How to Save Your e-mail in Outlook Express

Welcome to the How to e-mail Section!

This section covers:

Outlook Express "Export"
Lets suppose that you are getting a new computer and you want to save all your email from Outlook Express. The following procedure tells you how yo do this.

Note: This procedure works for any version of Outlook Express into the same version of Outlook Express. It may work for different version but the author hasn't tested this. Also ensure that you have applied the latest Window Updates too.

The below procedure does not export the e-mail addresses.

Export Feature?

There actually is an Export feature in Outlook Express that you can use to move your e-mail messages to Outlook or Microsoft Exchange.

However, if you are trying to export your messages from Outlook Express into a file that you can later import, this Export feature is useless.

Exporting the Goods

What we need to do is to find the files that Outlook Express uses to store your messages and copy them to a CD or another computer.

0. Create a new folder on your desktop and call it email.

1. Open Outlook Express and Click Tools from the Menu.

2. Click Options.

3. Click the Maintenance Tab.

4. Click the Store Folder Button.

The Store Folder is where Outlook Express keeps all of your messages.

If you have multiple identities set up on Outlook Express, the stored folder will be for the identity you are using.

Identity Use
Each Identity is assigned a long value that is used to represent the user's name. For example Bob = {4D4C352A-4DD7-4BD8-98F1-0277286DF4E5}.

If you have 6 identities set up then each identity would have its own individual value, which you can see in the path below.

5. Notice that Outlook Express keeps all your email files buried deep inside a Windows folder. You can click on the path and use the right arrow key to view the full path.

This path in Windows XP is: "C:\Documents and Settings\User Name\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\Long Value\Microsoft\Outlook Express." Windows 98 and ME will have a different path.

6. Click the Change... button and select the email folder you just created in step 0.

7. Click OK and close Outlook Express.

8. Open Outlook Express and check to see that your messages are all there. When you opened Outlook Express all of your email message files were "Exported" to the email folder located on your desktop.

9. Copy the email folder onto a CD or another computer.

NOTE: Sometimes, I simply copy the files located in the Storage Folder and don't bother "exporting" them to another folder. This has worked successfully for me but by doing the above you could discover that your data is corrupt.

When you directly copy everything from the Storage Folder, you also get all the POP3 settings.

As a final step, you should record all the POP3 settings, your username and password and your email address. If you are using dial-up, get the phone number that the computer dials. You should also save your email addresses.

POP3 Settings
I took a look at how Outlook Express keeps its POP3 settings and found that it stores them in the registry under:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Internet Account Manager/Accounts/somenumber/thedata
My somenumber folder is called 00000005
Once you’ve found the data, select the somenumber folder and from the menu click File and Export. A window opens that lets you save the data somewhere. Enter a name for the file like POP3 and save it. When you want to put the data back, just right click on this file and click Merge.

Technical Data

In the Outlook Express Folder are several files with the dbx extension. This extension is a database type used by Microsoft. Here is a brief description of what they are:

Folders.dbx - This is the main index where all your messages are located.

Deleted Items.dbx - Deleted email is stored here.

Drafts.dbx - Draft emails are stored here.

Inbox.dbx - All your email in the Inbox is stored here.


Outbox.dbx - All email to be delivered is stored here.

Sent Items.dbx - All email that has been sent is stored here.


Deleting all the above folders is not a problem. The next time you open Outlook Express, it creates all the above files - but now they are empty.

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