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Article ID: 188854 - Last Review: January 23, 2007 - Revision: 3.2

 
This article was previously published under Q188854
For information about the differences between Microsoft Outlook Express and Microsoft Outlook e-mail clients, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
257824  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/257824/EN-US/ ) OL2000: Differences Between Outlook and Outlook Express

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SUMMARY

This article describes how to back up your Outlook Express Windows Address Book (.wab) file and mail folders (.mbx) files, and contains the following topics:

MORE INFORMATION

How to Back Up the Windows Address Book

Copy the .wab file to another folder. If you copy the .wab file to another folder, you do not need to change the file name:
  1. Quit Outlook Express.
  2. Create a new folder to store the .wab file in. For example:
    C:\Backup
    For information about how to create a folder, click Start, click Help, click the Index tab, type new folder, and then double-click the New Folders topic.

    NOTE: You do not have to create a new folder; you can use a folder that already exists.
  3. Locate the .wab file. To do so, click Start, point to Find, and then click Files Or Folders.
  4. In the Named box, type *.wab, and then click Find Now.
  5. Copy the username.wab file to the folder that you created in step 2, where username is the name or alias of the Outlook Express user that the .wab file belongs to.

    For information about how to copy a file, click Start, click Help, click the Index tab, type copying, and then double-click the files or folders topic.

How to Back Up Mail Folders

Copy the entire folder that contains the .mbx files to another folder:
  1. Quit Outlook Express.
  2. Create a new folder to store the idx, .mbx, and Folders.nch files in. For example:
    C:\Backup
    For information about how to create a folder, click Start, click Help, click the Index tab, type new folder, and then double-click the New Folders topic.

    NOTE: You do not have to create a new folder, you can use a folder that already exists.
  3. To locate the mail message store folder of Outlook Express 4, click Start, point to Find, and then click Files Or Folders.
  4. In the Named box, type *.mbx, and then click Find Now. Note the location of the Inbox.mbx file in the In Folder column of the search results. These folders are usually found in a location such as:
    drive:\Program Files\Outlook Express\username\Mail
    drive:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Mail
    drive:\Windows\Profiles\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Mail
    NOTE: There may be more than one Inbox.mbx file, which indicates that you have mulitiple storage folders. Note the location of all the Inbox.dbx files, and back up all of the folders that contain .mbx and .idx files. It is important that you back up the entire contents of the Outlook Express store folder, especially if you want to import the files into an updated version of Outlook Express. Without the .idx files, the .mbx files (which contain the actual messages) cannot be imported into Outlook Express 5 or later.
  5. For each message store folder that you find, copy the folder that contains the files to the folder that you created in step 2. If the names of these folders are the same, you can rename them immediately after you copy them (for example, Mail Backup1, Mail Backup2, or some other obvious naming scheme.)

    For information about how to copy a file, click Start, click Help, click the Index tab, type copying, and then double-click the Files or folders topic.
For additional information about backing up mail folders, click Contents And Index on the Help menu in Outlook Express, click the Index tab, type backing up mail folders, and then click Display.

How to Restore the Windows Address Book

To restore the .wab file that you previously backed up, follow these steps:
  1. Quit Outlook Express.
  2. Click Start, point to Find, and then click Files Or Folders.
  3. In the Named box, type *.wab, and then click Find Now.
  4. Rename the current username.wab file in the Address Book folder.

    For information about how to rename files, click Start, click Help, click the Index tab, type renaming files, and then double-click the Renaming files topic.
  5. Copy the backup copy of the username.wab file to the Address Book folder.

    For information about how to copy a file, click Start, click Help, click the Index tab, type copying, and then double-click the files or folders topic.
  6. Start Outlook Express.

How to Restore Mail Folders

To restore your backed-up Outlook Express mail, you need a backup of the entire Outlook Express mail message store folder, as described in the "How to Back Up Mail Folders" section, or .mbx files. These should be kept on a backup device or in a different folder on a hard disk drive. To restore your data, replace the backed-up .mbx files into the Outlook Express store, and then create a new Folders.nch file.

By default, the folder where your Outlook Express message store files are located is one of the following folders:
drive:\Program Files\Outlook Express\username\Mail

-or-

drive:\windows_directory\Profiles\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Mail
You can move the files from your backup folder into this folder to replace existing files. It is best to rename the corresponding .idx and .mbx files in the store folder before you replace them with the backed-up files. Use only the .mbx files from your backup; the .idx files will be automatically rebuilt when the program starts. You may want to rename the Folders.nch file in the store folder, as well. The Folders.nch file assists in building the Folders list in Outlook Express, and is also automatically rebuilt when Outlook Express is restarted. The following is an example of how to move the files from your backup folder into the working folder to replace existing files.
  1. Click Start, point to Find, and then click Files and Folders.
  2. In the Named box, type *.mbx. In the Look in box, select drive C from the drop-down list, and click to select the Include subfolders check box. Click Find Now. Note the folder path that is displayed in the In Folder column.
  3. Close the Find window, and then open Windows Explorer by clicking Start, pointing to Programs, and then clicking Windows Explorer.
  4. Using the folder path that you obtained in step 2, browse to the folder where Outlook Express is now storing your messages. For this example, it is C:\Winnt\Profiles\JohnDoe\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Mail.
  5. In the C:\Winnt\Profiles\JohnDoe\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Mail folder, rename the following files by clicking each file in turn, and then clicking Rename on the File menu. The files are:
    Inbox.idx
    Inbox.mbx
    Folders.nch
    You can rename the files anything you like, for example, Inboxidx.old, Inbox1.old, and so on.
  6. In Windows Explorer, open the folder where your Outlook Express backup exists. For this example, it is D:\Backup.
  7. Copy the Inbox.mbx file by clicking the file once with the left mouse button, and then clicking Copy on the Edit menu.
  8. In Windows Explorer, open the folder from step 2, where Outlook Express is storing your messages, C:\Winnt\Profiles\JohnDoe\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Mail in this example, and then click Paste on the Edit menu.
  9. The Inbox.mbx file is now listed in the folder.
  10. Close Windows Explorer, and then start Outlook Express. Your Inbox.mbx file, copied from the Backup folder, is now in place and will display your messages.
For additional information about how to copy an Outlook Express Windows Address Book to another computer, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
182833  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/182833/EN-US/ ) OLEXP: How to Copy an Outlook Express WAB to Another Computer
For additional information about how to back up your address book, click the article number below to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
175017  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/175017/EN-US/ ) OLEXP: How to Import and Export Address Books in Outlook Express

Outlook Express 5 Users

If you are using Outlook Express 5 instead of Outlook Express 4.0, please see the following article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
270670  (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/270670/EN-US/ ) OLEXP: How to Back Up and Recover Outlook Express Data

APPLIES TO
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 4.01
  • Microsoft Outlook Express 4.0
  • Microsoft Windows 98 Standard Edition
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Retired KB ArticleRetired KB Content Disclaimer
This article was written about products for which Microsoft no longer offers support. Therefore, this article is offered "as is" and will no longer be updated.
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