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How do I move my Outlook Express folders to my new machine?


How do I move my Outlook Express folders to my new machine?

In particular, the person asking had just received a new Windows XP machine to replace her Windows 98 machine.

There are several approaches, naturally, but in a nutshell we’ll locate the folders on the old machine, copy them to the new machine, and then import them.

And then we’ll do something similar for the address book.

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On the old machine, the easiest way to locate Outlook Express’ email store is to ask Outlook Express. Fire it up, and then in ToolsOptions, on the Maintenance tab, there’s a button labeled Store Folder. Click that and it will tell you the folder containing your email folder.

Copy the entire contents of that directory to a USB drive, CD-ROM, or share on your network.

There are several approaches, naturally…

The address book we handle a little differently. Open up the address book either from the accessories menu item on your Start menu, or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+B in Outlook Express. In the address book, select File, Export, and click on Address Book (WAB)…. You can now select a location and filename for your address book to be placed. Again, you can copy it to floppy, CD-ROM, or to a share on your network.

Outlook Express Must DieFire up Outlook Express on the new machine, and we’ll just reverse the process.

Select File, ImportMessages…. Choose Microsoft Outlook Express 6 and press Next. Select Import mail from an OE6 store directory and press Next. Now on the next screen, browse to the location that you’ve placed the message store we saved from your old machine. Import, and your messages should now be transferred.

Note: if you’ve copied your mail folders to a CD-R, you’ll need to first copy them to your local hard disk, and then unmark them from being read-only before you import. OE will not open read-only folders.

The process for the address book is similar – even simpler. File, Import, Address Book…, select the address book we exported above, and import.

Finally, you’ll want to configure your email accounts in Outlook Express to access your email account from your ISP.

276 comments on “How do I move my Outlook Express folders to my new machine?”

  1. How do I move my Outlook Express personal folders I have about 50 personal folders in Outlook Express. I have been successfull when moving one bye one. However, as you can imagine this will be an extremely time consuming process. I ask you is there a way to move all 50 folders simultaneously into my new Outlook 2000?

    Thank You



  2. Actually I believe that Outlook’s import process sucks up all the folders it finds in the directory you specify. Are you seeing otherwise?

  3. How would you do this on a dead computer? My old computer (win 2k, current updates) crashed and will not boot. I can access the drive from another machine as a slave. I want to move everything, address book and folders.

  4. If you can access the drive, then I’d just copy the OE store directory to a new directory on your local machine and import from there.

  5. How do I copy an old set of emails in Outlook express 6 to a new version of outlook express 6 they are still there but I can’t read them can you help

    Thank you

  6. Please let me know the step by step procedure for taking a back up of all my mails stored in respective folders on a CD.

    Folders have been created for different clients and the size of the entire mails in these folders exceed the CD capacity. Please advice.

  7. When I use File, Import, Messages to import .dbx files into OE6 on XP, I am getting the following error: “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open.” The MS Support site suggested putting the .dbx files into a folder named Mail and pointing to the folder above that when using the Browse button, which I did. I also have removed read only permissions on the affected folders and still get the error. Do you have any ideas?

  8. Easy to move the OE dbx folder to another machine but what if the hard drive of the machine where OE was being used is now DEAD? No back up was done but what makes me hopeful is that our company is on a network…so maybe via our server company we can locate the email folders???
    I’m distressed.. HELP

  9. If the folders are on the hard drive, and the hard drive is truly dead, then they’re gone. Just being on a company network doesn’t do anything special. If you’re certain that there’s no backup, I don’t have any good ideas for you. You might check with your IT department to see if perhaps they were doing backups without your knowledge, but that’s really REALLY rare.

  10. I’m new to this site.
    I am getting amessage that my mail box is full. I receiving a messages that essentially says “Do something about moving all your folders to your hard drive or you will not be receiving all your messages.”
    How do I move these folders (Inbox) (delete) etc folders to the hard drive?

  11. This is a follow up to my message posted on Oct. 5th regarding the error “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open.” I received help from MS Tech support and was told to rename the Folders.dbx file located in the OE Store directory (see above for how to locate this) to something like Folders.old or a name of your choosing. Try the import into OE again after this and you should see your messages.

  12. I can not open Outlook Express. How do I get my mail folders to back them up and save them. I don’t want to delete and reinstall for fear I will loose all my old emails which have data and files I need. Help. Thanks!!

  13. I followed your instructions and exported files (from a windows 98 computer) and imported them to a (Windows XP) comp. Worked beautifully! until I realized that the new comp had only imported headers and the body of the messages were all blank. HELP! what have I done wrong? How can I retreive the text within my messages?

  14. I have Outlook Express on my old machine and Outlook on my new machine. I’ve already moved the address books and have been successful. How can I move my personal folders from Outlook Express to Outlook?

  15. I am trying to move my outlook express 5.0 (windos 95) files from an old machine on to a new one using XP (2002). I have tried importing these into outlook but am unable to do so, I get an error saying it is being used by another profile. Do I have to use outlook express 6 on the new machine instead and is the process of importing all the mail files etc easy enough?

  16. i need to move my Outlook express folders to Outlook on another machine

    I’ve read your article on how to move folders from OE to another OE machine.

    then i read your article about Outlook express and Outlook being completely different animals ….

    Can i still follow the procedures as for OE to OE or not??


  17. If you get an error message: No messages can be found in this [Identities or Identities{…..}]folder, then continue browsing so as to include all of the sub folders, i.e.,
    Identities{…..}microsoftoutlook express. I happened to be using the OE6 Identity option rather than the OE6 Store option when this worked.

  18. I just moved a number of messages from an old computer running Windows 95 and OE-5 into a new machine with XP and OE-6, using the instructions at the top of the page. Had the exact same results Bob mentioned Feb 18; kept getting an error message after clicking on each sub-folder, but I just kept going into the next sub-folder and it finally completed the task.

  19. Dear Sirs,

    I have moved my important emails onto a CD in various email folders, via an HP CD r/rw drive (F drive). The problem is when I try to import the files into my Outlook Express 6 program, I go through all the wizard’s motions only, at the end, to get an error screen saying: ‘file is already in use’ or no files can be found. I have even tried copying one file, via Explorer, from my F drive directly into the Outlook Express store directory on C drive, but the file fails to read in the files/directory column in the program.
    I am using a PC with Windows 98.

    Can you help me with this, I would be very grateful.

    Mike Fox

  20. The files copied from the CD are almost certainly read-only, which OE doesn’t like. Locate the files in windows explorer, then on each, right click, select properties, and make sure “read-only” is NOT checked.

  21. I had the same problem transfering mail in XP outlook express.

    There is file called folders.dbx in the original store location. This must be included along with all your other .dbx files. Once this is included the mail imported OK. What everyone else says about procedures seems correct

  22. I have bought a new computer and backed all mail up on a cd off my old computer as dbx. files by following the export instructions saved them to the desktop of new computer and followed out your instructions but at the end the message came up (No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has required files open, please close that application). I do not have an other application open and cannot get my mail to appear, please help as I have so much mail that I would hate to loose……..

  23. The files copied from the CD are almost certainly read-only, which OE doesn’t like. Locate the files in windows explorer, then on each, right click, select properties, and make sure “read-only” is NOT checked.

  24. File in use or another application is open and ‘ No messages can be found in this folder……

    the file in use is folders.dbx, the ‘real’ one actually in use by outlook when you open it. You can’t modify it ‘cos you have outlook open 🙂

    If you find where this folder is kept, go there and delete the folders.dbx file (all with outlook closed) and then copy your dbx files that you wish to import.

    This will recreate a new folders.dbx file based on all the .dbx files that it finds in the same directory, including the files that you’ve just copied here 🙂

  25. whew! this was fun! My first problem was that when I copied my files to the cd the folders.dbx file did not copy and in fact refused to be copied to cd at all. I had to copy it to floppy then to cd.

    The second problem was resolved by moving all the files from cd to a temp directory on my new pc, then I closed explorer(v. important) then proceeded with the import. If explorer was left open outlook express couldn’t read the directory.

    Hope this helps.

  26. i found the only way to make the import work was to copy all the old .dbx files to a directory on my new machine and to go to tool> options > maintenance and change the Outlook Store directory to the one i had just copied to. Reopen outlook and it works!

  27. Same problems as above, after reading here,went to old machine (with OE5), clicked through to the Store Folder and copied contents of that address to CD. Wasn’t able to import from CD to new machine (OE 6) — same probs as above, so copied folder to desktop of new machine. Went to new OE and copied address from maintenance/store folder, pasted into “run”, opened both and manually drag/drop folders from the OE 5 on desktop to the OE 6 Store Folder. then deleted “folders dbx”, closed, reopened new Outlook Express — the old messages were there under Local files. Many thanks Leo and Paul.

  28. Thank you, Paul, for saving my day.
    You have to delete the folders.dbx file first and then copy in all your .dbx files or you’ll get ‘ No messages can be found in this folder……

  29. Is it possible to copy my folders and files to a CD and then just access those files and folders on the CD through Outlook when I want to review them?

  30. Sadly, no. Outlook expects to be able to write to the files, and of course the CD will prevent that. You’ll need to copy them to the hard disk, and then mark them all as read/write.

  31. Hi! Tried to move OE6 on Win98SE to OE6 WinXP. Based on what I read here: (1) Copied OE98 files to disk. (2) Copied disk to XP desktop. (3) Ran search for current identity in XP. (4) Opened current identity in a window, next to the old identity file on desktop in another window. (5) Dragged files from old to new.
    Problem: Now, when I run search for new identity, open it, all the files are there. BUT!!! when I open OE, only the old files are there!
    Hint! When dragging the files, I DID NOT REPLACE: ‘Folders’, ‘Inbox’, ‘Outbox’, ‘Drafts’, ‘Deleted’, ‘Sent’, ‘Offline’, or ‘Pop3uidll’, dbx files.
    (1) If I REPLACE new with old, will it then work?
    (2) If I REPLACE new with old, will I lose my new messages?
    (3) If I do a ‘manual search’ (Start, All Programs, Acessories, Windows Explorer) I can only find up to “C:Documents and SettingsOwner. The rest of the path: Local SettingsApplication DataIdentities{12345678…} can not be found. Also, if I let the PC do a search (all files and folders), it says it can’t even find “C:Documents and Settings”

    Any replies and/or assistance will be GREATLY APPRECIATED!! Jim H..

  32. hi..i currently installed windows xp on top of windows 98 second edition
    everything works runs fine..but in the outlook program ive lost all the contacts, inbox mail..and outbox but thats not a concern i just wont to know if theres a way to recover all the contacts i had in my addressbook.
    if so please let me know via email..thank you.

  33. As mentioned in the article, you should be able to “File”, “Import” “addressbook”, and specify the old, windows 98 address book.

