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Moving From Outlook Express to Windows Mail

When moving from Windows XP to Windows Vista or Windows 7, for users of Outlook Express one change will be very apparent: there is no Outlook Express.

Instead, they have replaced OE with Windows Mail. When you upgrade a computer running Windows XP to Windows Vista Windows automatically imports any messages and contacts you have in Outlook Express to Windows Mail.

For installs other than an upgrade, you will have to manually move data. To do that, on the machine with Windows XP:

The folder that contains the Outlook Express messages is marked as a hidden folder in Windows. To view this hidden folder, click Start, and then click Control Panel. Click Appearance and Themes, and then click Folder Options. Click the View tab, and under Hidden files and folders, click Show hidden files and folders.

Locate the folder named Outlook Express. In Windows XP, this folder is located here by default: C:\Documents and Settings\your user name\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{your Windows user identity number}\Microsoft\Outlook Express.

Copy the Outlook Express folder and all its contents to the Documents folder on the computer running Windows Vista. (You can store this copy of the Outlook Express folder in a location other than the Documents folder, as long as you remember where to find it.)

On the machine with Windows Vista or 7:

  • Open Windows Mail by clicking the Start button , clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Mail.
  • Click the File menu, point to Import, and then click Messages.
  • Click Microsoft Outlook Express 6, and then click Next.
  • Make sure Import mail from an OE6 store directory is selected, and then click OK.
  • 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.)
  • Click Select Folder, and then click Next.
  • Click All folders to import all the folders, or click Selected folders and select which message folders you want to import, and then click Next.
  • Click Finish.

Some notes:

  • The Windows user identity number is different for every user. It will be inside brackets and look similar to this sample number: {8389CA60-ED34-11DB-95EE-10AE55D89593}
  • If Windows XP is installed on another hard disk location other than your C: drive, use that drive letter instead of C: when searching for your Outlook Express folder.
  • 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.
  • If Windows Mail is unable to import your messages, make sure none of the files in the Outlook Express folder are marked Read only. Open the folder, select all the files, right-click them, click Properties, and make sure the Read only check box is cleared.
  • Windows Mail cannot import messages from IMAP or HTTP e-mail accounts, even if those messages were stored in Outlook Express. For information about these e-mail types, see POP3, SMTP, and other e‑mail server types. Windows Mail also cannot import any newsgroup messages you may have had stored in Outlook Express.
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