Microsoft Outlook Backup Add-in not available

Personal Folders Backup Add-in buttonThe Personal Folders Backup add-in creates backup copies of your .PST files at regular intervals making it easy to keep all of your Outlook folders safely backed up.

Although the download site states that it only works with Outlook 2002, 2003 and 2007, it can actually be made compatible with Outlook 2010 as well with a Registry.

Unfortunately it can’t be made compatible anymore with Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016. However, for these versions, alternatives are available as well.


Backup command not available

In some cases after you install the backup add-in, the option File-> Backup… isn’t available and doesn’t appear to be installed. An attempt to reinstall the product however indicates that it has already been installed and the add-in also shows up in Control Panel-> Add/Remove Software.

This is often true when you have upgraded your Outlook version, updated the backup add-in or installed the backup add-in logged on as a different user.

Troubleshooting
  • Verify that you have the latest version of the Outlook Backup add-in installed to be sure you are not running an older incompatible version. Uninstall your current version and reinstall it from the above download location if you are not sure.
     
  • Make sure the Outlook Backup Add-in is listed and selected as an active add-in:
    • Outlook 2003 and previous
      Tools-> Options…-> tab Other-> button Advanced Options…-> button COM Add-Ins
    • Outlook 2007
      Tools-> Trust Center…-> Add-ins
    • Outlook 2010
      File-> Options-> Add-Ins
       
      If it is not listed, press the Add… or Go-> Add… button and browse to the following location:
      • 32-bit version of Windows
        C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE##\ADDINS\outbak.dll
      • 64-bit version of Windows
        C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\OFFICE##\ADDINS\outbak.dll
         
  • Reset the Toolbar (does not apply to Outlook 2010); all Toolbar customizations will be lost and the Toolbar will reset to what it looked like when you first installed Outlook. It will also add all the buttons and menu options created by add-ins again.
    To do this, locate outcmd.dat and rename it to outcmd.old when Outlook is closed. By default you can find it here:
    • Windows XP
      C:\Documents and Settings\%username%\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\
    • Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10
      C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Outlook\

Outlook Backup COM Add-in
Verify that the Outlook Backup Addin is listed and enabled.

Backup Add-in and Outlook 2010

Registry Editor buttonIf you are using Outlook 2010, you’ll find the command for the Personal Folders Backup Add-in on the Add-Ins tab in the Ribbon. However, due to shutdown changes in Outlook 2010, the backup- add-in will never be triggered to prompt you to make a backup of your Outlook data.

When adding the following key to your Registry, you’ll change the shutdown behavior of Outlook 2010 back to the shutdown behavior of Outlook 2007 SP2.

Key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Outlook\Addins\Microsoft.OutlookBackup.1
Value name: RequireShutdownNotification
Value type: REG_DWORD
Value: 1

Tip!
If you do not want to edit your registry manually, you can also apply the reg-file in this zip-download.

Backup Add-in and Outlook 2010 64-bit or Click to Run

The backup add-in only supports the 32-bit version of Outlook 2010. It does not support the 64-bit version nor does it support the Click-to-Run version.

When you try to install it on a computer with the 64-bit or Click-to-Run version of Outlook 2010 installed, you’ll the following error:

Setup has detected that you do not have Outlook 2000, Outlook 2002, or Outlook 2003 installed on this machine. Before this download can be installed you must first install Outlook or an Office family product that includes Outlook.

To continue to install the add-in, you must uninstall the 64-bit or Click-to-Run version of Outlook 2010 and install the 32-bit version. No settings or data will be lost during this process.

Backup Add-in and Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016

outlook.pst file buttonDue to deep technical changes to the mail profile in Outlook 2013, the Personal Folders Backup Add-in is no longer compatible at all with Outlook 2013 and later. The fixes mentioned above only apply to Outlook 2010 and will not work for Outlook 2013 not for Outlook 2016. However, it quite easy to backup the pst-files manually.

As the default location for pst-files in Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016 resides in the Documents folder, regularly backing up your Documents folder will also include your Outlook data. To create proper backups, make sure that Outlook is closed at that time (this basically applies to all applications).

There is also a project going on at GitHub called Outlook 2016 and Outlook 2013 Backup Add-In which offers similar functionality as the original backup add-in from Microsoft. It is also compatible with the 64-bit and Office 365 (Click to Run) version of Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016.

This add-in provides additional features over the original add-in too. For instance, it allows you to add a prefix or suffix to the filename of the backup and even execute a command or script afterwards. When you would point it to outlook.exe, Outlook will start again after completing the backup.