Backup OE Messages

Dear Computer Lady:

I need to reload windows XP on my hard drive. Can you please tell me how I an back up my e-mail files to my external hard drive and be able to retrieve them once my XP is reinstalled?

By the way, I never miss an issue of your letter.


Dear Stanley,

Your Outlook Express email messages are stored in special mail files, and the location is different in each computer. Your first step in backing up the email messages is to locate your mail files, then you can copy them to the external hard drive and restore them after you have reloaded windows.

To locate and save the OE mail storage folder:

1. Open Outlook Express

2. Click on “Tools” in the menu bar, then click on “Options”.

3. Click on the “Maintenance” tab, then click on the “Store Folder” button.


4. A small, “Store Location” ┬ádialog box will open.

5. Using your mouse, drag to highlight the location. It will be longer than the box.

6. Once the entire location is highlighted, copy it using the Ctrl & C keyboard combination.


7. Click the “Cancel” button in both Outlook Express Windows to close them.

8. Close Outlook Express.

9. Now to find the files. Click on “Start” and then “Run”.


10. In the Run dialog box, click once and then use the Ctrl & V keyboard combination to paste the location into the box.

11. Click the “OK” button.


12. A folder will open that contains your email files.


13. To make it easier to copy, I like to click on the “Up” button. Now you can see the Outlook Express folder.

14. Click on “Start” then “My Computer” and double click on your external hard drive to open it.

15. Arrange the two windows on your desktop so that you can see the contents of each of them.

16. Drag the Outlook Express folder to your external hard drive.


Once you have finished reloading Windows XP on your computer and are ready to restore your email messages follow these directions.

1. Connect your external hard drive to your computer and open a window for it by clicking on “Start” and “My Computer” then double click on the external hard drive.

2. Drag the “Outlook Express” folder from the drive to your desktop.

3. Open Outlook Express and click on “File” point to “Import” and click on “Messages”.


4. Select “Microsoft Outlook Express 6” from the list of programs and click the, “Next” button.


5. Click the “Import mail from an OE6 store directory and click “OK”.


6. Click the “Browse” button, click on “Outlook Express” click the “OK” and then “Next” buttons.


7. If you want to import all your mail folders, leave “All folders” selected and click the “Next” button.


8. The messages will be imported and when it is done, all you have to do is click the, “Finish” button.


Note: You can import the messages directly from the external drive, but sometimes OE is unable to import from an external device. Importing from the desktop is more reliable.


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