  34. Found a Solution!
    These are initial problems:
    1. My new pc (XP) did not come with an 3 1/2″ floppy…so I bought an external one.
    2. My mail ‘store’ was so large (over 700Mb)I bought a USB ‘zip stick’ to store the data.
    3. Old pc is Win 98; new is XP.
    4. XP WILL NOT copy ‘Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to a CD!

    1. In XP go to ALL PROGRAMS>ACCESSORIES>SYSTEM TOOLS>FILES AND SETTINGS TRANSFER WIZARD. Follow instructions until you have copied the wizard on to a floppy. DO NOT TURN IT OFF!
    2. Take the floppy to any/all other machine(s), insert the floppy.
    3. Select the drive, usually ‘a’, and open the wizard.
    4. Under “Which computer is this”, select “Old Computer”. Select ‘next’.
    5. Under “Select a transfer method” select “Other”. Below “Other”, it says “Folder or drive”; type in “c:my_outlook_backup”, without the quotes. Select ‘next’.
    6. Under “What do you want to transfer”, select “Both files and settings”. Also ‘check’ “Let me select…”. Select ‘next’.
    7. Under “Select custom files and settings”, click on EACH AND EVERY ITEM, CLICK REMOVE, UNTIL EVERYTHING IS GONE EXCEPT OUTLOOK EXPRESS. The only things left should be:
    Outlook Express
    Specific folders
    File types
    This setting will still backup all OE data like: E-mails, Folders and attachments, BUT will NOT store passwords. Select ‘next’.
    8. The Wizard will have created a file called “Usmt2.unc”. Copy this to portable storage, (I needed a 1G zip disc/flash drive), and insert into new pc.
    9. Continue with F&S Transf. Wiz. on the new pc.

    This will merge old OE data, Email, Folders, Rules and Account Settings with anything you have created already on the new pc.


  35. Here’s another way to migrate OE5 messages on a Win98 machine to a new XP, and it doesn’t involve deleting anything, but you have to have Outlook installed. Open both mail programs on the old computer. In OE, export your messages to Outlook. File>export>select folders you want to go. In Outlook, export the folders to a .pst file. File>export to a file> .pst personal folder file>select folders>save as …(I put mine on a memory stick. A CD should work as well.) Then take your storage device to your new computer and reverse the process. Open Outlook and import the folders from the device. File>import.pst>choose files. Finally, open OE and import these folders. File>import>choose folders on device.

  36. OK, I copied the OE files from a windows 98 machine onto XP, but when I try to import into outlook 2003 I get an error: The mail folder could not be opened. If another application is using this file, please close it and try again.

    Naturally I checked permissions, and found the read-only box filled with color, not checked, not unchecked, but filled?! When I uncheck it and immediately check properties again, it is filled again. What’s going on here?

  37. Nevermind. I found that Outlook Express was loaded on the xp laptop, so I first imported into Express, and it was easy from there…

  38. A great article BUT…my particular problem was that Windows 98 (where I was using Outlook express 5) crashed and because I had (oh so cleverly I thought) saved all my .pst files I just went ahead and upgraded to XP. New personal files I create on XP are stored as .dbx files. So either I haven’t understood the above or I’m confused about which bits go where.

  39. I’ve been having to do this a lot recently and have gotten the same error on all the machines that need it done.

    The quickest way around it seems to be either sharing the folder and mapping it as a network drive or sharing it and simply moving the folder on to your new PC and importing it from there.

    The second way seems to solve the problem more often then the first.

  40. Won’t bore you with the problem, I’ll ask the question. How do I export OE6 files, inbox & folders, from one computer to the other through a USB.

    I’ve tried a couple of ways, but maybe there’a different one. Thanks so much–I’m getting desperate to get this done as my time before travel is crunched.

  41. I’ve read the articles and all Q&A’s and have not seen how to import OE wab and dbx files into Outlook. My OE was broken and after several attempts even re-loading OE and XP SP2 couldn’t fix it, so I’ve loaded Outlook and have it up and running. When trying the “Import Internet Mail and Addresses” and then select “Outlook Express” it locks up Outlook. I was expecting an ability to browse to the specific file.

  42. I was able to retieve all my folders using the method in your article. Since my address book is on the hard drive of a computer that crashed, I have made a USB external drive out of it so that I can access the files on the drive with my new computer. Since I can’t actually open the address book on my old drive, how can I find the file that it is stored in so I can copy it to my new computer ??

  43. To Nan, who wanted to know where to find the old files:

    On a windows 98 box, I found them at:
    c:windowsApplication DataIdentities{33DD7E00-7B20-11D3-87E8-AA706855A423}MicrosoftOutlook Express

    In windows xp, it’s broken down by username:
    c:documents and settingsUSERNAMELocal SettingsApplication DataIdentities{6401E5A8-BACD-4DE0-82E3-03FA191A22DB}MicrosoftOutlook Express

    Hope that helps.

  44. Want to transfer messages from OE 4.0 (from old dead computer) to Outlook 6.0 on new computer. I saved all the .dbx mail folders (which contain the individual messages) in a folder on the new computer. It is my understanding that I need to import the dbx files into OE 6.0 first, then export to Outlook. However, when in OE, I select import, browse to the file (old computer transfer) containing my .dbx mail folders, and I get an error message “no messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open. Please select another folder or try closing applications that may have files open”. What am I doing wrong?

  45. My Windows 98 PC was giving warnings of imminent hard drive failure so I backed up lots of stuff to CD, including, I thought, my outlook express address book. Using explorer, I opened the C drive, Program files and copied the folder ‘Outlook Express’ and all it’s contents. Now the old PC is deceased and I am the owner of a new Dell. I have copied stuff, via CD, to the new PC, but on opening the CD, Outlet Express folder, WAB.exe file, the address book is empty. Any ideas?

  46. I don’t know what “wab.exe” is – exacept perhaps the program – not the data – that is the address book. An address book file will have the *extension* (meaning it will end with) “.wab”. On your old machine for Win98 the .wab files were in or underneath the Windows directory.

    Hope that helps a little.

  47. You’re article is very clear and correct. Worked like a charm. Thank you.

    One minor suggestion. Rather than suggesting we “configure your email accounts” it was much easier for me to export the accounts from the old machine and then import them into the new machine. (In OE, select Tools–>Accounts–>Export and then …>Import for each account you want to copy over).

    Again, thanks.

  48. in outlook express…what would make the amount of email in you inbox change? for example: I will see 4 emails drop in my inbox then it immediately changes to 2…what happened to the other emails that were originally dropped in my inbox

  49. Usually some kind of anti-spam solution that’s deleting what it thinks is spam for you.

    Posted by: Leo at September 3, 2005 03:26 PM


    My spam emails are still going into a bulk mail folder for me to view and delete as needed.. It is my main inbox folder that seems to change when receiving with outlook’s my hotmail emails that I am pulling.

    thanks agan,

  50. Understood. But 99 times out of 100 there is some anti-spam solution that is runnong on your PC that has it’s hooks into your email client (OE in this case) and is trying to be helpful. That’d be on top of the bulk email filtering that Hotmail does for you.

    I know of no other cause for email’s showing up in OE’s inbox and then immediately disappearing.

  51. When I tried to copy my own OE files to a new PC two years ago, I seem to remember having to set up new folders in OE on my new PC and it all got a bit messy.

    I am about to help a friend export all his messages to a new PC. Does the process you cover automatically set up the new folders?

  52. I did exactly as instructed, but when I try to Import and get to the ‘Browse’ stage, I go to the folder where my .dbx files are and it gives me an error message that says “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open. Please select another folder or try closing applications that may have files open.” I don’t have anything else open and I have tried storing the files in numerous locations, thinking Express was using them. Any ideas? I have about pulled my hair out on this one! THANKS!!

  53. I got the following error message: “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open” when I tried to import folders into OE6. I found and tried the following solution and then it worked OK:
    Ensure the Folders.dbx file is present. The import process may not work without a valid Folders.dbx file.

  54. Hi Leo,
    I have the same problem as Julie, who posted on Sept 27. Her posting is as follows- “when i try to import my address book after following your directions i get this error message….an error occurred in the import process. the import process could not be completed.

    and when i try to import my messages i get this error message….no messages can be found in thi8s folder or another application is running that has the required files open. please select another folder or try closing applications that may have files open.”

    Thanks for your help in advance!

  55. Amy and Dee, it seems like you have to copy your files to a writable media or hard drive before you try to import or else the import will fail with the somewhat cryptic message “No messages can be found..”. (The same applies to .wab-files if you want to import addresses)

    Hope this helps, it worked for me,


  56. I found this link and followed the instructions per the accepted answer (5 comments down). The only thing different that I did, was move a file to the newly created folder, then move it back to its original location, since for some reason it didn’t create a .dbx file when I created the folder.

    so you went inside OE and created a sub-folder under inbox called dave or Dave , right ?
    Once you had done that, close OE and go to that path and you should see dave.dbx or Dave.dbx .. Do you see that ?

    now when you copy your Dave.dbx from CD , copy it from to a location on your XP machine(not in this path,, some other location).. right-click , go to properties and make sure it is not read-only. now copy it to this path.. Does it replace the file already there .. if yes, make sure after replacing that the file size of it is correct.

    now open OE and check if the email messages are there

  57. Leo: First, thanks for the valuable service you provide!

    Seen several posts on this problem but no answers: Most Address Books are organized into folders and sub-folders. After an Export/Import, the folder structure is lost. All addresses are consolidated into one folder. Any way to retain the original multi-folder structure?

  58. To the person who can’t get the OE import to work-

    instead of pointing the import tool to the Outlook Express folder, point it to the Microsoft folder just above it in the “tree”.

    No idea why this works- but it does (sometimes)-

    Good luck!


  59. .
    I just sucessfully moved ALL old eMails – in their folders – to a new machine.
    I copied ALL the files in the old machine’s folder :
    C:Documents and SettingsCUSTOMERLocal SettingsApplication DataIdentities{686CE2DA-18C3-487D-AEE0-94B0D65DE652}MicrosoftOutlook Express
    . *.dbx files – the entire folder –
    to a flash drive.
    Then, I moved the existing .dbx files on the new computer to a new folder I named “Original dbx files” – just to be sure – and
    . copied all of the old dbx’s from the flash drive to the new computer’s folder.
    Everything looks the same as it did on the old computer.
    PS – HELP – My comma delimited text file named ” AddressBook.csv ” will NOT import in to the new machine – it just sits a while and then says –
    . ” Error importing Address Book ” –

  60. Thank you. My computer was infected by a virus. Fortunately, I back-up to an external hard drive. But I wanted to include all the e-mail sent and received since the last back-up. So, I copied my Inbox and Sent folders to a CD ROM. Fowllowing your instructions, I sucessfully copied the Inbox – but for some reason, the Sent folder didn’t copy. It’s on the CD – but when I go to File, Import, MOE 6, select the CD, only two folders show up – Inbox and Outbox. And, thanks to your instructions, they copied. How can I get the Sent folder to show up, too? Also, I have a few individual pieces of mail that I copied to a floppy (a:) – is there a way to add these to my Inbox? Thanks again for your help.

