Easy Outlook Express Backup on XP

I’ve made it part of my Friday routine at the office to create a backup of my Outlook Express profile. This backup includes ALL my emails, folders and contacts. However it doesn’t include the forwarding rules, but I don’t consider them invaluable as they are just rules not personal data.

How to create the backups

To backup your folders and emails (yes the emails contain all the history you need so you’ll keep all the info you need) open up Windows Explorer and browse to the following directory:

C:\Documents and Settings\Your username\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{A lot of numbers and letters}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

Now you will see a list of files resembling the folders you have in Outlook Express (with a *.dbx extension). To create the backup copy all these files on to a separate drive or burn them on a CD/DVD. To save some space consider compressing all this files to a *.zip file using WinZIP, WinRAR or similar file compression tools.

Note! Don’t forget to close Outlook Express while you are performing the backup to make sure you don’t end up with any corrupted files as a result of alteration of a file during copying (e.g. you receive a new email).

Don’t forget to copy your contacts while you are at it. This file is found at a location as easy to guess as the other, namely:

C:\Documents and Settings\Your username\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book\Something.wab

If your PC should decide it’s time to shut down (for good) you may now easily get everything back as it was on a new computer in no time at all. Just extract/copy the first backup over any existing files on the new system at the location described over and continue by importing the address book like this;

From the menu in Outlook Express choose File -> Import -> Address book…

Browse to the place you stored the backup, select the file (Something.wab) and click Open.

You might have guessed by now that weekly backups aren’t such a bad idea. As someone once said; “the more the merrier” is a nice rule to follow.

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