How to Backup Emails in Outlook Express

Backing up emails in Outlook Express is not for the faint hearted! It's a lengthy process. If Microsoft decide to update this free email client, a "Backup" button would be a welcome addition. However, the software giant shows no sign of doing anything with Outlook Express, and haven't changed the look and feel of it for some years. (They do security updates, though.)

You can backup individual Outlook Express email folders, or backup all of them. The process is the same, so we'll see how to backup all Outlook Express folders in this tutorial. Off we go.

First, create a folder on your hard drive. Call it something like "backupOE". This folder is where we're going to be saving copies of all of Outlook Express's email folders. Once you have created a new folder, we can begin. (If you don't know how to create a new folder on your hard drive, the tutorial is here: how to create a new folder.)

Outlook Express email folders

Outlook Express keeps all of your emails in folders. When you send an email, Outlook Express keeps a copy of it in the Sent Items folder. Likewise, there is a separate folder for emails in your Inbox. You can see all of Outlook Express's folder by clicking on the View menu. Select Layout from the menu. From the dialogue box, make sure there is a tick next to Folder List. On the left hand side of Outlook Express, you should see something like this:

Outlook Express Folder List

These are the folders that we will backup, ensuring that we have a copy of all our emails.

Where Outlook Express saves your email folders

All of these folders are stored on your hard drive, in a special location. Because that location may differ from user to user, we can find out where the email folders are stored. So do the following:

  • From the Outlook Express menu bar, click on Tools
  • From the drop down menu, select Options.
  • On the options dialogue box, click the Maintenance tab
  • Then locate the Store Folder button, as in the image below:

The Maintenance tab

Click the Store Folder button, and you'll see another box pop up. This one:

Store Location

This is the location on your hard drive of your emails and email folders. We need to copy this location.

  • Using your Right mouse button, click where it says "C:\Documents and Settings\user … " etc
  • You'll get a menu popping up
  • Click Select All with you Left mouse button

Click Select All

  • When you click Select All, the location turns blue
  • Right click on the Blue highlighted area, and select Copy from the menu

Select Copy from the menu

Clicking on Copy will copy this location to the Windows Clipboard. It will then be available to other programmes.

Now that we've copied the location to the Clipboard, we can come out of Outlook Express. So,

  • Click Cancel on the Store Location dialogue box
  • When you get back the Maintenance tab of the Options box, click the Cancel button
  • Then close down Outlook Express altogether

In the second half of this tutorial, you'll learn how to open up the emails folders, copy them, and paste to your new backup folder.

Continue with the tutorial -->

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