  61. I have just installed DSL with MSN premium on my new computer. I use OE6 and now when I go into the “Inbox” no files but below the list of Inbox, etc, is a next set of folders listing “Inbox” etc and “Bulk Mail.” I just found all my current emails going to this “Bulk Mail.” Please help. I tried calling my DSL tech and they tell me they cannot help me.

  62. actually mr. Leo the problem is that the folder your wants to move is located in the outlook express folder that is located in windows folder that is located on your hard drive that is located inside your computer so if want to move it to your new machine you can easily do it by shifting your old hard drive to your new computer. as far as advices are concerened i never give any free advice but this is specially for you. but i am very glad to know that you even dont know this easy trick. such a stupid person you are haa haaaaaaa……….

  63. I am having the same problem as the above user. I cannot boot from the old hard drive and thus, cannot “export” the outlook files from the old outlook program. I can only browse the old HD by hooking it up as a slave drive to my desktop.

    I think I found the outlook mail (.DBX) files. But, I am having a problem finding the address book files.

  64. Found the address book file and wanted to update for anyone else who might need this solution…

    C:Documents and SettingsUSERApplication DataMicrosoftAddress Book

  65. As a follow up, on any new machines I image I tend to move the OE stores to My DocumentsE-mail, which makes taking future backups of documents and e-mail a bit easier.

    I generally move the My Documents folder to a separate partition as well, as that offers a slight layer of extra protection in case of a problem later.

    You therefore have a structure similar to:

    c: operating system
    and so on.

    Makes life a lot easier if you need to reimage the machine later.



  67. I have a drive that won’t boot anymore, but I can access my profile and many other locations on the drive when it is slaved. Is there a way I can move certain files from the crashed drive to a new computer and get the mail and address book (Outlook Express – XPsp2)?

  68. Cheryl: press control+k (this causes outlook express to parse the email address) so that the email address has an underline. Then right click on it, and “Add to Address Book” will be an option. You can do this before you send. After you send if you go to your sent mail folder, open the message, you can just right click on the email address and Add To Address Book should be there as well.

  69. Pete: sure, just search for the .dbx folders on that drive, and then follow the instructions in the article you just commented on.

  70. Hey Leo Great site for helping others,

    I have a question about saving e-mail folders to a rw-cd so I can add to it later for backing up some e-mails.

    I would be able to look at on a later date ie: In Word or other word processor

    Thanks A Big Fan


  71. Gerry: I’m not exactly sure what your question actually is. Can you do that? Absolutely. How? Depends on your email program. You can typically export folders, or save individual messages to disk, but the steps (and the ramifications) will depend on the mail program you use.

  72. Being a little “green” on a computer, I hope I have luck from your instructions on the original topic when wanting to retrieve the stored “old” e-mail messages from the old computer to the new computer. My co-worker and I have our Outlook Express currently working on the new computer but the messages are dated only when the new computer was installed, for example, the messages are dating back to only Jan. 10th. My co-worker wants messages from say Nov. and Dec. 2005. Do I follow the same instructions?

  73. Before trying to export or copy OE files elsewhere, be sure to compact everything. (File>Folders>Compact All Folders) I was having all sorts of trouble transferring my data until I did that first. That one step solved everything for me!

  74. I found the answer to the “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open.” issue: There must be a non-corrupted Folders.dbx file in the directory that contains the messages that you are importing. Also, the dbx files must not be read-only.

  75. My hard drive boot sector crashed so i installed a new drive and set the old one to slave. My old operating system was ME, I now run Xp.
    Do a search for files with a DBX extention (*.dbx) on the old drive.this should list all of your seperate email folders as a different file (inbox, sent items,whatever else). This search will give you a folder location (path)
    call up your new outlook express and select file/ import/messages. select the relevant program from the list. hit next. hit browse and using the results of your search, locate the folder where the dbx folders are located. select either the individual folders or select all. follow the prompts and your messages and local folders will be added to your new outlook express aplication. the messages in the inbox will be added to those already there, they won’t be over written.

  76. I found this site on google search. We had the same problem as Andy Leahy (19 Jan 2006) & Rob Myers (22 Jan 2006) and following your instructions (along with those posted by Jon V (29 Jan 2006)) managed to import the emails, which has ended a week of hair-pulling…THANK YOU! I have book marked this site. It’s amazing these steps are not detailed in Outlook Express help, which only details how to compress to dbx files, not how to access them afterwards. Thanks again, Sarah.

  77. hi leo,
    i am Dr. Mittal from india.
    i have a hotmail id.
    i want to receive and send Hotmai e-mails from my outlook express pop3 server.
    What should I do?
    can u help me plz.

  78. To Dr Mittal

    If you have a hotmail email address then you are not using pop3, which is a type of mailbox normally associated with internet service providers like aol (or BT, Virgin, Tiscali etc. in the UK). To set up Outlook Express to send/receive via Hotmail, do this:

    1. In Outlook Express go to the Tools menu and select Accounts.
    2. In the top right corner of the box that has appeared, click Add and then Mail.
    3. Type your name and click Next.
    4. Type your email address and click Next.
    5. Select “My incoming mail server is a [HTTP] server”, and then in the new options that appear select “My HTTP mail service provider is [Hotmail]”. Click Next.
    6. Put your whole email address (including “” in the Account name box, and enter your password in the next box. Leave the checkbox “Log on using Secure Password Authentication” blank. Click Next.
    7. If you have done everything correctly, the account should now work just fine.

    Hope this helps.

  79. I am clearly doing something wrong. I have followed the instructions and made a CD containing the folders and address book. When I did so a message popped up saying there was a problem but I clicked that and went on anyway. Explorer reveals that the files are there on the disk. However, when I follow your import instructions for the address book I get to ‘import’ and a message tells me that ‘an error occured during the import process. the import process could not be completed’. Similarly when trying to import the messages folder I reach import and get ‘No messages canbe found in this folder or another application is running that has the required folders open. Please select another folder or try closing applications that may have files open’. So far as I can tell the only application I have open is Outlook Express.

    Any thoughts that might help me, please?

  80. I have been using microsoft office outlook. Last week I formatted my C: hard disc and copyed inbox.dbx, outbox.dbx on the seperate drive (D:). Now I want to restore those files on my microsoft ofice outlook. could you please suggest me?

  81. The “.dbx” files are not Microsoft Office Outlook files, they’re Outlook Express files. So I’m a little confused as to what you are trying to do.

  82. Dear Leo

    Actually I want to restore those dbx fiel, which are in seperate folders. Now I am using new outlook express. I tried to restore through microsoft outlook, by the following steps:1. click on FILE, then IMPORT and EXPORT, after that I found number of options to restore the file. But, unfortunately there is no option to recover those files which I have copied on my seperate drive. I just want to copy those old dbx file to my new outlook. Hope you understand

  83. Dear Leo,

    I had my Outlook emails saved onto a CD-ROM and now I want to import them onto a new machine using Outlook Express. I have gone through the wizard but after I have entered the location I get a message “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open. Please select another folder or try closing applications that may have files open”. Any suggestions as to how I can import my emails?


  84. I have copied my OE files onto a CD, but can’t seem to open them from the CD. I get a box with the message “Check the program you wish to use to open Inbox.dbx”, but none of the programs listed in the box will open the files on the CD. Please help.

  85. The information that Outlook Express can’t import from a read-only disk like a CD-ROM should be in your top post, right after where you say to tranfer it onto an number of options — including a CD-ROM. I ALMOST missed it in one of your responses far down the page. But after I saw that I was fine. THANK YOU.

  86. I am trying to import OE email messages from two “old” computers to my new computer. One of the old computers is running 98SE and the other is running XP. The new one is also running XP. All three are running OE 6.

    Here is what I’ve tried so far:

    Copying files from the old XP machine to a CD. Copying the files from the CD directly into the store folder on the new XP machine. The files appear in the directory when I view it in Windows Explorer, but do not appear when I open OE.

    Copying the CD files to another directory on the new machine’s hdd and importing from there. I got the “no messages can be found… or another application is running” message.

    Ditto using a jump drive.

    I have checked the file properties – they are not read-only.
    I have changed the name of the directories with copied files on the new machine to “Mail,” and tried designating both the “Mail” directory and the one above it for importation. Still got the “no messages can be found” message.

    I also tried renaming the folders.dbx file in the store directory on the new computer to folders.old, but that just erased all the existing messages that I WAS able to see in OE. When I changed the name back to folders.dbx, they were still gone (not good)! Now I have the 5 default folders and nothing in them. I have already set up my accounts, and have been able to receive mail, so OE appears to be working properly on the new machine.

    I’m at my wit’s end, and I really need these messages and folders all in one place. What am I doing wrong?? Could this be an identity issue? My identity was configured somewhat differently on each machine. However, when I tried “importing mail from an OE6 identity” instead of importing from a store directory, I got the same results – “no messages can be found…” Perhaps because the old identities were created on another computer? Help, please!

  87. Cat,
    I had the same problem. try closing express before you backup the folders. Also point the import browser directly at ‘outlook express’ rather than {7E79F063-C782-462F-A9A8-DA6592A013C6}.
    good luck

  88. Below is step by step answer for all those who get error messages importing mail folder messages :(leo forgot to mention that you need to have identical account info as old IE Outloook / Express ) (It is mentioned in step 3 below )

    1. locate your OE store folder which contains the mbx files and is usually at a location like
    C:WINDOWSApplication DataIdentities{long_number-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxx}MicrosoftOutlook Express
    for Windows 9x or
    C:documents and settingsusernameApplication DataIdentities{long_number-xxxx-xxxx-xxxx-xxxxxxxxx}MicrosoftOutlook Express
    for Windows 2000 or XP
    2. copy that folder to your new computer
    3. Open Outlook express on the new PC and set up your email account in it (or it won’t let you do the next step).
    4. In Outlook Express Click on the File menu->Import->Messages
    which will open a dialog box asking what you want to Import from – choose Outlook Express X depending on which version it is and then you can either Browse (OE4) or Import from Outlook Express Store Directory (OE5-6) – either of which you point at your copied data.
    The rest is self explanatory

  89. Hi Leo,

    I have a question. My old HD has crashed and cannot boot in WinXP. However, I can copy the files from the OE folder in the old HD. There are no problem to import the mails. However, I have lost all my contact in OE. How can I to find the address from the old HD and how to import to my OE? Thanks for your kindness.

  90. Hello William Ng

    Search your HD for *.wab
    and then import it by clicking Adressbook icon in OE and import adress book.

