Step 5: This will grant access to the eDiscovery Export tool. The member with the aforementioned username has been assigned the privilege can start the download process. Here is the step by step method to archive and export Office 365 mailbox to PST file format.

  • Firstly, go to the Exchange Admin Center (EAC)
  • Then, click Compliance Management from the left section
  • Next, click In-Place eDiscovery & Hold
  • Now, from the list-view select the mailbox items that are to be exported as a result of using In-Place eDiscovery
  • And then, click the download icon to start Export to a PST file.
  • Perform the following steps in the eDiscovery PST Export Tool and create Office 365 Backup
    • At first, click Browse to set the folder path where the resultant PST file will be saved
    • Next, tick the Enable deduplication check box to remove any duplicate emails. If their same message in more than one folder, then only one instance is saved in the PST file
    • Now, users can also check the box next to Include unsearchable items. This will add mailbox items that can not be reached by Exchange Search. Such items include email files with attachments that cannot be indexed during a search. Such email files are saved in a separate PST file
    • Finally, click Export to start the migration process to backup Office 365 mailbox to PST file. A process box will appear indicating the progress rate of the conversion process.

Limitations of Manual Process:

There are pros and cons to performing any technical process to archive Office 365 to PST. Some of the drawbacks of using manual procedure have been discussed below.

  • The exported PST file may not have the exact email header or formatting as was saved in Office 365 mailbox. At many time data integrity is compromised to fasten the process.
  • Administrative credentials are required for granting privileges. Knowledge about administrator accounts and handling roles and granting permission is needed. Any misstep can lead to dire results.
  • This approach can be very lengthy and time-consuming. Many users look for a workaround to performing the manual process and save time. At times, this process can become irrelevant considering alternative options.

Solution#2: Automated Solution to Download Office 365 Mailbox to PST

The overall manual procedure of granting permissions and using an inbuilt tool can be very tiring and complicated. Often users look for the alternative way to backup Office 365/Exchange Online user account. Many opt for using a third-party application to export mailbox data from Office 365.

Wrapping It Up

In light of advanced ways to attack an email client and its contents, users must archive their mailbox regularly. Emails are the most susceptible items that are prone to attacks as soon as an unknown attachment is opened. Often users look for ways to backup their mailbox using easy tools. One may approach the two different ways to archive/export the latest Office 365 mailbox data. Any of them can be described as the best way to backup Office 365 (Exchange Online/Outlook 365).