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Moving Emails in Outlook Express to a New Computer

written by: •edited by: Heather Marie Kosur•updated: 5/28/2010

Email is one of the most important modes of communication. People often want to store emails in their email clients for future reference. However, when they buy a new computer, they are faced with the question: How do I move Outlook emails to the new computer? This article answers that question.

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    An Overview of Moving Outlook Emails to New Computer

    Moving emails stored in Outlook Express (OE) on your old computer to your new computer is as basic as moving the OE folders to the new computer. For this, you need to know the location of the OE folders and files.

    You also need to keep in mind that the Outlook folders are profile-specific. This means that there are as many Outlook folders as the number of user profiles. Keeping track of the Outlook folders for each user profile is necessary to avoid mess-ups. Although you can use the search option to find the Outlook folders, I don't recommend it as it creates confusion as to which folder belongs to whose profile.

    There is another easy method for locating each Outlook folder specific to different user profiles. This method allows you to copy each user's Outlook folder one at a time to a disk or external drive such as a flash drive and then to move your Outlook mails to the new computer.

    The next section explains how to move Outlook Express emails to a new machine by locating user-specific OE folders.

    Tip: The easiest method is to use an online backup system such as Mozy or IDrive that offer you free backup up to 2 GB. While backup is not the main issue here, these two systems offer you the facility of selecting the preset folders: favorites, Outlook Express, My Documents, and other important folders. You can just tick the check boxes against these folders to create a backup of the Outlook folder without even having to locate it. The software does it for you. Once you create the backup, you can connect to the account using the new computer, select restore, and overwrite the Outlook files on the new computer. This is the easiest and safest method for copying all your important data to the new machine without any hassles. To access any of the above mentioned services, you just visit their websites by clicking on the following links—Mozy or IDrive—and following the instructions.

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    How to Move Outlook Items to Another Computer

    1. Open Outlook Explorer.
    2. If you are using Outlook XP or 2000, right-click on the Folder at the top of the left pane, and, from the context menu that appears, select Properties (see Figure 1 below). If you are using Outlook 6, you need to expand the Folders and right-click on the Inbox (see Figure 2 below).
    3. When you select the Properties option, you are presented with a dialog box with the location of the Outlook folders (see Figure 3 below). The full path is displayed as a label in Outlook 6 and as a text box under the Advanced tab in Outlook XP or 2000.
    4. Select the entire path from "C:\" to "\Outlook Express". Do not copy the filename given after "\Outlook Express." For example, if the path is C:\Documents and Settings\USER\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{B7ABE5FE}\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Inbox.dbx, you need only the C:\Documents and Settings\Arun\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{B7ABE5FE}\Microsoft\Outlook Express.
    5. Copy, paste, and save this path in a text file.
    6. Open a Windows Explorer window, and paste the path into the address bar and press Enter.
    7. Before proceeding to copy the folders to a CD or flash drive, you need to check if there are any hidden files or folders in the Outlook Express folder. To check this, check the Show Hidden Files and Folders in the View tab of the dialog box that you get when you select Folder Options in the Tools menu.
    8. The next step is to select all the files and folders in the Outlook folder. If you are using a version previous to Windows XP, you will need some CD burning software to copy the files to the CD. Otherwise, you can simply paste the files to the CD or flash drive. Do not forget to copy the text file containing the path in both cases.
    9. You now have all the emails, calendars, tasks, and other important things from Outlook, but you may also want to copy the address book. To copy the address book, use the Export option in the File menu of the Outlook Express. Once exported, use the method described above to copy it to the flash drive or to the CD. Now you are all set to move your Outlook messages to the new computer.
    10. Boot the new computer. Use the path you stored in the text file to open the Outlook Folder on the new computer. To do this, copy the path from the text file, open a Windows Explorer window, paste the path into the address bar, and hit Enter.
    11. Copy all the files from the CD or flash drive to the Outlook Express folder. When you are prompted to overwrite the files and folders, select Yes to All.

    Once the copy process is completed, you are all set to use Outlook Express on your new machine with all your email accounts, old messages, and tasks appearing in it. You will have to use the Import option in the File menu to import the Address Book from the flash drive or the CD.

    CAUTION: The only things to be careful with while you move Outlook emails to your new computer are that the OE on the new computer should not have been used prior to the moving process and that it should not be open when the copy is in progress.


    1. If you used a CD, you will have to select individual files and folders, right click on them, and uncheck the Read Only option. If you skip this step, OE will not work properly on the new computer.
    2. If you are moving Outlook Express Emails from a previous version of Windows to a computer running Windows XP, you cannot copy and paste. Instead, use the Import option to import the messages and address book. The same applies if you have already created accounts on the OE on the new machine prior to moving Outlook Express emails to the new computer.
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    Image References

    Properties in OE XP or 2000Selecting Properties in OE 6Locating Outlook Folder using Properties Dialog