    If the OS on the HD was win98.
    C:WINDOWSApplication DataMicrosoftAddress Book

    if XP (file search will not find this)
    C:Documents and SettingsAdministratorApplication DataMicrosoftAddress BookAdministrator.wab (Change Administrator to your name if needed)

  91. Hello
    I have some problems moving accounts from one XP comp to another. (The simple thing to do is to configure mail account on another machine but often the user doesn’t remembers account settings). The problem is that comp with info that I need doesn’t work so I can access the HD but not boot XP from it to simply export to *iaf.
    Is there a way to move/copy account settings without opening OE on comp with needed info.
    The other question is how to export account settings in Outlook 2003?

    hope to get an answer:)

  92. Or, you can simply do it with some software tool.

    For example:

    That’s shareware, so you can download it, backup on one computer, restore to the other ( no limitations in the trial ), and then uninstall.

    The shareware version worked just fine for me, no need to buy it! 🙂 ( however, if I will use it for regular backups I would buy it )

    Works both with MS Outlook and Outlook Express


  93. I want to move all mail from hotmail inbox to outlook express in my computer, i try number of times, after completing configuration showing me error.

    ex: could not connect to hotmail as

    Hotmail no longer allows email access via Outlook Express for free email accounts.

  94. I made the mistake of trying to open .dbx files with outlook now all my .dbx files have changed to
    outlook for type of file and opens with outlook
    express. So my computer sees all .dbx files as outlook files. Any suggestion to correct this?

  95. It shouldn’t matter. If you just run Outlook Express it’ll open the files correctly. Just don’t try to double click on dbx files in Windows Explorer.

  96. Having tried to follow instructions using high level Export and Import commands and then failed I did my own research and with other info I found on the net I did succeed. So here is how to do it.
    Instead of trying the high level approach by using the commands on the OE page I drilled down to locate the actual Folder files and found where they are located on each PC. Then I simply copied these files from the old PC to the new PC. Then with one more trick involving a file called

  97. Goal: Move ALL existing Outlook Express folders from PC1 (desktop) to NBK1 (Lenovo T60).

    Result: Outlook Express on NBK1 imported only a subset of ALL existing Outlook Express folders.

    Note1: At home in Bellevue, my ISP is COMCAST.

    Note2: I needed to make this “email transfer” from PC1 to NBK1 because I wanted to use my email away from Bellevue, in Vienna.

    Note3: I screen-captured each single step in a Powerpoint file – I know exactly what I did.


    (1) In Bellevue, I copied ALL existing Outlook Express folders (some 150 folders, 234 MB total) from PC1 to an IOMEGA 40 GB portable HDD.

    (2) In Vienna, I copied those same ALL existing Outlook Express folders from the IOMEGA 40 GB portable HDD to NBK1, My Documents/OUTLOOK EXPRESS/Outlook Express PC1 subfolder; verified all files copied OK.

    (3) In Vienna, I configured the email account first to make sure “email works”. See explanation further below in Note5.

    (4) I then followed exactly the “importing steps” described by you – which I printed in August and took along with me to Vienna.

    (5) When done, I immediately noticed that the subfolders named CCC, DDD, FFF, PPP, … ZZZ (with all their further nested subfolders) failed to appear in Outlook Express on NBK1.

    (6) I verified that, e.g. “Fields, Michael.dbx” was indeed in the specified location, yet it did not get imported.

    (7) I decided to work – while in Vienna – with only a subset of the original Outlook Express folders and check with you upon my return to Seattle in September.


    Note4: The existing inbox with several read and several unread emails was imported correctly. The “newly created inbox” started receiving “new emails” on location in Vienna – through a different ISP – without any problems.

    Note5: Sending email repeatedly produced an error message “… authentication required …”. After some research of my own, I came to understand that it was necessary to ADDITIONALLY check the box “My server requires authentication” for the Outgoing Mail Server and further specify for Logon Information “Use same settings as my incoming mail server”. This is not necessary when I use email on a computer connected to my COMCAST-provided cable modem Internet connection at my home in Bellevue.

    Note6: In the Outlook Express on NBK1, I kept “all newly created emails” either in the Inbox or in the Sent Items. I did not contaminate the previously existing folders named AAA, BBB, HHH, etc with any new items.

    Dear Leo, I work in the rocket launching business at Boeing so I am accustomed to some mishaps and failures here and there in our own business … this particular Outlook Express failure has me stumped – please advise what I could try next !

    Thanks, Peter Halamek in Bellevue

  98. Here are some other hints on moving Outlook Express mail from one computer to another:
    1. First copy the Outlook Express folder from the source computer by this method using a floppy or USB drive:
    (a) On that computer click START, then SEARCH and in the file-name box enter OUTLOOK EXPRESS
    (b) In the SEARCH window, go to VIEW and select DETAILS to properly see the results
    (c) Find the OUTLOOK EXPRESS folder that is buried in a directory with a long name like this: “c:documents & settingsusernamelocal settingsapplication dataidentitieslong string of charactersmicrosoft”
    (d)Right Click on that folder and select SEND TO and then select your moveable media, floppy, USB Drive, etc.

    2. You can either merge this to your other computer by jumping to 4. below or you can create a separate mail box folder such as TransferIN and TransferSENT to keep these files isolated from your current Inbox and Sent folders. To create the isolated folders:
    (a)Open Outlook Express in the destination computer and right click on LOCAL FOLDERS in the directory list on the left (If not in view, goto VIEW, LAYOUT and click FOLDER LIST). In the right click menu, select NEW FOLDER and enter a folder name such as TransferIN. Create another folder named TransferSENT.
    (b)CRITICAL point: In Outlook Express you must now double click on these two new mail folders to activate them. Click on TransferIN until it opens and shows “no items..” and then TransferSENT until it opens. THIS IS A MUST.
    (c)Goto START and click MY COMPUTER. Click on the floppy or USB drive containing your copied folder. Right click on INBOX.dbx and select RENAME. Change the name of that file to TransferIN.dbx (must have the extension and exact spelling previously used). Do the same with SENT ITEMS.dbx and rename to TransferSENT.dbx.

    3. Transfer by going to the FILE menu and selecting IMPORT then Messages. Select your version of OE (you can go back to your source computer and open OE there, go to HELP and ABOUT to identify the version).
    (b)Click BROWSE and find your floppy/USB drive and click the + sign to its left; then select OUTLOOK EXPRESS and click OK
    (c)Click NEXT and then click SELECTED FOLDERS
    (d)Highlight TransferIN and then hold down the CTRL Key and highlight TransferSENT. Release and both these files MUST BE highlighted!
    (e)With both highlighted, click NEXT and those two folders will transfer the emails to your destination computer and into those mailboxes by that name.

    4. If you just want to merge the transferred emails into your existing INBOX and SENT ITEMS folders, skip step 2 above and follow the instructions in Step 3 above except in 3(d) select the files INBOX.db and SENT ITEMS.dbx since you haven’t changed them.

    Best of luck

  99. Hi Leo,
    re importing a wab file of the addresses saved earlier or from another pc etc. My problem is I followed your instructions, and the imported addresses in the source wab file are sorted into dozens of folders. But on importing, the addresses are just lumped together in the main identity contact list folder – ie the original folders are not re created – which would take hours to do manually. Any suggestions? ps i am using OE5, prefer to keep it for safety sake – upgrades can be painful.

  100. Hi Ray,
    don’t import your old address book. EXCHANGE it! First: The folder information of your address book is not in the ????.wab file, but rather in the corresponding ????.wa~ file. — Go to the place where the actual ???.wab and ???.wa~ files are on the target computer. Write down their names, could be different from your old address book name. Then delete them. Copy you “old” ????.wab and ????.wa~ files at that place. Rename them to the names which you have written down. That’s it. Upon next opening, Outlook Express finds your well-organized “old” address book with all the foulders.

  101. Hi Leo,

    although I find your advice very useful I sometimes find that has “holes” though I understand that you cannot provide details on every little thing…i am finding that this question is a regular question asked on many advice forums and is always left un-answered… so i leave it to you Leo (my Saviour) to answer it, so here it comes:

    Now… The situation is thus; My old PC gave up the ‘stink’ and therfore I had to invest in another one, now although the rest of the PC has been upgraded, I have brought the old hard drive across and introduced it to the system as a secondary hard drive (refered to as E:)… I copied the dbx files across from the old hard drive to a New folder on to the desktop on the Primary hard drive; however when I imported these DBX files into outlook express all went well apart from the folder structure was not imported and therefore the emails contained within seperate folders are not there… the DBX files i have copied all have the names of my old folders i.e. {folder name}.dbx and i also have located the folders.dbx file and placed this in the ‘new folder’ but still outlook express is refusing to import the folder structure and also the emails contained….

    What do you suggest?

    Thanks in advance and kind

    Alex Scotton

  102. You can periodically save a copy of the dbx file on a CDROM and clean the dbx. If you need to read a message stored on the CD, you can find it and read using a tool as “ArchiVista”.

  103. I hate to be a stick-in-the-mud here, but I too was relieved when I read that all I needed to do was turn off the “read-only” feature of the folder, but I’m finding that every folder on my C drive – even ones i create new with nothing in them – has at least a shaded checkmark next to “read-only,” and no matter how often I uncheck it and hit “apply” and “OK,” it is there again when i check that folder’s properties. So no matter what I do to try to “share” the folder with the .dbx files in it (even moving it to the All Users Shared Folder), I still get the “Import error: The mail folder could not be opened. If another application is using this file, please close it and try again.” Just thought I’d mention that here to see if there’s anything else we can try before I give up entirely and start bringing in tens of thousands of emails one at a time as .eml files. Thank you!

    Hash: SHA1

    What you’re describing sounds like the file sharing setting, which is
    NOT what we’re talking about here.

    This article includes screen shots of the setting to be changed:

    Version: GnuPG v1.4.6 (MingW32)


  105. I wanted to move my email messages from Outlook Express on an old Win 98SE machine to Outlook on a new XP machine. There are 2 major confusing things to note that hardly any advice posts tell you.
    1. The export on OE gives you an error message something like cannot initialise MAPI. BUT this is for exporting to Outlook on the same computer, why o why can it not just tell you this! Instead you shift / copy the .dbx files to a CD or whatever as many posts do tell you.
    2. On the new computer you have to import to Outlook Express first. Then and only then can you import to Outlook!!

  106. My problem is similar to one of the others posted but I took a different approach.

    My wifes computer, an emachine (and yes I do love her inspite of my poor choice of computers for her) abruptly died. All advice I found pointed to beating it with a large mallet and moving on. I took the hard drive and installed it a slave drive on then new machine I purchase for her (NOT AN EMACHINE..she is forgiving but don’t want to push it). I now need to locate the folder without the benefit on the old (no slave) hardrive on the new system.

    I tried searching for all .dbx files knowing that OE stores them as such and thinking that would lead me to the correct path but that yielded nothing except for some old .dbx files from a previous attempt to restore her emails.

