Inside Outlook Express

Backup and Restore

The Partial Backup

Backing up Selected Identity Settings

Some user settings that are Identity-specific cannot be backed up using the built-in tools in OE. Message Rules, Blocked Senders, Signatures and Custom Views are all stored in the Windows registry, and so must be backed up manually.

  1. In Regedit, navigate to this key:

    |-----------------Outlook Express

    where GUID is the Global Unique IDentifier for your Identity.

  2. Under that key, you will find the following sub-keys, among others:

    |-----------------------Block Senders

  3. In the left-hand pane, click on each sub-key and then click Registry| Export Registry Key, and save the selected branch to your hard disk as type *.reg. Note that the Rules sub-key contains both message rules and custom views.

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Restoring Selected Identity Settings

To restore the keys at a later time, you must first determine the GUID of your new Identity. Do this by opening Regedit and navigating to


Click on each {GUID} sub-key to see the Username value in the right-hand pane. When you find the correct Identity, right-click on the {GUID} sub-key, click Rename, then press Ctrl-C to copy the name to the clipboard. Now press the ESC key. Do not rename the key! Close Outlook Express, and you are now ready to begin the restore process.

  1. For each registry file (*.reg) that you saved in your backup, open the *.reg file in Wordpad and change all occurrences of the old {GUID} with the {GUID} of your current Identity (now you know why I had you copy the {GUID} to the clipboard). Save the edited file, making sure it is still saved as type *.reg and not *.txt.
  2. In Regedit, delete the keys you wish to restore, making sure you are deleting the ones below your Identity's {GUID} keys.
  3. Double-click the saved *.reg keys.

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Backing up Selected Mail Folders

This section describes two techniques to back up and restore a single mail folder or several at a time. This can be a useful way of creating archived message folders. (For a somewhat simpler approach to OE archives, see this tip). These techniques can also be used to transfer a mail folder from one computer to another, although care must be taken that no existing folder in OE has the same name as the folder being transferred. If you wish to transfer many folders, it is best to use the second technique below.

Single Folder

Create an Archive Folder

  1. Create a new Mail Folder in Outlook Express named Archive. Move the messages you wish to archive into the folder, then close OE.
  2. Copy the file Archive.dbx from your store folder onto your backup media.
  3. Open OE and delete the file Archive.dbx.

Restore an Archive.dbx

  1. Create a new Mail Folder in OE named Archive and open the folder at least once! This is required to force OE to create a corresponding Archive.dbx file.
  2. Close OE and delete the newly-created Archive.dbx file.
  3. Copy the backup of Archive.dbx into the OE store folder.
  4. Open OE.
Multiple Folders

Create an Archive Identity

  1. Create a new Identity and import the folders you wish to archive by clicking File| Import| Messages| Microsoft Outlook Express 6, then clicking your Identity. Click Tools| Options| Maintenance| Store folder to locate the store folder of the new archive Identity.
  2. Copy the entire store folder to your backup media.
  3. You can now delete the OE mail folders from your original Identity. Delete the Archive Identity itself using File| Identities| Manage Identities before you delete its store folder from your hard disk.

Restore the Archive

  1. If your archive store is on CD or a zip disk, copy it to your hard disk. OE must have write-access in order to import, so be sure none of the *.dbx files in the store are set to read-only.
  2. In OE, click File| Import| Messages| Outlook Express| Store root directory, then Browse to the archive store folder.
  3. Select to import either All Folders or Selected Folders.

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