Backup Outlook Express Emails

Info how to backup Outlook Express

The following Instructions will show you, step by step, how to Backup Outlook Express email messages for importing, exporting from one pc to another. There is also a section detailing how to import your OE emails into Windows Live which should be installed onto your pc first.

Learn the easiest and safest way to backup and restore your Outlook Express Address book.


Finding your OE Store Folder

Click on the TOOLS Menu and select Options.
Click the Maintenance Tab and then click on Store Folder.
You now see the location of your Email Folder.
Highlite the Folder Location and press CTRL+C to copy the location.
Click Cancel and then Cancel again to close all boxes.
Click the Windows Start button and the click Run. In the open box press CTRL+V to paste the mail location, then click OK.
You now have a window containing you e-mail database *.dbx files.
From the top Menu click Edit click Select All.
On the top Menu again click Copy. Now close the window.
Open Windows Explorer, click File / New and then Folder.
Type a name for the folder and hit ENTER.
Double click the Folder you just created to open it. From the Edit Menu select Paste. Close the window.
It is strongly advised that you do not place the copied files into a folder on your Desktop.
You have now completed a backup up of your email messages.

Now is the time to write them to a CD or CDRW for later use.

Manually find your Store Folder

There may come the time when you have had a hard disk failure and you have installed the failed drive as a slave to recover as much data as possible.
You can find the .dbx files by following these steps:-

  • Open Windows Explorer.
  • Make sure you have set your Folder Options set to view Hidden Files.
  • Right click on the 'Start Button' select 'Open all Users', Widows Explorer will open.
  • In left hand column double click the folder which has your 'User Name', it will display another list of folders.
  • Still in left hand column double click the 'Local Settings' folder.
  • In right hand column you will now see a list of Folders, open the 'Application Data' Folder.
  • You will now see a folder called 'Identities', Open this folder.
  • You will now see a folder name containing numbers and characters, open this folder.
  • Open the Microsoft folder that appears, next open the Outlook Express folder that appears.
  • You will now see a list of .dbx files.

You should now have the path similar to:-
C:\Documents and Settings\Your name\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{C81EB24B-8657-4F26-9421-A6215E8E07EE}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

Above does not apply to Windows 7 because Outlook Express does not come with OE installed, it is more than likely you have Windows Live Mail installed.

Import or restore Outlook Express messages

The first thing you need to do if you copied the files to a CDR or CDRW is open Windows Explorer and create a new folder on your hard disk, Not on your desktop, and then copy all the files from CD to this folder. Next close Windows Explorer.

Open Outlook Express, File - Import - Messages . Select Microsoft Outlook Express Version 6. Click Next.

Importing Outlook Express Messages

Then select "import mail from a OE6 Store Directory". Click OK,

Outlook Express Store Directory

then browse to the folder you created earlier, click next, the rest is up to you which folders you wish to import.

Note selecting a Store Directory will result in an error something like this. "No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open".

There are three main reasons why you can get this message:-
1. You have not turned off 'Read Only' on the .dbx files.
2. Your folder does not contain a file called Folders.dbx or the file is corrupt.
3. You have Windows Explorer running

Import email messages into Windows Live Mail

Importing messages into Vista Windows Live is slightly different but if you follow the steps below you should not have any problems.

OE dbx files cannot be individually imported into Windows Mail, you can only import dbx files from a folder created by doing a complete OE backup as described above where the Folders.dbx file is not corrupt.

To import from the Outlook Express into the Windows Mail do the following:

  • 1. Make a new folder under the current user's Documents, such as
  • Documents\Oldmail. This directory needs to be within the user's space so as not to prevent possible access permissions problems.
  • 2. Copy all the dbx files that you have backed-up into this folder, making sure that folders.dbx is included.
  • 3. Make sure none of these files are 'Read only' otherwise the import will fail. To do this Go to 'Edit / Select' all in Windows Explorer and select all the dbx files. Then right click on the selection and choose Properties and ensure that the read only attribute of the files is unchecked.
  • 4. In Windows Mail go to 'File / Import Messages' and choose 'Outlook Express 6' format and choose to import from a directory.
  • 5. Use the 'Browse' button to go to the directory of dbx files. Make sure that when you set the directory that the path is correct (NOTE: Vista can put the wrong path in here sometimes, so instead of c:\Documents\Oldmail it may put c:\Documents\Oldmail\Documents\Oldmail, so just make sure this is right, if not, change it.
  • 6. Finally select the files from which you wish to import messages and click 'Import' and everything should work ok.


Copy files from CD to hard disk

If you saved your database backup to a CD, then you must copy all the files to a folder on your HD, Not on your desktop, once you have done this.
1. Open Windows Explorer, open the folder where you copied the files, select all files.
2. On the 'Menu Bar' click 'File', 'Properties'.
3. In the box that opens, make sure 'Read Only' has no check mark in it, (there may be a greyed out tick in it, just click the box).
4. Click 'OK', open Outlook Express and import your messages.


Compact Folders

When you delete an email message, it is not really deleted, even when you empty the 'Deleted Items' folder.

1. Open Outlook Express.

2. Make sure you have set OE to work offline, this will prevent OE from receiving any emails while you are compacting your folders.

3. From the top Menu click FILE - Folder - Compact all Folders to compact all your email folders, this may prevent problems when you come to import your messages later.

Sometimes after you have Compacted your folders, you may find some of your emails are missing, possibly caused by a corrupt Folders.dbx file. Go to Recover missing emails after Compacting Outlook Express this should put things back to normal again.

Backup Email accounts

Saving your email accounts in case you are having problems sending or receiving, or you need to quickly install them onto a new pc.

Open Outlook Express.
Go to Tools / Accounts.
Select the account you wish to save and then click the 'export' button on the right hand side and pick where you wish to save it.
The file will be saved as *.iaf do the same with any others you have and save them to a Cd or floppy.

To import your email accounts, go to Tools - Accounts and this time click the 'Import' button, browse to where you have them, click the file, the click 'Open' and all your account details have been restored.

Backup Address book

Open Outlook Express
In 'File Menu' click 'Export' then click 'Address Book'
Click Text File (Comma Separated Values), and then click Export
Click the 'Browse' button and select where you want to save your Book
Type in a name for your Address Book and click 'Save'
Click 'Next' and check the boxes to select the fields you want to export
Click 'Finish'
You have backed up your Address Book

Import or restore outlook express address book

In 'File Menu' click 'Import' then click 'Other Address Book'
Click "Text File (Comma Separated Values)" and then click Import
Click 'Browse' to go to the location where you saved your book
Click the file name you typed in earlier
Click 'Open' and then Next
Check boxes to select the fields you want to import in the "Map the fields you wish to import" box and then click 'Finish'
If you receive a message "Would you like to replace the existing entry with the import entry?," click Yes To All to replace all duplicate entries
Close Outlook Express to finish.

Note:  This guide is easier and more relable than just copying the address book *.wab file.

All the above instructions work perfectly provided you follow each step as written down. You should now be able to Backup Outlook Express email messages