    I noted that the system folder on the slave drive appears to have nothing in it. I have no experience with secondary drives so I was thinking that perhaps I have no way to access the information store if it start of the system folder on the slave drive even though data must exist there.

    Perhaps someone has experience working with slave drives and could help somehow. I know only enough to install it without electricuting myself and little else on access characteristic or how to get the old OE database of the slave and onto the new system.

  107. Thank you for the effortless transition information. My “Local Settings” folder was hidden. I just unhid and everything went smooth.

  108. Great instructions! I could never work out how to do this in the past.

    Only thing I would add is for email address transers, if the directory that Outlook Express says it’s stored email addresses in is within “Local Settings”, and you can’t find this directory, you need to un-hide it. Open up Windows Explorer or the “My Documents” folder. From the menu at the top, choose “Tools”, then “Folder Options”, then select the “View” tab. Within the list of options that appear, under “Hidden files and folders” check/select “Show hidden files and folders” and press “OK”. Now you should see the “Local Settings” folder when you look for it.

  109. I looked for the STORE folder as directed. the problem I have is that the long sub-directory list ended with ….Local SettingsApplication DataIc .

    I fired up my CD writer and looked through the directories listed there. The directory list shows Appication Settings first and then lists Local Settings. I still did not see the Store Folder listed unless it is burried further down the list.

    Since the “Store Folder” button on the Maintenance tab is not getting me to my goal, what do I do next?


  110. An absolute nightmare. Have spent three days, off and on, trying to get Outlook Express files from my old XP computer to my new Vista computer. The file transfers rarely complete-usually drop out half way through with pop up windows saying “this is a known Vista problem- click here for a solution.” This takes you to a useless microsoft help page that doesn’t address the issues. I’ve even tried copying the entire folder via the network to the new computer, but Mail doesn’t recognize it as a valid format. If we delivered software even 1/4th this buggy, we’d be out of business in a month. If I could do it over, I’d say run, don’t walk, away from this mess.

  111. Hi,

    My motherboard on my emachines finally went and the hard drive is still good. I bought an External Enclosure and so hooked up the hard drive with my Outlook Express info on it to transfer to my laptop, which i have done. I have OE on the laptop, so i just want to update/import all of the OE info from the old computer. It will not allow me to import, cannot locate the folder. OE from the old computer is in DBX format, so cannot even open anything to look at. It’s all there but i am a road block now.


  112. Leo, I followed your instructions for moving my Outlook express to my new laptop. Easy to do (thanks to you!) I used my flash drive. Got a question though. All the emails moved over from 2001 to 2005. However, no emails (in any file) from 2006 and 2007 transferred over. What did I do wrong? June

  113. Hi Leo. An important addition to simplify the works; on the old PC start outlook expres, goto extra > accounts > tab e-mail. Here you can export ( and later import on the newpc ) all e-mail account settings and passwords. This saves a lot of hassle with the accounts.

  114. I will say these steps were very helpful. I didn’t need to import files, as I had a HD that works, but had corrupted Windows OS. Plugged into another PC and was able to move the files to the new OE. I just needed to know where to begin looking for the directory… Thanks a ton!

  115. Hi Leo,

    I followed your instructions for outlook express from an old machine to a new one using windows vista, via an external hardrive (copied over). When I go to import from into the new “microsoft mail” following the exact directions and pointint it to the directory I moved the old files into it doesn’t recognize the old express .dbx files when I click next and gives me an error message. Is there something I’m doing wrong? I don’t think the new windows and microsoft mail (which has the import from outlook express 6 option) recognizes the old files. Are my files from an even older version of express that’s not recognized??
    any help would be appreciated.

    thank you,


  116. I’m with Anthony above (“Posted by: Anthony at December 15, 2007 05:15 PM”). I’ve put my dbx files (in the /UserName/Documents/{xxxx…/Microsoft/Outlook Express folder, as on the old machine) on my new Vista machine and tried File | Import | Messages. I get a “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open” error message. The files I have in this folder are all the dbx files (including Folder.dbx). I can’t find anything anywhere to tell me what I’m doing wrong (in fact, several sites tell me to do what I’ve already done and nothing more…).

    Judging from the above, looks like I’m not alone. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  117. Regarding the problem that Anthony and Mark were having, I had a problem with this too and have now resolved it. A step-by-step explanation can also be found on:

    My problem was that I could copy the files across to the machine, but I didn’t realise a couple of important points when importing them into windows mail. The mistake I was making related to these points:

    When locating the OE6 files you have created –> Click Browse, find the Outlook Express folder you copied to this computer, and then click the folder once to select it. (Do not open the folder when you select it.) The mistake I made was opening this folder, which caused to not work, because: Outlook Express stores your messages in a folder that contains several different .dbx files. These files (folders.dbx, inbox.dbx, outbox.dbx) contain all your messages. Windows Mail cannot import any of these files individually; you must import the entire Outlook Express folder.

    Hope this might be useful for anyone else coming across this thread when trying to deal with this issue!

  118. I keep my OE emails in a folder in My Documents so that they are backed up whenever I backup My Documents. I’ve just had a virus which zapped all of my programs (including OE), but not my data. So the emails were saved, but I lost my address book. I would like to be able to keep my address book in My Documents. Does anybody know if you can change the folder in which the address book is kept?

  119. One thing to watch out for is the fact that there can be multiple “identities” folders on the system. This tripped me at first. I was looking at “documents and setting/USERNAME/Application data/identities” but the real data was in “documents and setting/USERNAME/local settings/Application data/identities”. Of course it’s all there when you look at”Maintenance -> storage folder” but it is so easy to overlook it in this long path.

  120. I’m still getting the same message as noted above (no files found or another program is using them). This ‘newer’ machine is running XP. On the old computer I located the files and uploaded all of them to an online storage area. Then I downloaded them to a folder I made that’s sitting on the desktop of the newer computer. I just can’t see where I’m going wrong. Susan stated the folder should only be clicked on once… I did but it still ‘opens’ it in the tree. And, again, the folder is one that I made and not one of the mail program’s folders (if that means anything to this mess). What would happen if I find the location on the new machine and then physically move the contents of my mail folder into it? I’m grasping at straws! Thanks very much for your help!!

  121. On the old machine,locate Outlook Express’ email in Tools, Options, on the Maintenance tab there’s a button labeled Store Folder.
    copy the link and then START_RUN-paste the link
    then copy all the folders on cd or flash.then open the store folder on the other machine and paste the folders.

  122. How can it be that after I copied all of the .dbx files into the storage folder that I created and pointed Outlook Express to, the program only SEES 2 of the 22 files?? I tried to make a new folder with the same name as one of the old ones and that didn’t help. I even tried Importing again but got the same response – “no files found or another program is using them” Thank you for trying to help!

  123. I have a question and maybe a few answers.

    I was having a similar problem and found that by copying in a default version of a Folders.dbx that I was able to then import the inbox.dbx, but NOT any of the other *.dbx’s.

    I am unsure if that is due to the default Folders.dbx or if Outlook Express simply does not import the other folders such as Deleted Items.dbx?

    Also, for grins, I renamed the Deleted Items to Inbox.dbx in another test environment and no messages came out of the import even though that dbx is larger than the original inbox that I was eventually able to import using the default Folders.dbx. I suspect that the import process is not using the file name, but rather data stripped from the files.

    So I can get some of you to import your Inbox.dbx like me, but I and some of you will still probably want to know how to get into other .dbx files.

    If anyone has the glass slipper to this last piece, please share it as I have a Cinderella of a file that needs it! 🙂


  124. My situation is unique. After killing a virus, I had no choice but to use the System Recovery (With Backup) that is the failsafe CD for my eMachine. After getting the OS going, I had to reinstall all applications, but the data was backed up (and my photos!). Recovering emails is simple – they are in the stored identities folders that got backed up with everything else. My problem is, where do I find the address folders? I have no working old version of OE to export the address folders!

    Please help — my wife’s business contacts are at stake!!!

  125. Just wanted to piggyback on Pater’s 3/11/08 comment — I just DELETED the folders.dbx file in the NEW computer (in the USERNAME/local settings/application data/identities/IDENTITY#/microsoft/outlook express directory) and suddenly, I could SEE all the old mailboxes, that I had already copies in manually. Well…actually…I had somehow already lost a bunch of them — but that’s another sad story. Meanwhile, this let OE SEE everything that was there. It must build a new folders.dbx file, that includes everything in the directory.

  126. What can i say….worked first time and no issues with dbx.files. Must add my thanks as like Bruce F. laplink was an abject failure and your site saved the day. Many thanks.

  127. A big thanks to RR at November 10, 2004 12:17 PM for his posting on re-naming the “folders.dbx” to any other name.dbx to make it possable to then inport all your old folders and messages into OE.
    And thanks Leo for a very helpfull site.

  128. Thanks so much for posting instructions on how to move OE files from one computer to another. Was fast and easy. Used a flash drive. Last time I did this, it a long time to manually find and move all these files. This was 1000% better! Thanks.

  129. Fine, but a warning: if the old machine happened to be, instead, Windows XP with multiple Outlook Express identities then a different procedure should be used including .csv

  130. You are my hero……
    I spent a whole week trying to get those files over and although l wasn’t able to follow your route exactly….once you showed me the source directory…. all worked out. It took me 4 full CD’s (and a bit of tweaking until l had all the necessary source folders on each CD) but finally all my email files are copied from Windows 2000 Pro to my new XP Pro. Thank you very much… needed those files to continue work on a
    multi year project. You are the man!

  131. I did this:
    On the old machine, the easiest way to locate Outlook Express’ email store is to ask Outlook Express. Fire it up, and then in Tools, Options, on the Maintenance tab there’s a button labeled Store Folder. Click that and it will tell you the folder containing your email folder.

    But, instead of copying it, I moved it to a new location. We then tried to open the folders and they are all empty. We also tried to import them back into Outlook Express because they were no longer there. Now, all of the folders in Outlook are empty. How do I get the contents back?


  132. i want to move my outlook express inbox and other tools into my webmail account plz what is procedure…

    You’ll need to check with your webmail provider, but I’m actually not aware of a way to do that in genneral.

    – Leo (Notenboom)
  133. I have read many of the posts for th OE problems and have not gotten close to a resolution to my problem. Outlook Express will not open and I am desperate to save both the folders as well as the address book. When the suggestion is open OE, go to tools…etc; that is not an option. I can save it to this drive or a network computer but I have to get the data from a dead program. Any thoughts???

  134. Excellent explanation and description on what to do but unfortunately it didn’t work thus far. Exported OE6 dbx files from old machine on jump drive and installed on HD of new machine (Vista 64 bit). Verified they weren’t read only and even changed them to read only and then reversed it. Closed other papps. Didn’t transfer. Same error messages noted in your writeup.

