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Backup Your Data

Backup options for Outlook

Backup options for Entourage


  1. Quit all Microsoft applications before backing up IMPORTANT!
  2. Backup Basics
  3. Check for Corruption
  4. Backup Individual Items
    1. Restore single item from backup
  5. Archiving your e-mails with EagleFiler
  6. Using Automator and Entourage to back up the MUD folder
  7. Automated Backup with Shell and AppleScripts
  8. Backup Entourage with SuperDuper!
  9. Alternative method to use Entourage and Time Machine
  10. Entourage and Time-Machine-like backup (can be used by Tiger users)

Entourge How to

  1. Backup an individual mail folder
  2. Backup an individual email
  3. Backup Contacts
  4. New Backup Options Entourage 2004 and 2008
  5. Scripts to backup (uses FileMakerPro as runtime or your own version)
  6. Create cron job to backup
  7. Move my data to a new computer
  8. Use third party software to backup
  9. Location of preference files to backup
  10. AutoArchive Exchange Account to "On My Computer"
  11. Archive your data
  12. Tip to Organize Your Backups Chronologically
  13. Using Third Party Applications
  14. Tutorial: create a time-machine-like backup
    (can be used by Tiger and Leopard users)
  15. Optional method- backup Entourage with Time Machine
    Do this once a day, once a week...set your own option

Sync Services were added to Entourage 2004 with update 11.2.3. More info on Sync Services here.

Keys to a good backup:

Just like any data that's important, backup is key to good computing practices. Find an easy solution for your backup needs and DO IT! I suggest reading the Take Control of Mac OS X Backups for general backup of your Mac. Just make sure you backup regularly. Set a Task to remind you. You can also use Automator and iCal to automate the process. See tutorial.

As a general rule you should shut down all Office programs (including Office Notifications) before any Entourage backups. For this reason Time Machine is not recommended to backup your database since it will be in use. If you want to use Time Machine see this alternative.

If the database gets written during the backup you can either (1) lose some data or (2) have a corrupt backup file.

It's possible not to discover corruption and you could be backing up a corrupt file. This is why you should keep an archive and/or snapshot of older backups just in case. See this article on ways to verify your database.

Snapshot: This is most useful when you have inadvertently backed up a file that is damaged or unreadable, but say two weeks ago was fine. With the snapshot feature you can go back in time to a session where the file is undamaged and replace it.

Backup your Identity:

  • Duplicate your Identity folder. Set a recurring task to remind you. Location of Identity
  • Create an Entourage archive (.rge) See video
  • Use a script that will automate the process
  • Create a simple cron job to back up your Entourage data folders.
  • See Tutorial for easy backup (uses Automator and iCal)

Backup an individual mail folder:

Drag a folder to the desktop. This creates an MBOX file that can later be dragged back into Entourage or opened with a text editor. You will need to drage each subfolder individually. Tip: use one of the scripts to export folders. It includes subfolders.

Tip: drag your MBOX files into a new Identity, then switch Identities to search old mail. This keeps your regular database lean and more responsive.

See Video: MBOX files

Back up an individual email:

Drag an individual message out of Entourage to your desktop to create individual (.eml) file.

Back up Contacts:

Your contacts can be exported for backup. File-> Export Contacts.

In Entourage 2004 you can select to Export as an Entourage archive. Just check Local Contacts.

Exporting groups cannot be done with Entourage File-> Export, but you can export groups using scripts:

New Backup Options starting with Entourage 2004

Entourage can export items such as mail messages, tasks, contacts, notes, and calendar events to an Entourage archive(.rge extension. These files are much smaller than duplicates of Entourage data files.

What *doesn't* an Entourage archive preserve?

Archives are stored in non-proprietary, "industry standard" data formats. That means that the information that can be preserved is essentially "lowest common denominator" attributes that any application would have. What is not preserved are any Entourage specific meta-data: message history (what you have forwarded, replied to, etc), accounts, categories, projects, links etc.

See Video

Third Party Applications for Backup

Be sure to quit Entourage and the Microsoft Database daemon, or your backup could be corrupted.

One free option is to use eMessage Archiver. It uses a free runtime version of FileMaker. Discontinued but still available for download.

Another option that backs up to FileMaker is Mail to FileMaker Importer by Ben Waldie. Requires you have FileMaker installed. $14.99

EagleFiler by the author of SpamSieve is worth checking out as a backup option. See Use EagleFiler to archive Outlook & Entourage messages for more info.

Retrospect warning: You might experence this error:

Can't read file "Database", error -54 (file is busy/locked), path: "Documents/Microsoft User Data/Office 2004 Identities/Main Identity/Database".

Be sure to quit Entourage before backing up. You may find that there are other processes which still have the database open, specifically the "Microsoft Database Daemon". Entourage uses the Daemon as a centralized DB engine. If you use Retrospect's facility to run an Applescript prior to a backup, both Entourage and the Daemon can be shutdown, albeit with some annoying caveats.

Scripts to Backup

Entourage X and 2004: A free but less thorough archiving program than eMessage Archiver is the adaptation of Dan Crevier's Filemaker package (Transfer to Archive E ), available on Allen Watson's script web site.

Entourage 2001 back up script can be found here.

AutoArchive Exchange Account to "On My Computer"

Create Cron Job to Backup:

Part 5 of Learning the Terminal series by Chris Stone outlines how to create a simple cron job to back up your Entourage data folders regularly and automatically.

Tip to Organize Your Backups Chronologically

See tutorial on using this option to create an automatic backup of your data. To backup Entourage using Time Machine, you will need to follow the directions here.

Use FolderOrgX (freeware) to organize your backup files info folder by date. FolderOrg is an AppleScript Folder Action that organizes files and folders by moving them into dated subfolders. This is helpful in keeping files and folders organized by the day they were added, not created or modified. The folder action does not work on external drives.

Entourage exports your data as " Main.rge". Adding additional archive files to the same folder presents a naming problem. Using FolderOrgX will organize your data into a folder with date they were added.

This is especially helpful when you remove old backups. Just remember to keep a snapshot on a regular basis. I like to keep at least, one backup archive per month.

This little Folder Action is easy to use and indispensable IMHO. I use this for my downloads folder, archive folder and my screen shots folder. This is crucial for my downloads folder. If you are like me you download way more than you have time to install. Having the downloads in a dated folder tells me that if I haven't installed and it's really old I must not need it. I delete the folder and clear up space for more downloads. :-)


  1. Drag "FolderOrg X" file into folder "/Library/Scripts/Folder Action Scripts/"
  2. Turn Folder Actions on with Folder Actions Switch

How to Attach FolderOrg X to a Folder: Use contextual menu to add to any folder.

What could be easier?