Backup Your Outlook Express Email

Important Note: If you are still using Outlook Express, I urge you to migrate to another safer email program. There are several email programs that are free and will not cause as many problems as Outlook Express.  A popular replacement for Outlook Express is Thunderbird.

Imagine this:

You have your email all set up, organized with folders and your address book is finally completed. You have all of your necessary information for various web sites, help files and financial information stored in folders. All of a sudden your computer crashes. Oh no! You reboot your computer and Windows won't load. Everything you try doesn't work. In a panic, you call a computer tech. After the tech looks at your system he tells you he'll have to reinstall Windows. So Windows is reinstalled. Now you open your email program. There's nothing there! You have to start all over again. All of your email address are gone. Some of the addresses you will never recover. Your messages so carefully saved are all gone. Disaster!

Now imagine this: You open your email program after a complete reinstall of Windows, click on File, Import, Address Book, a window opens and asks Import from where, and you tell it to import from your back up. Voila! Your address book is as before. You then follow the same steps to import your inbox, etc, and your entire email is as before.

Which scenario do you want?

How to create a Backup folder

Go to Programs and select 'Windows Explorer'. (Figure 1 on side panel) In Windows Explorer right click with your mouse anywhere on a blank space and select 'New' from the popup menu. Select Folder. Rename the new folder ' OE Backups' (without the quote marks). Save all of the files you export from Outlook Express to this folder. (See Figure 2 on side panel)

To backup your Outlook Express Address Book use the Export in the file menu. (Figure 3 on side panel)

Open the file menu in Outlook Express and select Export, the Address Book. Highlight Text file (Comma separated Values) (Figure 4 on side panel)

Type AddressBook.wab in the CVS Export window and click the Browse button. Scroll through the list until you find the Backup Folder, select the folder & then click next. (Figure 5)

Put a check mark in any boxes that do not have a check if you want those fields to be saved. (Figure 6 on side panel)

Your address Book is now saved.

Now change the location of where Outlook Express stores your messages. Make a new folder in your Documents and name it OE Store.

Open Outlook Express and select Tools/Options. Click on the Maintenance tab and then click Store Folder. Click Change and browse to the new folder you just created (OE Store). Close Outlook Express and reopen Outlook Express. Check the new folder to make sure all of the files are now in the folder.  Now copy the entire folder named OE Store to OE Backups.  Your messages are now saved.

After you have completed exporting your address book and saving your OE Store to a backup folder, you must save the files to a location not on your C drive. If you have a separate partition on your hard drive, you can create the new folder on this partition & you are fairly safe. A much better solution is to save your backed up files to some sort of removable media like an external drive or burn them to a CD. If your hard drive completely fails you still have your backups. Remember to make a backup on a regular basis to avoid losing email you need to keep. Use an automatic backup and you won't forget!

To import your Address Book & messages click on File, Import & follow the prompts. Hint, when you import your messages to a new copy of Outlook Express, be sure you select the Import from a Store folder option.

A Program to backup Outlook Express, 'OEBackup'.

How to Backup Outlook Express, Address Book, Mail Rules and Other Settings, a cool page on PC Hell's site. But be careful, some of this requires editing the Registry, not recommended for beginners!

Outlook Express Backup Wizard. This is a program that will backup everything in Outlook Express including your messages, address book, rules and signatures. It can restore your OE in minutes in the event of a computer crash. You can also use this program to move your Outlook Express account to another Windows XP computer! How handy is that!

Export/Import Email Contacts

Microsoft has provided some help for backing up email,
How to Back Up and Recover Outlook Express Data
How to Backup and Restore Outlook Express Blocked Senders List and Other Mail Rules

A really good and free email backup program is MailStore.