    Any other suggestions?

  135. Followed your instruction, but unsuccessful. A message appreaed instead. Import Messages (x): which is saying “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has required files open. Please select another folder or try closing application that may have files open.”

  136. When I export from OE6, all of the addresses export at once rather than in separate folders as I have them. How do I keep them separate?

  137. Thanks that worked on my deleted file and inbox file but OE6 still dont whant to inport my sent items and all the others.How do I go about.The old machine had Windows ME on but The New machine Hafe Windows XP on now.The Files was copyed from OE5.Thanks Nico

  138. How can I import or transfer folders from another file ? I inadvertenly sent all my folders from Outlook Express to a location labeled C:MyPictures. How do I get the folders back ?

  139. Excellent. It was very easy to follow you steps.Now I have my info in my new PC.
    Thank you very much.
    I’ll keep in touch from Mexico.

  140. Thank you so much, I am so not a techo, and this worked!!! My hard-drive crashed and the techo man managed to recover these dbx files for me. I had no idea how to get them onto new pc in Express. You are a lifesaver… all the way to Australia. THANK YOU.

  141. Thanks, Leo, but it does not work this way, when I try to import the *.dbx files the way you described,it does not show the files in the window.( in the explorer yes, but not in the importing window ) windows mail has obviousely other file-endings than outlook express. I am desperate, since I have about 400 mails, which I absolutely need……..

  142. Thanks! I had looked elsewhere to no avail and FINALLY got a clear and successful answer here. Worked beautifully, with every folder recreating itself with all its messages.

  143. Hello this worked really well first time – after a few unsuccessful attempts trying to follow other people instructions. Thank you very much

  144. Hi, These instructions were very useful. However, I am now trying to change from Outlook Express to regular Outlook and need to copy my e-mails and addresses over. Can you help? Many thanks in advance.

    Outlook has an import function. Look into that.

    – Leo
  145. I was able to move all of my Outlook Express folders to my new computer except for the sections of the address book that were in a sub folder under main identity’s contacts. The csv file only took the contact in the main file. There are at least another 300 contacts left in the sub folders. Please help – what do I do?

  146. Thanks much!!! Your directions were right on and worked w/out a hitch. Moved everything from XP to Vista…no problems. Bought you a Grande Frapiccino!

  147. ………Store Folder. Click that and it will tell you the folder containing your email folder”
    When I try to follow tha trail I cme to a brick wall I want to export my EMals to an external hard drive and reimport them back again later when I hav cleaned up the Computer which perateson XP.
    I cannot locate “Local Settings” as in Local SettingsApplication DataIdentities{445 etc etc}MicrosoftOutlook Express on the trail tat I am given after pressing Store Folder

    Wouls ppreciate help

  148. i am trying to move my outlook express data into Windows Live Mail. But when i get into the import section and click on “Microsoft Outlook Express 6” and then “Next”, i dont get the option for “import mail from an OE6 store Directory”
    What should i do?
    If i try to directly pick data from the hard disk, (where i have saved my original files), it does not work.
    pls advise

  149. You can also find your outlook express address book here and share the foler C:Documents and SettingsYOURNAMEApplication DataMicrosoftAddress Book

  150. With the purchase of a new computer it was a worry on how I could accomplish the moving of my e-mail information. After check many places I came across Leo’s instructions and they were perfect. So easy to understand and complete. Now that is load off of my mine. Thanks Leo!

  151. Hi Leo and thanks for your help. I have followed the instructions carefully to import the saved message store, and after selecting the store directory get the message **No Messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open. Please select another folder or try closing applications that may have files open** The store file does contain data. I don’t have any other applications open. Would appreciate your thoughts. Many Thanks

  152. How do I burn INDIVIDUAL Local Folders from Outlook Express to a DVD/CD.None of the above seems to apply?

    Regards, Bill.

  153. How do I move Outlook Express messages from a WIN XP PC to Outlook on a Vista PC that does not have Outlook Express on it.

  154. Could not get by the “No messages could be found in this folder…” error and found that no “READ ONLY” attributes were set on any Outlook files even thought the folder showed the “Read Only” green box (not green check) meaning only “some” files were read only… NONE WERE, but still the “No messages could be found…” error when trying to import across the network from the shared drive. I simply started from the new laptop, navigated to the old Outlook “store folder” across the network connection, did Edit/Select All, then Copy… copied them all. Determined the Outlook “store folder” on the new machine, as detailed above, then pasted into that “store folder” replying “YES TO ALL” for all of the “Do you want to replace” messages. Worked like a charm.

  155. I transferred the e-mails from Outlook Express on my old computer (XP) to my new computer (Vista). Before I move the Internet cable from my old computer to the new one, how can I be sure that the new computer will have all the transferred e-mails in folders, instead of all just in one big list (1000’s of them). The individual e-mails are virtually useless to me if I can’t access them by their folders. — KH

  156. How do I retrieve my outlook express 6 folders off of my laptop that crashed, I am able to access incoming mail but the folders don’t show up.

  157. Will this work with Outlook?

    Outlook is a completely different program and process. In short: just copy the PST file to the new machine.

    – Leo

  158. Leo, will this process work if the new computer is an iMac? The programs that i have found found the transfer of outlook to an iMac have all said that they do not work on Outlook Express. Please help!

  159. I need to import an OE address book from my laptop into my desktop OE. I need to merge these files but will the first replace the second? Thanks for advice. roj

  160. When I move my OE6 messages from one machine to another the “Account” column is blank on the new machine. Why and is there a fix?

  161. Hi Leo –
    When I go to FILE in OE Address Book, in order to begin the process of copying my address book (wab) for moving to new laptop, IMPORT & EXPORT are not highlighted, so I can’t get past that point. Any ideas?

  162. FYI, a simpler way to transfer messages to a new pc, is to copy the entire “Outlook Express” folder to the new pc and then change the message store on the new pc to point to the just copied “Outlook Express” folder. Piece of cake. Messages are immediately available, no import required. Nice thing about this is you can place the new message store in an easier-to-find place to help make the next migration even simpler

  163. I backed up my outlook express email folders to a disc and now I want to add them to the Outlook 07 email I’m using…can’t figure it out. They are all dbx. files

  164. How to find Outlook Express email folder:
    First, go to folder option > view: uncheck hidden files and folders

    Go to C: (or whatever drive windows resides on)
    Documents and Settings
    Username (your username)
    Application Data
    GUID Identifier (random string like {3B0FA092-2222-1111-A1B2-111A1AA1AAA11}
    Outlook Express


    c: (or whatever drive windows resides on)
    Documents and Settings
    Username (your username)
    Local Setting
    Application Data
    GUID Identifier (random string like {3B0FA092-2222-1111-A1B2-111A1AA1AAA11}
    Outlook Express

    GOOD LUCK!!!

  165. Thank you for this article — why must outlook be the most complicated program on the planet and why is there even email that isn’t web based anymore. this couldn’t be any harder for the uninitiated

  166. When I try to get the GUID file moved from my old computer to the new computer OE6 in the new computer refuses saying that either the file contains no messages or is already in use. I am not running OE on the old source computer and no file windows are up. Any ideas

  167. Oh WOW, thanks, simple instructions and I’m writing this as my two thousand plus messages from one computer join the several hundred already on my other.

  168. I am using outllook express-6 and my most mail directly go to diffrent folder as I defined in Tool>Message Rules>mail.
    Now I have changed my computer so how can I get all these settings??

  169. Hi Leo – I have the same issue in trying to move my e-mail from Outlook Express (not Outlook) to a Windows Vista machine. Seems like I have tried everying, even have a easy transfer cable. It too tells me the files contain no messages. Any suggestions? I am now trying to do an export in Outlook Express, but I don’t know where it’s putting the exported files……HELP!!!!

  170. I followed your advise on how to move my outlook express folders, it moved them alright, but it erased all the messages on the computer that I took it from and I can read the files on the new machine, they are in DBX (whatever that is). I tried system restore and cannot locate where my email might be. Please help. Maybe I’m out of my league here, but it looked fairly easy. But now I’m in worse shape then before!

  171. My windows XP corrupted, goes blue screen. I did not backup my address book for outlook express, may I know is that a way to recover back the address book?

  172. Thanks for the instructions, I was prepared to put aside 2 days to forward all my emails so I did not have to take my computer overseas. All contacts and emails copied to my other computer in less than 20 min

  173. My old computer mother board failed. They took my old hard drive and re-installed it into my new computer as a second hard drive. They told me the email files were still on the old hard disc. How do I access them and import them into the newly reinstalled Outlook Express?

  174. I know very little about about computers, so bear with me. I accessed my email from my ISP through OE. My computer with XP “died” a couple weeks ago. The blue screen came up and I can’t get past that. I just bought a new computer with Windows 7 & just found out that I can’t use Outlook Express anymore, which I really liked. I can access my email though my orig. ISP. But, is there any way to retrieve things that were saved in folders? What are my options since I can’t use OE anymore? Thanks!

    You’ll need to switch to a different email program, copy your folders over from your old machine, and then import those messages into the new email program. Exactly how that’s done depends on the email program you choose. This article also touches on it: Where is Windows Mail, or Outlook Express, in Windows 7?


  175. How can I read my e-mails on this computer. My computer froze up and I have to take it in to get it fixed. Until then I need to read my e-mails

    No way to know without knowing what email service you want to read. Some have web interfaces that you can access from any computer – some do not. Check with your email service.


  176. Hi Leo,
    I am trying to move my old Outlook Express emails to Windows 7 Outlook.
    When I click
    File, Import and Export, Import from another program or file, Outlook Express 4 5 6 or Windows Mail,
    I get a message: “No Internet accounts were found to import”
    And that is all.
    No questions asked where my files are stored etc.
    So the above article does not work for me… Is there a way around it to get my old email in Outlook under Win 7…?
    I appreciate your time.

  177. “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open.” I received help from MS Tech support and was told to rename the Folders.dbx file located in the OE Store directory (see above for how to locate this) to something like Folders.old or a name of your choosing. Try the import into OE again after this and you should see your messages.

    Is it necessary to move ALL folders to a new hard drive? I really just need my “Saved Emails” folder and when you renamed the Folders.dbx to Folders.old, was this on the old hard drive or on the machine you want to transfer too?

  178. Leo:
    In your direction to copy Outlook Express to my new machine you say copy it to CD-ROM, or share on your network. I have only a CD burner where you put a file to be copied in your document file then go from there. Will this work also? James

  179. Leo, I did what you said above about relocating the store folder, though I lost all my current emails going back to Sept 09 now. I have tried to import the current folders or even the dxb files dated today 14/12/09 but I get an error saying the program is already open or something. Any ideas?

