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Home Office: How to Back Up Outlook Express Data

written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Ronda Bowen•updated: 7/5/2011

If you use Outlook Express to manage your home office e-mail, you need to know how to back up and restore this data if need be. Learn how here.

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    What You Can Back Up

    Occasionally, you need to back up the information in Outlook Express. Losing archived e-mail messages along with every contact’s e-mail address can bring a home business to a halt and can create a virtual nightmare for everyone else, including your clients. The information you can back up includes your address book, Internet account settings, and mail messages. While Microsoft has made backing up an address book and Internet account settings quite simple, it’s made backing up e-mail messages a chore. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. In this section, we’ll start with the easiest of these three tasks and move to the most difficult. First, we’ll back up the address book, then the Internet account settings, and finally, mail messages.

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    Back Up Your Address Book

    Here’s how to locate and back up your address book:

    1. Open Outlook Express.
    2. Choose File, point to Export, and select Address Book.
    3. In the Address Book Export Tool dialog box, select Text File (Comma Separated Values) and click Export.
    4. In the CSV Export dialog box, click Browse.
    5. Browse to a location to save the file. You may want to create a new folder entitled OE Settings and Mail, with the month and year. (You can then add the other backups to this folder.)
    6. Name the file Address Book. Click Save and click Next.
    7. In the next CSV Export dialog box, select all of the items.
    8. Click Finish, OK, and then Close when prompted.
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    Back Up Your Internet Account Settings

    To back up your Internet account settings, do this:

    1. Open Outlook Express.
    2. From the Tools menu, select Accounts.
    3. From the Mail tab, choose the account you want to back up and click Export.
    4. Choose an account whose settings you wish to back up (export).
    5. In the Export Internet Account window, browse to the folder created earlier for storing Outlook Express backups. Verify the file name and click Save.
    6. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for additional accounts.
    7. When finished, click Close.
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    Back Up E-Mail Messages

    With those two tasks out of the way, let’s move on to mail messages. You might have noticed that from the File menu, in the Export choices, there was a choice to export messages. If you’ve tried that, you probably got a rude awakening.

    If you try to back up messages by exporting, you’ll quickly find that exporting only moves the messages from one program, in this case Outlook Express, to another one, such as Microsoft Outlook or Microsoft Exchange. That isn’t what you want to do. You want to back up your messages, so you’ll have to find another way. We do believe that most of you have thought about backing up your Outlook Express messages but simply don’t know how. E-mail messages can be backed up. Don’t panic; you just have to know how to do it.

    To locate and back up your mail messages, follow these steps:

    1. Open Outlook Express.
    2. From the Tools menu, select Options.
    3. In the Options dialog box, choose the Maintenance tab.
    4. Click Store Folder.
    5. Use your cursor to highlight the store folder; then right-click and choose Copy.
    6. Click Cancel twice to close both boxes.
    7. Exit Outlook Express.
    8. Click Start, and then Run.
    9. In the Run dialog box, right-click and choose Paste. Click OK.
    10. In the Outlook Express window, which shows the folders in which all of your mail messages are stored, click Edit and then Select All.
    11. Choose Edit and Copy. Close this window.
    12. Open the folder where you want to store the information. (You may want to create a subfolder called Mail Messages.)
    13. In that folder, right-click and choose Paste. Wait while the messages are copied.

    You can now copy that folder to any backup device, using any backup strategy.