Convert Outlook Express mails from DBX to MBX format

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 26, 2007
Updated • Mar 22, 2014
Email, Microsoft Outlook

Microsoft does not use standard formats where often when it comes to its products. This is for example the case when you take a look at how Outlook Express saves mails that you have received in the email client.

Outlook Express saves mails by default in dbx files instead of saving them in the wildly used mbx format which is being used by Thunderbird, Opera and most other email clients.

If you ever wanted to migrate away from Outlook Express to another email client, you would have to find a way to convert the format first before you can do so.Depending on the mail client you want to move to, you may either be able to import Outlook Express emails directly, or need a third-party program to do so before emails can be imported. Thunderbird can import Outlook emails directly, while other programs may not be able to do so.

DbxConv is a command line utility that you can use to convert Outlook Express dbx files to the mbx mailbox file format.The easiest way of using this tool is to copy the dbx mails from Outlook Express into the directory of DbxConv and use the command DbxConv *.dbx to convert all files with the .dbx extension to mbx. It is alternatively possible to convert the dbx file into mboxo, mbxrd or eml format instead of mbx format if you prefer that.

I would suggest to search for all files with the .dbx extension on your hard drive and copy those to the DbxConv folder before you run the command. To run the command, press Windows-R, type cmd and hit enter. This brings you to the Windows command line. Here you need to navigate to the DbxConv folder before you can run the command, or reference it directly by adding its path to its command.

Update: You can alternatively use a program like Mailstore Home which supports all recent versions of Outlook Express. It backs up all emails of the Outlook program and provides you with the means to import those emails into another mail program that it supports. It supports a lot, from generic pop3 and smtp mailboxes over all Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and Microsoft Exchange mailboxes to Thunderbird, Seamonkey, and Internet mailboxes such as Gmail or Yahoo Mail.


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  1. Adam Smith said on August 21, 2018 at 11:03 am

    It is rattling painless stranger from DBX to MBOX file, with the cater of DBX to MBOX Conversion Tool you can move to your all Contacts and the other details from DBX to MBOX file divide. Download to software by move here:

  2. richardsqueezer said on April 17, 2018 at 3:42 am

    Mission accomplished!

    For those who come across these posts in the future, and are as confused as I was about the correct grammar for command line instructions, fear not!

    Firstly, as per my concern earlier, no….this process does not need to happen on your OS (C) drive. I did this on an external drive. And yes, I was correct in assuming that placing the DbxConv folder directly onto a drive, and then dragging all the dbx files from where they once lived (which was within many other folders inside of Documents and Settings)….made this process slightly easier.

    As the developer instructed earlier, though I was having trouble understanding, it’s all about navigating to the correct place first, before you type: “DbxConv *.dbx” to start the conversion.

    Here’s a step-by-step for dummies. However, keep in mind if you are nearly as stupid as I am, or God forbid even worse off (a hard thing to accomplish)…that (as he mentioned) what you type will vary, depending on where you placed that folder in your own computer. So in my case, it was on an external drive, D. Not inside of any other folder, just right there on the D drive. So I opened the command line window, and typed D (at least, I think that’s what I typed. Sorry, I should have kept notes. I might have done a slash and/or colon too. You’ll figure it out if I did). Your drive might be a F drive, or G drive.

    If you did this right, the command prompt should now say (if yours is also on the D drive):


    Meaning, it’s now waiting for instructions for some action to happen on the D drive. But, that’s not enough. You now have to tell it exactly where to go on that D drive(to the dbxconv folder). But, I first typed dir (for directory), which shows you all the folders on that drive. That’s just to make sure you are in the right place, and it sees everything.

    Next, when I got the same D:\> prompt again, I then typed the name of the folder, but apparently you have to add the letter “cd” followed by a space, and then type dbxconv and then hit return. Which then gives you a prompt which says:


    Meaning it’s now “looking” into the dbxconv folder on the D drive.

    So then I hit “dir” again, to verify all the files inside that folder, and also to see if the DbxConv.exe was indeed there. They were.

    Then, you simply type exactly what Mr. Brinkmann instructed in the instructions:

    DbxConv *.dbx (yes, the space between the v and the asterisk appears to be necessary)

    And that sets the process in motion, and you are given a list of what it’s done. In my case, some dbx files were skipped, due to containing no messages, as the text informed me.

    The end.

    Looking back at these last few posts, it does seem rather ridiculous having to explain such a simple task in such great detail. But what can be said? If you’ve never used the command prompt for anything, as I hadn’t, it was an experiment in frustration when nothing you type seems to be working. That’s a result of only ever using programs with a UI all your life.

    We owe Mr. Brinkmann many thanks for creating this highly useful program. As your searches have probably shown you, there are tons and tons of opportunistic companies charging as much as $49 for their program which does the same thing you are getting here for free. Plus, pretty much none of you will be as stupid when it comes to command line stuff as I was, so it’s a no-brainer. But, a couple might. So hopefully this post will help them.

    Or, it might confuse them more.