  180. Hi,
    I download my email from a company server as POP3. I have it set to download new email but leave it on the server as unread, as a type of backup. I migrated my email from the old computer to new as you described and it worked great. however, I now want to download email as before. I setup the email account settings using the wizard, and now when I want to send/receive, it is trying to download all 9800 emails that are stored on the server. My original machine knows not to download these anymore. how do I tell the new machine that these other emails are old? Is there a file somewhere on the old machine? thank you,

  181. I have a problem in my outlook – few of my mails are lost, I mean I am not be able to see 3 months email in my x inbox.

    And in my sent item I had two folder y & z both are showing 0 msgs but if i click the property in store folder it says 20 Mb , I am very much upset and do not know I can I read all the mails again, I scan my computer lots of time and I also try to open my new email ac of hotmail in outlook and then paste the same file again but I am not be able to see all of my mails.

    I do hope some one will help me …..


  182. I have Windows 7 Professional. I have installed XP Mode into it and imported my old XP computer’s Outlook Express folders to the XP Mode version of Outlook Express, which runs in a Virtual PC. I can now continue to work with Outlook Express in a window on my 64-bit Windows 7 Professional system.


  183. I did exactly as specified above for my messages. They are in the folder with the new messages that have since been stored. However they show up in outlook express when I open it. I got a new computer but it still has xp as did my old machine.

  184. I am trying to restore my email messages from an external hard drive to Outlook Express. I have saved the messages in a file on my hard drive as you recommended in the above post. However, when I try to import them into Outlook Express I get the following error message: No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that has the required files open. Please select another folder or thy closing applications that may have files open. I’m not aware of any other applications running with the files open although I do have the messages saved in a folder on my desktop. How do I complete the import?

  185. I have windows XP and have bought a Toshiba laptop. I want to transfer my emails, outlook express, from windows
    XP to my Toshiba laptop.

  186. This is to help people attempting to open old, saved Outlook Express folders (full of saved emails and attachments) in Windows Vista, using Windows Mail. A few flukey things have to be done to make it work, and I haven’t seen them explained anywhere. So, again: opening or importing Outlook Express *.dbx files into Windows Mail. I was using XP and the old computer finally gave out. The new computer has Vista on it and Windows Mail as the only Microsoft email program. I had been using OUtlook Express for many years (at least 10) but I had already learned that there was no way to put a working copy of OE (Outlook Express) onto a Vista computer. I had saved liteally THOUSANDS of OE emails over the years, many with attachments. I was not willing to simply dump them. I found this and several other threads on sites and newgroups giving some of the keys necessary for getting Windows Mail to be able to open the OE *.dbx files. (1) I had taken the old drive from the old computer, put it in an external drive USB sleeve and opened it. (2) I then moved the old, saved OE emails to another external drive that was stronger, newer, larger, and less vulnerable to problems. (3) Then within Windows Mail, I did what was recommended here: File, Import, Messages, Outlook Express 6 … and then identified the drive and folder that held all the *.dbx folders. I had the same result that many people here had: No folders or file were recognized. Intuitively, I figured that they must have been set to “Read Only” or something, so I went to Windows Explorer, found the outside folder that contained all the *.dbx folders and right-clicked to read the “Properties.” “Hidden” was not checked, but the “Read Only” circle was blue. I tried unbluing it … for it and all the subfolders, but that didn’t work … and it was still blue when I looked again. I read HERE (in another posted comment) that the blue circle meant indeterminent, unlike a “Check” that meant, “Yes, Read Only.” But still, Windows Mail couldn’t read or “see” the folders after I tried “unclicking” the blue circle. THAT’S THE POINT AT WHICH I STOPPED FINDING COMMENTS THAT MOVED ME CLOSER TO THE SOLUTION. I continued to try another dozen things that didn’t work. (4)Finally, here’s what DID work: When you are in the Windows Mail import function, and get to the step where you identify the drive where the files are, the very NEXT step will be to ID the actual outside folder you have holding all the *.dbx folders. (5) When you do that (WHEN YOU HIGHLIGHT BUT BEFORE YOU CLICK the actual outside host folder), right click that folder FROM WITHIN THE WINDOWS MAIL FUNCTION, and check properties. You will probably see that the “Read Only” circle is blue (as it was in Windows Explorer), but when you unclick the circle from within the Windows Mail function, it STAYS unclicked … at least while you are still in that function. It may show you that you have made this choice for all subfolders, and then goes back to where you can actually CLICK the folder to have Windows Mail choose it for the source of the folders you want to import. (6) NOW the folders will show, and you can do the import process. See my next comment for a second thing you will want to make sure about.

  187. This comment concerns a SECOND issue you should be clear about when importing a group of *.dbx folders (from OE) into Windows Mail. Someone commented correctly that there MUST be a folder called “folders.dbx” among your folders you are trying to import. If there isn’t one, it won’t help to simply name a new or old folder that … because that one … created inside a running Outlook Express … actually contains a copy of the LIST of the expected *.dbx folder names that you had in your old OE. So that if you moved those folders and neglected to move that one, then you’ll have nothing to point the way for Windows Mail to ID all of the folders you saved and want to import. So you’ll have to go back to the old computer with OE on it, open OE, create a new mail folder–to force folders.dbx to make a new and updated copy of itself, and then close it normally, and THEN move those folders to the new computer or external drive, etc.

    The other thing is that if you had already saved a bunch of old OE mail folders from yet ANOTHER computer (as I did), and then merged the two (or more) sets together, then (in order to avoid overwriting any folders) you probably have one folder called “folders.dbx” and another one you already renamed “folders-old.dbx” or something like that. If so, when you try the import function (as described in my earlier comment), you will quickly find that the program will import (and then recognize) only the folders associated with the file called “folders.dbx” and NONE of the ones in “folders-old.dbx” or whatever you renamed the OTHER old version of “folders.dbx” to avoid over-writing it. So after importing the first bunch and once Windows Mail already recognized those imported first), you will have to go back into the folder in which all those email folders are combined and rename the two competing folders so that the OTHER one will be named “folders.dbx” and the first one no longer is. [I hope that’s clear!] Then do the whole import process over again and the second group will magically be recognized, and the first no longer will. [but that’s okay because Windows Mail already has them in ITS “folders.dbx” … or whatever is analogous to it.] I found out too late that I should have kept the two iterations of OE folders separate, in separate outside host folders, and I would have avoided having to figure that out. BTW … if you renamed OTHER folders that shared names [like “SENT,” for example] from one of the groups you merged together when trying to save your old OE email folders, then NONE of the ones you renamed will be recognized because the renamed names are not the ones in the OE folders.dbx … UNLESS you were smart enough to already know exactly how all of this was going to work together (or not), in which case you would probably not be reading this comment! BUt if you wisely renamed them to avoid a merging conflict while the folders were still in a working Outlook Express … so that the last copy of “folders.dbx” accurately reflected the renaming … then you won’t have that conflict. So if you are just THINKING about it: RENAME BEFORE MERGING … and do it from withing Outlook Express, so that the folders.dbx file will have all the right info AND you won’t have the merging conflicts that will lead to renaming after-the-fact. And, also, don’t merge two iterations of Outlook Express folders. Keep them in separate folders and import from each other them separately, per the instructions in my first comment. I hope that’s all comprehensible and I hope these hints help someone.

  188. It worked like it was written. I have a Master in Computer Science and can write in more than a dozen languages. This article saved me and made me look good in front of my wife. I owe you one.

  189. I have my old HD in a external unit attached to my new computer by a USB.
    Having searched through the 24 pages of posted solutions to my problem of retrieving my old outlook express folders, it is now my belief that retrieving OE Message Folders from my old HD is a myth.
    I have searched for folders.dbx and .dbx, with the result of no such files exist.
    Do I sound frustrated?

  190. I moved my OLEXP contacts to my new Win7 PC but some of the contact subfolders weren’t included in the CSV. Any hints?

  191. i have a new computer with windows 7 and thus no outlook express and i have no clue how to get outlook express from that computer to the new computer. I have moved the files to the new computer but windows live doesn’t recognize the folders. I have tried to convert the outlook express files to outlook on the old computer but that doens’t seem work. I have spent all day on this, searched the web and spoke to about 10 people in India who have no clue. Can you help

  192. i am unsuccessful in copying one .dbx folder from another computer to my computer. everytime i try to import from the location, it says no such folder exists or another program is trying access. Pl adv how do i transfer only some messages (not entire mails) just some mails say about 50-60 messages from another computer’s outlook express to my computer’s either outlook express or preferably into ms outlook as i prefer to work in ms outlook.

  193. (1) Create a folder on your Computer
    (2) Sellect the email files you want to copy
    (3) drag them to your folder then burn folder to cd

  194. I had the same problem when I went to reinstall vista on my laptop. I tried to export contacts and messages to an external hard drive but couldn’t do. What I did was I opened up windows mail and imported mail and contacts from Outlook. I then exported mail and contacts from windows mail to my external hard drive.
    Once I had reinstalled vista, I opened windows mail and imported contacts and mail from external hard drive and then I opened up outlook and imported contacts and mail from windows mail.
    it all worked fine. Don’t know if it is a correct procedure but now have all old contacts and mail now in outlook

  195. thankyou very helpful as ive been racking my brain trying to do this for my wife since ive upgraded our hard drive ive been trying to transfer her outlookexpress this simplified it once again thanks big help

  196. I successfully imported my email messages and address book to my new computer (XP to Vista). However, the DRAFTS and SENT folders are not there. Can you tell me why this would happen? I really need both of these folders. I’ve checked the old drive and they don’t seem to be there. Could they be “hidden” for some reason? Please help! Thank you. 🙂

  197. After trying unsuccessfully every conceivable technique suggested, including the one at the top of the page, I finally did the following. I moved the Outlook Express directory on XP Home to replace the Outlook Express directory (empty of files) on XP Professional over a network. I simply copied “Outlook Express” from the source OE6 and pasted it to the “Microsoft” directory on the destination machine. I then simply started OE6 on the destination machine and it came up without a hitch.

    The path to “Outlook Express” in both cases is:
    Docuements and SettingsValued Customer(or your name)Application DataLocal SettingsApplication DataIdentities{Registry address. Different for every machine}MicrosoftOutlook Express

    When the 3.6 GB transfer was copied to the Microsoft directory on the destination machine, it replaced all existing Outlook Express directories on the destination machine that were in the source machine. The transfer took about 3 hours. The same method can be used with a portable disk, but not with a CD, which converts all files to read only, and must first be transferred to a hard drive to have the read only attribute unchecked before transferring to the destination OE6.

    This method was based on a suggestion posted by: Gary at August 12, 2009 11:16 PM

  198. none of this worked for me, the problem I think is that on my new install the version of outlookExpress is 6 and on the old machine it was 5.00 so it wont import from the old version

  199. hi,

    I have a different problem. I get an error message when I import messages from desktop, which I copied from another machine, says “No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that required files open. please select another folder or try closing application that may have files open.”

