Archive Old Outlook Express Email

I have several years’ worth of email gunking up Outlook Express, but I’m afraid that as soon as I delete it, I’ll need one of those messages. Outlook Express contains an option to Export messages, but then I can’t figure out where the exported messages are stored or how to get them back. After thinking about this problem for some time, I developed my own solution:

  1. Create a new folder in Outlook Express.
  2. Move the messages you want to archive to the new folder.
  3. Move that folder wherever you want to keep it – to a CD, flash drive, external hard drive, or whatever.

If you ever need those messages, simply copy the folder file back to the folder in which Outlook Express stores its folders and their contents.

The following sections explore the three steps in detail.

Step 1: Create a New Folder in Outlook Express

To create a new folder in Outlook Express…

  1. Right-click Local Folders.
  2. Click New Folder.
  3. Type a name for the new folder, such as 2007 Inbox Backup.
  4. Click OK.

If the new folder does not appear, exit Outlook Express and restart it.

Step 2: Move Messages to the New Folder

To move messages from one folder to another in Outlook Express…

  1. Click the folder that contains the messages you want to move.
  2. Click Received or Sent above the column that displays the dates of the messages to sort them with the oldest messages first. (Clicking a column head toggles the sort order – for example, if the messages are sorted by newest first, clicking the column head reverses the sort order, so the oldest messages appear at the top.)
  3. Click the oldest message you want to include in your archive.
  4. Hold down the Shift key while clicking the newest message you want to include in your archive.
  5. Release the Shift key.
  6. Drag one of the highlighted messages over the folder you created in Step 1 and release the mouse button. Outlook Express moves the messages to the archive folder, which can take some time depending on the number and size of the messages.

Step 3: Move the New Folder to a Separate Storage Medium

To find out where Outlook Express stores the folders and their contents…

  1. In Outlook Express, click Tools, Options.
  2. Click the Maintenance tab.
  3. Click Store Folder. Outlook Express displays the path to the “Store Folder” – the folder in which all of its message folders and their contents are stored.
  4. Drag over the path to the Store Folder so the entire path is highlighted, and press Ctrl+C to copy it.
  5. Start My Computer or Windows Explorer.
  6. Click in the Address bar to highlight whatever it contains.
  7. Press Ctrl+V to paste the path to the Store Folder in the Address Bar.
  8. Press Enter. My Computer or Windows Explorer displays all the folders that Outlook Express uses to store messages, including the new folder you created. (These “folders” are actually DBX files, so their icons will appear as file icons, not as folder icons, but you should be able to tell from their names what each file/folder contains.)
  9. You can now move the folder to your backup medium using whatever technique you normally use to move files and folders.

Now that the “folder” is archived, you can always copy it back to your Outlook Express Store Folder to access any messages it contains.

Meet the Author

Joe Kraynak

Author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Computer Basics.

1 comment… add one
  • avatar Alex Jan 24, 2009, 5:38 am

    There is good tool which works with Outlook Express files,also it has many possibilities-opening dbx,as far as i know it is free,tool restore mails,attached files,fix other mail files,program is compatible with Windows 2003, Windows 2000, Windows Me, Windows Vista, Windows 98, Windows NT 4.0, Windows XP, Windows XP SP2 and any version of Outlook Express, installed on your PC,recovery represents the analysis of separate dbx files, because Outlook Express splits your mailbox into several files.

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