    If so, just grab a friend, co-worker, neighbor, relative, parole officer, or homeless person, and ask them to hold your hand through the command line stuff. Chances are, they probably know it well.

  3. richardsqueezer said on April 16, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Thanks again.

    As mentioned, the folder is currently on an external drive, letter D.

    Is that perhaps the root of this problem? I did not see any instructions indicating that this entire process needed to happen on the C drive.

    So, assuming I’ve stumbled on to the cause of my failures, should I move that folder to the C drive itself?

    Also, by simply moving it directly to the C drive (but not inside of folders within folders within folders), doesn’t that make this entire character-specific command line language easier for the novice to type and remember?

    So again, for the sake of not just myself, but all the future users who are like myself (I can’t be alone in this, can I?), might it not be an easy command-line-phobia remedy to suggest to inexperienced users to do exactly that….place the folder containing the dbx files and the exe for this program directly onto a drive (instead of within many other folders), thus eliminating some of the colons and backwards slashes?

    Or, am I wrong in this assumption that this process needs to be carried out on the OS drive?

  4. richardsqueezer said on April 16, 2018 at 5:07 am

    (forgive my tone in the first messages. It’s been a frustrating last few days, attempting to migrate all of my email data from a dead computer into a new email client. Thanks for your help.)

  5. richardsqueezer said on April 16, 2018 at 5:04 am

    Very kind of you to take the time to help. However, that’s still fairly undecipherable for a non technical person. You are explaining it as if speaking to someone who understands this stuff. It’s unlikely that I’m the only one confused by this. But to many users this is presumably like slicing bread. When things like “entire path” are mentioned, it is without considering that those without any command line experience whatsoever simply don’t understand what to type. I’ve been trying to educate myself, but I’m still not doing it correctly, since I get the same message. I’m missing a space (or other characters), or getting the “path” typed incorrectly, or something else.

    For the benefit of everyone as inexperienced as me who finds this website in the future, who need their hand held through each step of the way, with brutally obvious and seemingly unnecessary details, I’ll ask this for the future users who might normally avoid anything to do with command line stuff:

    All of my .dbx files have been found, and then placed into the dbxconv folder, which is on an external hard drive with the letter designation D. If you would be kind enough to reply with a step-by-step, letter-by-letter, explanation of exactly what to type within the command line window, without leaving a single bit of navigating protocol or command line “grammar” left up to the individual user, then perhaps both myself and any equally inept future user seeing these posts will be able to do it too.

    Many thanks

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 16, 2018 at 5:59 am

      Richard, I can understand your frustration, but the issue is that I cannot write down the commands because the path, e.g. c:\users\martin\downloads\ is different for every user as it depends on where you saved the program to and have the dbx files stored in.

      Path refers to the directory structure beginning with the driver letter that the program is stored in. If you saved it to the downloads folder, the command is cd c:\users\YOURUSERNAME\downloads\
      If you saved it to a subfolder of downloads, it is cd c:\users\YOURUSERNAME\downloads\SUBFOLDER\

      Replace YOURUSERNAME and SUBFOLDER accordingly.

  6. richardsqueezer said on April 15, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    “Here you need to navigate to the DbxConv folder before you can run the command, or reference it directly by adding its path to its command.”


    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 15, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      You can run the program only if the path of the command interface is the folder the program is in, or when you run it using the entire path. So, either cd /tothepath/ and then program.exe, or c:\thepath\program.exe to run it

  7. richardsqueezer said on April 15, 2018 at 11:58 am

    Could he have made it any more vague for those who are not familiar with this stuff? Cmon, it doesn’t take a genius to relate to the mind of someone who’s never used command line before. If you follow the instructions as they are written, this program of course doesn’t work! He wrote:

    Then open a DOS-box and type “DbxConv *.dbx”

    Doesn’t putting that in quotes imply that you type it exactly? Well, that didn’t work. What is supposed to go where the asterisk is??????

    Any command I typed in the command prompt which began with “DbxConv”, regardless of what came next, ended up with this message:

    “…is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file”.

    Is there not supposed to be a space after typing DbxConv?

    I put all the DBX files into the same folder which this dbxconv is in. Also, I am running Windows 10, if that makes any difference.

    Clearly, the instructions were written for people who are experienced with command line stuff. Geeze!

    Can someone translate this guys attempt at explaining this supposedly simple program into a clear and idiot-proof step-by-step, for those who know nothing of these things??

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on April 15, 2018 at 4:05 pm

      You need to use the cd command to go to the directory dbxconv is located in first before you run the command.

  8. anon said on June 24, 2008 at 4:46 am

    Well I got a DBX file and was told to simply place it in my account. On Vista that didnt seem to work, on XP it didnt either, imported with thunderbird and work with no issue!

    From there I can export to eml or whatnot…

  9. Luth said on January 29, 2008 at 4:02 am

    thanks. my old pc use xp and has outlook express in it. now i use vista and don’t know how to import my old mail to outlook. using this utility i can convert to mbx and eml so i can read my old mail

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