    What could be the reason?



  200. i was using window vista but upgrade to window 7, i was getting my mail to outlook express but after converting i am unable to get my mail in outlook and when i set up my account the msg appears that password & username is conflicting. if you can help me on this. Regards

  201. I lost my user profile and consequently lost my email connections. I did the above but only got my inbox, sent, outbox, drafts, journal, junk, notes tasks and deleted. I don’t seem to be able to import my personal folders (ones I added and named). The files are there but I cannot get the system to import or read them. Got any suggestions?

  202. Experience with CONVERSION of OUTLOOKE EXPRESS emails (from XP) to WINDOWS 7 (new PC) WINDOWS LIVE mail.
    Much as I would like to I will not rant about the idiocy of Microsoft, who decided to eliminate the option for Outlook Express in Windows 7, nor made it anything but difficult to do a conversion. But, it can be done!!!! Hopefully this will help others though I am sure I do not cover all the issues out there. I just went through this conversion this weekend so wanted to post experience thoughts in hopes it may help.
    Background – I had regularly backed up my data on Clickfree (completely easy and mindless – highly recommend). I did a final backup the night before I converted over to my new PC. Current one was 5 years old and SLOW.
    The entire ‘restore’ to new PC went wonderfully, including iTunes, from Clickfree hardrive. This includes the files from Outlook (with one glaring exception!!!). However, when it came time to importfiles into LIVE Email the following would occur.
    Go to File>Import>Message… Browse to find folder where the backup has been stored. Then click NEXT. Here is what happened:
    No messages can be found in this folder or another application is running that required files open. please select another folder or try closing application that may have files open
    (NOTE: Exported files from Outlook express are saved as *.DBX files)
    First issue I figured out… (although, read second issue as well, because that is critical too):
    You MUST browse/define ALL THE WAY DOWN to the >outlook express folder. Initially, I was just defining to about C:Documents and Settings[username] rather than all the way to where you can view email file folders. It is very similar to below filepath, with the identifier number being unique to you. I finally figured this out after I copied my data from clickfree to a folder I defined, then went to mycomputer to find the file. Just keep clicking all the way down. Once you determine you can actually see your Outlook Express folders (and, these are just the highlevel folder names you have stored the individual emails in, which are there, but you can’t see) then you have to go back to the Windows Live File>Import>Message… and get to there. You will see the file folder names. Select the files you want to import. I recommend just doing a handful at a time. See, ‘ONCE COPIED’ below.

    C:Documents and Settings[username]Local SettingsApplication DataIdentities{12345678-1234-ABCD-EFGH-1234567890AB}MicrosoftOutlook Express
    SECOND ISSUE – VERY IMPORTANT. There MUST be a FOLDER.DBX file in your outlook express directory mentioned above. This is a file that defines the directory/file structure from your old email. I have no idea why, but this one critical file did not get backed up/copied over/recognized or whatever from my Clickfree. Once I figured this out from reading other help blogs, I went back to old PC and found it, manually copied it over to a flashdrive, then copied over to outlook express folder on new PC. After that, the import worked, the detailed path was recognized and I could select folders to import. My guess is, THIS ISSUE is the #1 problem with improting, from what I have read, causing the error message above (though not defining down to detailed path is an issue as well).

    So, if you have gotten this far you are in good shape and it is a matter of patience and finesse to get what you want.
    Here is where it was fun. Issues:
    1) You MUST define the detailed path, clicking through several times, EVERY TIME you do an import. Because you will run into error messages from individual files, you don’t want to attempt to do everything at once (IMHO). You will get to know this path really well.
    2) When you have imported, you will see Imported File (1), click on that you will see INBOX, click on that you will likely see the name of a file you recognize. Unfortunately you get the Imported>Inbox everytime. This meant I had to rename the IMPORTED to what I wanted it to be from old one (id’d in imported subfolder) and then copy the emails from that highlevel folder to IMPORTED (1) you rename:
    3) EXAMPLE:
    IMPORTED (1) INBOX SPORTS (from import) SOCCER (subfolder) TENNIS (subfolder) etc.. I simply renamed IMPORTED (1) To SPORTS, copied all emails directly in SPORTS folder to new SPORTS, then moved SOCCER,TENNIS subfolders up to new SPORTS/IMPORTED folder( Drag them) and then verify that INBOX and old SPORTS folders are now empty and delete them. This just keeps things clean and able to view at all times.
    4) This movement/reorganization etc.. was the other reason I did grouped imports, so I could keep track and organize what I was doing as I went along. People have their own organization systems so this is just an example of what worked for me.

    NOTE: Several times I would get an error message saying something like “some messages in folder XYZ could not be imported.” You have to confirm. Sometimes it would just proceed to next folder, sometimes it would terminate. So, pay attention to which files so you ‘skip’ them next time to continue progress importing, but can go back. Sometimes later it would work, sometimes I never was able to get old email files imported. Not that many had that issue, however and no clue as to what the actual problem was, but none were critical enough to me that I bothered with it.

    Also, the contacts import is another matter and takes a LONG time to import.

    Hope this is somewhat helpful and clear enough. It took a while to get there, but you can, NO THANK TO MICROSOFT!!!


  203. I successfully moved my email from my old machine with Outlook Express to my new machine with Windows 7 Windows Live Mail. My old email folders went into the storage folder like you said. One problem I’d like to fix if I can…all the mail in the sent folder shows it is from me rather than showing who I sent it to. Is there any way I can get the format back the way it is usually listed in sent mail with To…Subject…Date instead of From…Subject ..Date?

    Found this on that: (Windows Live Help). Basically you have to be in one-line view to be able to select columns. Once I did that I was able to right click on column header line and there was a “Columns…” item. Select the “To:” column and remove “From:” if you like.


  204. When I tried to import my outlook express emails to WLM the import Outlook Express 6 option is not available. Any ideas!

  205. Thank you, thank you, for the “FOLDER.DBX” I had been trying most of a day to get my old Outlook Express mail folders into Mail Live in Windows 7. When I included the “Folder.dbx” with the other .dbx files I was trying to move, the Import program worked fine and was done in a few minutes.

  206. hi leo i need to ask you a question ? ok in need to install mac os 10 in my laptop aceer 1640 how i cant instal it

    Google “hackintosh”. I’m told it’s a very geeky process, and in the end perhaps not worth it. Simpler to just buy a Mac.


  207. Hi there Leo, I have been reading many of your “help” items on how to move Outlook Express to Windows 7 Live!! However I cannot seem to find help for moving OX to Microsoft Outlook, I have tried the “import & export” but that does not work. I have copied the OX for my XP via a Usb memory stick, I have the OX now on my desktop, i even have the whole copied hard drive there too, but cannot “see” OX in there. I have done a search for any .Dbx files and it comes up blank, so what am I doing wrong, I have tried the whole day I have downloaded a tool called a Dbxbackup but after searching all the files in the memory stick and the desktop, that cannot find any either??
    Please help its drving me crazy, or am I crazy already for attemping this project in the first place??

    Kind regards
    Davey Boy

  208. when I try to import from my store I am told they are in use by outlook express and to close all operations, which I do, but I receive the same message when I try again, what’s the solution?

  209. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am helping a friend transfer to a new computer, and your solution was the best one that I have found — after days of searching! AND, yours was the only solution that actually worked!

  210. My computer with Windows XP was stolen and I have had to replace it so don’t have access to any of my OX files. Is there any way I can get those files?

    If they’re on the stolen machine I don’t know where or how you could get them without getting the stolen machine back.


  211. Thanks for the advise. Actually I wasn’t moving my email files from one computer to another. My computer crashed Sep. 25, 2011 and I had to reinstall Windows XP to get it back in service. Luckily, I have Norton Ghost 12.0 and a backed up copy from the day before it crashed. But unfortunately, I wasn’t sure how to do a restore from Norton Ghost. I do now. But since my email files were backed up in a Recovery Point, I could restore the files back to the original directory, but they still wouldn’t open with Outlook Express. I even tried moving the *.dbx files to my correct identity subfolder, but still no luck. I followed most of your procedures and it worked just great. Thanks!

  212. I have 2 XP comps. On the old one I have copied the dbx files to a thumb drive and placed them on the new comp in a folder on the desk top. I then found the path for the new comps outlook express dbx files and move the old ones to that path. But nothing shows up. They are not set as read only so I’m lost. One of the files I did get to show up one time. I removed all the ones I had put there then I added that one that showed up by its self. So I figured I would have to do it one at a time and not all at once. But this doesnt seem to be the case. Any idea’s?

  213. I have transferred my dbx folders to a new machine without any problem last year. I should’ve deleted the direct access file but I didn’t, and by mistake I opened the OE in my old PC. Well, I created there a new folder where I placed all the last messages, so that I can transferred them to the new PC. I saved the dbx file in a USB, then I saved it in the HD of my new PC. Opened OE and tried to import the dbx file. Chose OE6, then looked after the folder but in the end it appears a message, like there was no message in the chosen folder. Why I was able to transfer all my messages and folders last year and now I can’t.
    Both PC use XP, by the way.

  214. Thanks for advice, worked like a charm. Just want to add there was no option for addressess to be extracted as (WAB) so i used comma seperated and then loaded them as .. thanks again. James_forextu

  215. Tried to find Out-Express Folders done as you suggest, and got (C:Documents and SettingsOwnerLocal SettingsApplication DataIdentities{8E8C1ADB-278C-4414-8C83-0960389B3D0F}MicrosoftOutlook Express) went to C:Documents and SettingsOwner & got a choice of Desktop, Favourites. Start menu or ntuser.dat files. Where do I go from here? what have I done wrong?

    Nothing. Simply make sure that Windows Explorer is configured to show hidden files. Some of the folders along that path are often marked as “hidden”. How do I view hidden files and folders?

  216. Im trying to import a .dbx file into outlook express just as specified, but I keep getting the error ” No messages can be found in this folder or ….”. I moved the file to a seperate folder by itself and made sure it is not hidden or checked for read only. It is saved on the hard disk but I keep getting the error. any help. Its a big file though, aprox 2,097,120 KB

  217. my mother board died. how can i locate OE folder on my harddrive if i connect it to another machine as a external?

    thank you

  218. When I go into Tools/Options/Maintenance/Store Folder and click on Change to change location of messages…the OK button is greyed out so I can’t choose anything. What am I doing wrong? Thanks.


    {email address removed}

  220. What would be the complete list of steps to move all OE mail and folder structure (on an XP SP3 32-bit machine) to Thunderbird on a Win 7 Pro SP1 64-bit machine?
    I imagine the first chapter of steps would be to move all the OE mail and folder structure onto Thunderbird ON THAT XP MACHINE, and the next chapter would be to mover that Thunderbird structure to Thunderbird on the Win 7 Pro 64-bit machine.
    But what is each step in each chapter?

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