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  Migrating Outlook Express
I needed to migrate my Microsoft Outlook Express e-mail from a Windows 98 machine to a Windows XP machine.
Here is what worked for me.

  • Setup

    • I have two computers.  One computer is running Windows 98 with my email on it under Outlook Express 6.  The other computer is running Windows XP with Outlook Express 6.  I read where someone recommended upgrading the lower of the two so that both are at the same version before migrating.  I didn't need to do this.
  • Finding my e-mail files on the Windows 98 machine
    • I found my mail files on the Windows 98 machine by searching for *.dbx.  I found my mail files in C:/Windows/Application Data/Identities/{42a...8D2}/Microsoft/Outlook Express/  The {42a...8D2} thing is a somewhat random string of hexadecimal digits that Microsoft generates.  Anyhow, I got all of the files in the Outlook Express folder, not just the .dbx files.
    • I found my address book by searching for *.wab.  I found my address book in C:/Windows/Application Data/Microsoft/Address Book/
    • I created files for my email accounts by opening Outlook Express on the machine I was moving from and clicking on tools on the menu and then on accounts.  The accounts dialog appeared.  I selected my account and clicked export.  I had to select a location and a file name for the account.  My account was written out to an .iaf file.
    • Finally, I copied all of the files onto the new machine.
  • Applying my files in the new Outlook Express on the Windows XP machine
    • I found that Win XP has two places that look like the right place for the mail files (*.dbx) to be copied.  Only one of them was the correct place.  The correct place was C:\Documents and Settings\Username\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{324...A3D}\Microsoft\Outlook Express  The trick for me was navigating into the Local Settings folder.  On my first try, I didn't go into there but instead I found an Outlook Express folder with the same path but omitting Local Settings.
    • Next, I opened OE.  I saw my e-mails, so I knew I had successfully copied those over.  To get my old address book into the new OE, I clicked on the File menu and clicked on Import->Address Book.  I navigated to the *.wab file from my old machine and it imported all of my addresses.
    • Finally, to move my accounts, into OE, I did almost the same process that I did to export them.  I clicked on the Tools menu and clicked on Accounts.  The Accounts dialog appeared.  I clicked on Import, navigated to where my *.iaf file was, and selected it.  It imported my account.  After this, I was able to check, compose, and send e-mail on the Windows XP machine just as I was able to do on my Windows 98 machine.
  • Disclaimer

    • As with anything you ever see on, use this information at your own risk!
    • For some folks, this is an advanced procedure to attempt.  Understand that if anything goes wrong with you attempting to do this based off of my comments on this web site, I cannot be held liable.  In fact, I'm broke.  And what's the big idea thinking there is any basis for the Internet providing you with safe or correct information.  If you approach the Internet with such blind faith in it's being trustworthy, then I surely hope you never get the spam I receive.  Wow, that could get ugly!
    • Finally, this is more of a "vent" than a disclaimer, but why does this kind of stuff have to be so darn hard!??!  Probably 99% of all home users are not doing anything complex.  You don't likely have servers holding files while all of your client machines and users access the servers to get to their email files.  Instead, you probably have one email file that holds the e-mail for your whole family.  That one set of files could easily have been in the same folder where the application was installed.  Also, all of the files for the application could have been in that file.  Instead, people try to spread files all over creation - - or at least all over your hard drive because... I don't know, maybe it is a control thing.  The world of computing doesn't need to be this complex.  Simple configuration for simple uses and complex configuration for powerful uses is the way to go.  Instead, Microsoft and others provide us with software that is complex for all uses.  Now, there's just no call for that!

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