How to Restore Outlook Contacts from Backup (3 Ways Included)

If you lose your Outlook contacts by accident, you can easily restore them from the backup you made before. Learn how to recover your Outlook contacts step by step below.


By Lily Updated on March 13, 2024

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User case


Recovering and restoring my contacts in Microsoft Outlook

Recently my hard drive crashed and I lost everything. When I replaced the hard drive and restored Outlook 2013 I discovered that I couldn't access my contacts. I had an extensive list of contacts in my address book and I urgently need to recover these. I cannot see myself trying to re-construct the address book I had. Please help!

- Question from Microsoft Community

As a matter of fact, you may lose your Outlook contacts in different situations:

  • Hard drive crash
  • Virus attack
  • Windows error
  • Human error (such as permanently delete one or more contacts by accident)

How do I restore my contacts in Outlook 2016/2019/2021?

Depending on how you backup your Outlook contacts, there are three ways to restore your lost contacts:

👉 Way 1: Restore contacts via Outlook for Windows
👉 Way 2: Restore contacts using Outlook Web App (OWA)
👉 Way 3: Recover contacts with reliable third-party software🔥

Way 1: Restore contacts via Outlook for Windows

If you have exported Outlook contacts to a PST file, you can follow the instructions below to recover contacts from a PST file.

  1. In Outlook, click File > Open & Export > Import/Export.
  2. In the Import and Export Wizard, select Import from another program or file, and then click Next.

Import from Another Program or File

  1. Select Outlook Data File (.pst) and click Next.

Outlook Data File

  1. Click on the Browse button and select the PST file you want to import contacts from. Check the box Do not import duplicates so that the data that matches existing file is not imported. Then click Next.

File to Import

Tip: If a password is assigned to the Outlook Data File (.pst), you will be prompted to enter the password.

  1. Select the Contacts folder to import from and check the box Include subfolders as necessary. Check the box Import items into the same folder in and select your email account.

Select Folder to Import

  1. Click Finish to begin the import process.

Way 2: Restore contacts using Outlook Web App (OWA)

If you have exported Outlook contacts using Outlook web app, you can restore your contacts with these steps.

  1. After logging in to Outlook website, click the People icon on the left side panel.

Click People

  1. On the toolbar, select Manage contacts > Import contacts.

Manage Contacts

  1. Click Browse and select the contacts.csv file to import from. Then click Import.

Upload CSV File

Tip: Outlook web app doesn’t allow you to exclude duplicates in the import process. If you get duplicate contacts after importing, learn how to delete duplicate contacts here.

Way 3: Recover contacts with reliable third-party software

To backup and restore Outlook data, reliable third-party software AOMEI Backupper Professional can also give you a hand. It offers you full Outlook backup and recovery solutions:

  • It enables you to backup all of your emails, contacts, notes, calendars, and tasks in Outlook to a local, external, or network drive.
  • It supports Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, and any other email accounts added into Outlook client.
  • You are allowed to backup your email data automatically using the “Schedule Backup” feature.
  • When problems occur, you can choose to restore your Outlook data to the original location or a new location.

Download AOMEI Backupper to have a try!

Download Free Trial Win 11/10/8.1/8/7/XP
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After you create an Outlook backup task with AOMEI Backupper, you can recover lost contacts as follows:

  1. Run AOMEI Backupper, select Restore, and then click Select Task. You can also click Select Image File to manually select the Outlook backup image.

Select Task

  1. Find the Outlook backup task, select it and click Next.

Select Outlook Backup Task

  1. Select a backup point based on the created time and backup type. Then select the Contacts folder under your email account that needs to be restored and click Next.

Select Contacts Folder

  1. Choose Restore to original location or Restore to a new location based on your need. At last, click Start Restore to begin Outlook contacts recovery.

Select Destination Path

Tip: If you choose Restore to a new location, your contacts will become MSG files in the destination path. To use restored contacts information in Outlook, just drag the MSG files and drop them in the specific folder in Outlook client.

Bonus tip: recover deleted contacts in Outlook without backup

If you just want to restore deleted contacts, you can do it without a backup. A deleted contact is moved to the Deleted Items folder in your mailbox just like a deleted email message. The Deleted Items folder is the first place to look if you're trying to find a deleted contact. If the contact is there, here's how to recover it:

  1. In Outlook, go to your email folder list, and then click Deleted Items.

Deleted Items

  1. Use the Search Deleted Items box (or press CTRL + E) to find the item you want to recover. Or you can sort by the Icon column to group all the contacts in your Deleted Items folder.
  2. When you find the contact, right-click it, and then click Move > Other Folder.

Move Item

  1. To move the contact back to your list of contacts, click Contacts, and then click OK.

Select Folder

Tip: You can also move deleted contacts to a subfolder in your Contacts folder.


There are three ways to restore Outlook contacts from backup. The restoration method varies depending on the backup method. To protect your Outlook data from all aspects, you may choose the best Outlook backup and restore software – AOMEI Backupper. It enables you to backup all of your emails, contacts, notes, calendars, and tasks in Outlook and restore them whenever needed.

What’s more, AOMEI Backupper is the best Samsung SSD transfer program. You can use it to clone HDD to Samsung SSD, clone Samsung SSD to another SSD, etc. Try it now to explore all the wonderful features by yourself!

Lily · Editor
Lily Green joined AOMEI in 2018 and has since become a professional in the areas of data protection and data transfer. She is committed to helping users protect their precious computer data and troubleshoot Windows system errors. She consistently stays vigilant about the latest trends in technology, guaranteeing that the given information aligned with the ongoing advancements in the field.