Dear FileSlinger clients, colleagues, and friends:
It occurred to me earlier this week that you could all just create reminders for yourselves in Outlook or ACT! or whatever calendar program you use, and then your computer would automatically notify you to make your backups, and you wouldn’t need me to send reminders to you.
In fact, it’s probably a good idea to do this. It’s easy for one e-mail message to get lost in a sea of others, but Outlook’s reminders are determined to get your attention, popping up a dialog box and playing a noise. (You can actually turn off the sound.) Indeed, my handheld PC will turn itself on and chime dulcetly at me from across the room whenever it’s someone’s birthday or I have an appointment, and it will keep doing it until I get up, open the machine, and tap the appropriate dialog box.
If anybody doesn’t know how to create a reminder, let me know. Otherwise I’ll assume you can do this. (But you’ll have to let me know if that means you want me to stop sending the newsletter.)
It’s important to back up those reminders themselves. If you’re making a full system backup, then your calendar files will be backed up along with everything else. But if you’re just backing up your data, make sure you remember to copy all those reminders.
If you use Outlook, your calendar is stored in your outlook.pst (Personal Folders) file, along with your Inbox and your Contacts and all other Outlook information (like your mail sorting rules). To back up the calendar, you have to back up the .pst file.
The Personal Folders Backup tool for Outlook 2000, 2002/XP, and 2003 (available for free from Microsoft) allows you to back up your Outlook data without having to go digging through Windows Explorer to find and copy your .pst file by hand. (For detailed information about this tool and how to use it, see the Microsoft website).
Since Windows XP doesn’t even want you to be able to find your .pst files, this is a definite advantage.
Once you install it, “backup” will appear as a choice on the File menu. The “Options” button lets you specify how often you want to be reminded to back up your personal folders, where to put the backup copy, and which of those folders (if you have more than one .pst file) you want to back up. My Personal Folders Backup is set for weekly reminders, and it saves the backups on my external hard drive.
Unlike archiving or exporting, the Backup Personal Folders tool makes a complete copy of your .pst file instead of moving only some of the information elsewhere.
If you need more help backing up Outlook—or anything else—just let me know.
More backup news next week,