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OEBackup (Free) --Program to backup OE data and settings (by Majik)

How do I back up my files and settings?
Outlook Express
To backup and restore OE5 and 6 messages, make a copy of all the files in the folder that contains the dbx files. Do a search for *.wab and back that up as well (address book). Also export these 4 registry keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{GUID}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express
Where GUID represents your Identity number.

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Account Manager

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WAB\WAB4\Wab File Name

To restore the messages on a reformatted machine, or to move them to a new machine, copy all the backed-up files to the exact directory where they were located in their previous life. Then, before opening OE, import the 4 keys into the registry. If OE has already been run on the computer to which you are restoring, then delete those 4 keys from the registry (back it up first) before importing the 4 saved ones.

Importing single dbx files into OE

To backup and restore a single OE5 or 6 mail folder, save the appropriate dbx file. To restore, create a new folder in OE5 or 6 (call it archiv1, for example) and access it once. Then close OE and find archiv1.dbx and delete it. Make a copy of the folder you want to restore and rename it to archiv1.dbx (or if you have a bak file, then rename it to arichiv1.dbx). Then copy that file into the directory where the previous file was deleted. Open OE and the messages you wanted to restore will be accessible via opening that archiv1 folder.

Windows Mail
To backup and restore Windows Mail messages, make a copy of all the files in the directory that contains the message and database files. The location of the message store can be found via Tools | Options | Advanced | Maintenance | Store Folder  (the default is %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\) and the location is also specified as the "Store Root" value under the Windows Mail registry key below.

In addition to backing up those files, export these 3 registry keys:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail

This is the most important registry key and contains nearly all the settings and rules for Windows Mail.


This key is kept for legacy purposes, but no longer contains much information. The Identities feature of Outlook Express has been removed in Windows Mail.


This key contains some information on the default accounts. In Outlook Express this key held all of the account information. In Windows Mail, most of the account information is now in .oeaccount files in the message store. See New Handling of Account Data on the Microsoft website. Note that when restoring a backed up copy, if Windows Vista has been reinstalled, the account passwords will need to be re-entered by the user manually.

Windows Mail now uses the Vista system wide Contacts instead of the address book. See Windows Contacts on the Microsoft website.

To restore a backed up copy of Windows Mail. Create a new directory that matches the previous directory and make sure it also matches the "Store Root" value listed under the Windows Mail registry key, and empty that directory of all files and subdirectories. Then copy the backed up files to that directory, making sure that the files are not read only. Run Regedit and delete the 3 registry keys listed above in the target partition, and then merge the backed up registry keys. Windows Mail can then be started and should be restored to the backed up state.

A similar method can be used to share the message store between bootable Vista partitions. The "Store Root" value in the registry can be equated so that the message store can be shared. Account passwords however will need to be entered manually between booting to each partition, unless one backs up and overwrites the .oeaccount files between each boot, due to the handling of the password information. When booting between partitions sharing the same message store, be mindful that many changes in settings are stored under the Windows Mail registry key, so changing such in one partition may not be reflected in the other OS partition unless the key is re-equated between each OS.

Importing from Outlook Express

OE dbx files cannot be individually imported into Windows Mail. Windows Mail will only import (File | Import | Messages) from dbx files in an intact message store that contains a non-corrupt version of folders.dbx (note that the files MUST NOT be read only). In order to import dbx files into Windows Mail, they must first be incorporated into an Outlook Express (or possibly Outlook) message store and then imported using File | Import | Messages.

To import from the Outlook Express message store into the Windows Mail message store, do the following:
1. Create a directory under the current user's Documents, such as Documents\OEMail. This directory needs to be within the user's space, such as under Documents, in order to prevent possible access permissions problems.
2. Copy all the dbx files from one Outlook Express Identity into this directory, ensuring that folders.dbx is included.
3. 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. Then use the Browse button to browse to the directory of dbx files. Make sure that when you set the directory that what is listed in the path is correct (NOTE: Vista can put the wrong path in here sometimes, so instead of c:\mypath it puts c:\mypath\mypath, so check the path to verify that it is correct, and if it is not correct then fix it by clicking the Browse button a second time and then leave the selection blank and clicking Okay.).
6. Then select the files from which you wish to import messages and click Import.

Alternatively, one can extract the messages from the dbx files as eml files (e.g. DBXpress ) and then these eml files can be dragged from Windows Explorer and dropped into a Windows Mail folder to incorporate them into the Windows Mail message store. The eml message files in Windows Mail can also be dragged and dropped back into machines using OE.


Even easier is my OEX program (OEX) that will let you point to an individual dbx file (non-corrupt) across a network or off a backed-up CD and import it directly into a Windows Mail (or OE) message folder (for instance, one can import the sent items folder from an XP machine directly into a Windows Mail folder (or vice versa) to synchronize messages between machines, such as your Notebook and Desktop. OEX also has a number of other features that work both in Windows Mail and in OE. See OEX

Importing from Windows Mail to Windows Mail

To import from a previous backup of Windows Mail messages, go to File | Import | Messages and choose Windows Mail 7 format. Then use the Browse button to select the topmost directory, underwhich the folders are nested. Note the import bug above in Red. The path must be corrected by hitting the Browse button a second time and selecting nothing and then clicking on Okay. Then one can select all folders or just some of them. Note that one can import from a single directory of eml files as well, and the database files are not needed.
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Copyright 1999 - 2012 Stephen L. Cochran, Ph.D., MS-MVP
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