In Outlook Express, can the “Sent Items” folder be saved to CD in
one step and not message by message?
It depends on what you want to do. Depending on that the answer is
either yes, or not really.
Regardless, I have to honestly say that this is one of those cases
where I wish you weren’t using Outlook Express.
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If you’re simply trying to backup your sent mail, I would do the
Locate your Outlook Express Data Store folder: click on the
Tools menu, Options item,
Maintenance tab and then the Store
Folder button. That will tell you the folder on your hard
drive that contains your email folder.
Backup the entire contents of that folder.
It’s tempting to back up or save only the “Sent Items.dbx” file you
might find there, and it can be done, but Outlook Express is
notoriously fragile when it comes to its files. There are
interrelationships that often confuse things if not set up just so on
prone, and quite possibly not at all what you’re looking for.”
Speaking of restoration – the only way to reliably view the
contents of what you just backed up will be to replace it in to the
same place. This is obviously very risky since that means you’d be
restoring on top of whatever files had been updated since you took that
initial backup. You’d want to do this very carefully to avoid data
Finally, it’s also very tempting to just look at the “Sent
Items.dbx” folder in notepad. Sadly, it’s not a text file, and much of
what you see will be incomprehensible.
So it can be done, but it’s complex, error prone, and quite possibly
not at all what you’re looking for.
The ideal solution, of course, would be to select multiple messages
in your Sent Items folder and hit Save As…. Sadly,
Outlook Express does not enable Save As… when you
have more than one message selected, and I know of no other way to
actually accomplish this with OE.
Windows Mail (Outlook Express’s replacement in Windows Vista) also
seems to suffer from these same limitations.
So what can you do?
I have to say that Outlook Express’s folder structure and the
fragility I see when people try to move, import or export to and from
Outlook Express is perhaps the biggest reason I’d personally never use
I realize that it’s overkill for just this one issue, but if you
really want to solve this problem, I’d switch to a different email
In order of things I’d suggest:
Thunderbird stores email as plain text files. If you want to save
off your sent mail, just copy the text file that is the Send Mail
folder, and you’re done. You can even open it in notepad to view your
email in plain text, or copy it back into your Thunderbird data store
folder with a different name to view it within Thunderbird.
Windows Live Mail,
Microsoft’s other Outlook Express replacement, uses a different storage
format. It’s still convoluted, but instead of a single file containing
all messages in a folder, Windows Live Mail stores each folder as an
actual filesystem folder, and each message is kept as a “.eml” file,
also in plain text. Copy the folder contents, and you have what you’re
Microsoft Outlook supports Save As… when multiple
messages are selected. The last time I checked, the order that messages were
written to in the resulting file appeared random. Other than that it’s
pretty much exactly what I suspect you’re looking for.
I’m sorry the news isn’t better. It’s possible that there are some
add-ons or utilities for Outlook Express that I expect others may post
about in the comments, but in all honesty for this and several other
reasons, I’d be really tempted to switch programs.