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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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.