Import Outlook Emails into Windows Mail in Windows Vista

Martin Brinkmann
May 1, 2008
Updated • Mar 27, 2014
Email, Microsoft Outlook

I spend the morning at a house of a friend who bought a new computer and wanted some of his data transferred from the old computer that he was using to the new computer as he planned to give the old computer away and only use the new one once the data was migrated.

The old computer was running Windows XP and Outlook Express, the new one was a shiny new Acer Desktop PC running Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Mail. Among the data that he wanted to transfer from his old PC to the new one were the emails that he sent and received using Outlook Express.

So i started by burning all relevant files to a DVD. The relevant files were all the Outlook .dbx files that I was able to find in Documents & Settings. To be precise the correct path is \Local Settings\Application Data\Identities... It's a hidden folder so make sure that one is revealed to you. My thoughts were that it would surely be only a matter of seconds to import those dbx files into Windows Mail and be on my way home.

Update: If you have an USB Flash Drive at hand, you can also use it for data storage and moving of the data to the new computer.

Unfortunately though Windows Mail behaves a little bit erratic when it comes to importing mails from Outlook Express. I suppose it behaves the same way when importing mails from Outlook. Whenever i tried to import the email by pointing Windows Mail to the folder the mail was saved in it automatically added a second Outlook Express folder in the path.

Selecting e:\outlook express as the path would lead to e:\outlook express\outlook express as the import path. Now I tried to select e:\ only in the hope that this would solve the problem but surprisingly though it did not add the folder outlook express whenever I tried that.

Here is the trick that worked. I created a new folder in outlook express, named it outlook express and did move all the dbx files into that folder. I then pointed the import folder to e:\outlook express, the second outlook express folder was added, and the mails were imported just fine.

So, I just added the files to e:\outlook express\outlook express\ right away to avoid the path issue during the import of data.

You start the import by clicking on File > Import > Messages by the way. This way I was able to import dbx files from Outlook Express into Windows Mail without difficulties. I'm not sure why a second folder is added in the path automatically but it surely has to have a reason.

Update: You can alternatively use the excellent Mailstore Home application to import and export emails. It is free for personal use and supports the majority of email clients and protocols.


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  1. Sean Vida said on October 8, 2009 at 2:05 am

    Brilliant !!!! I had already imported my OE Mail to WLM but somehow I lost my ‘Received’ Mail from 2002. I have been fighting with it all day, until I found your solution which worked like magic.
    Thanks, thanks, thanks

  2. Julie said on July 28, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    This worked beautifully, thank you for saving me so much time!

  3. Amber said on July 6, 2009 at 9:59 pm

    I tried to import messages into Windows Mail and I got this error as soon as I chose File > Import > Messages> Outlook

    “Messages cannot be imported from the MAPI client.

    MAPI is not installed on this computer or an error occured while initializing it.”

    Any ideas? I’m still trying to figure out why my emails and email settings didn’t transfer over automatically with the Windows Easy Transfer program. It worked on all of my other files and settings.

  4. Nagaraj desai said on May 15, 2009 at 10:22 am

    ya i succcessfully imported the folders…thx a lot….

  5. will said on February 11, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    I think there is an easier way using software that can do this like Dmailer sync it allows you to synchronzie all your email data from Outlook, Outlook Express and Windows Mail. Then you can restore that data to Outlook, Outlook Express or Windows Mail. You can even synchronize your files and internet Bookmarks or Favorites at the same time this is helpful if you are moving computer.

    Using this software will not cost you because you can do this within the free 30 day trial period.

    You can download it from:

    1. Matt said on November 5, 2009 at 9:01 am

      Thanks a lot for the info on dmailer. This is great software that made it a snap to move not just email, but bookmarks and other important files. Much appreciated!

  6. galgoog said on October 15, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    it worked! thank you!!!

  7. Shannon said on July 28, 2008 at 5:44 am

    Thanks alot for this workaround, I was having alot of trouble trying to do this myself. Youve saved me alot of time :)

  8. ismaelj said on May 3, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    I’m not 100% sure but I remember having a similar problem with outlook express 6, I think this is a “by design” or “feature” of Outlook Express since version 5 and that Windows Mail is just a revamped name for it.

  9. Mike said on May 1, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    The reason? It’s probably a bug – nice workaround, though, and thanks for sharing. :)

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