Outlook Express hidden files

  keithpld 13:24 03 Jun 09

I've had a hard drive crash on my PC. I have my entire C drive regularly backed up to an external hard drive. I am currently setting up my laptop with all my programs and data, but need to know where Outlook Express data is stored as I would like to retrieve all my e-mails and e-mail addresses. I understand they are hidden files and difficult to find. Can someone help me find them please? And give me any help I may need to tranfer them to my laptop.


  BurrWalnut 13:40 03 Jun 09

If you haven't moved it, the normal location of the mail boxes is the hidden folder C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express. Within this folder are the two main mail boxes; Inbox.dbx and Sent Items.dbx. You may have to show 'hidden' files in Folder Options > View Tab to see it.

To make it easier for yourself, you could move the mail boxes to an ‘easier-to-get-at’ location, i.e. open My Computer and create a folder named, say, Mail Boxes. Go to Outlook Express > Tools > Options > Maintenance Tab and click on Store Folder and Browse/Change it to point to the new folder (C:\Mail Boxes). Close Outlook Express. The store location is now easier to navigate to and it is not hidden. I suggest you make a regular habit of creating backups by copying the whole Mail Boxes folder to an external device.

  keithpld 13:52 03 Jun 09

Many thanks, but what about e-mail addresses?


  Taff™ 14:04 03 Jun 09

Search for *.wab on your drive. Using * as a wild card it should find all Windows Address Books and you can identify which one is yours.

  keithpld 14:30 03 Jun 09

Thanks again. And will I have any problem transferring these files from my external hard drive to my laptop, given that there may already be an e-mail address file and an e-mail file on it?


  Taff™ 14:47 03 Jun 09

For your e-mails and assuming you`re using Outlook Express, you need to import the dbx files using the import/export wizard under the file menu. (First of all copy the files to a storage folder on the main computer. Similarly copy over the wab file and open your current address book from OE then import again.

  Batch 16:52 03 Jun 09

In OE, go to Tools, Options, Maintenance tab and click on Store Folder button. This will tell you where your dbx files are and allow you to move them.

For the Address Book file (.wab) location, open Address Book, click on Help, then About Address Book and you'll see where the .wab file is.

If you want to change the location of the address book file:-

Close OE and the Address Book. Move current .wab file to its new location. Open Regedit and navigate to this key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\WAB\WAB4\Wab File Name

Right-click the Default value in the right-hand pane and click Modify.

Type the path to the new location and the file name (<name>.WAB).

Exit Regedit

BUT be careful you don't disturb anything else whilst editing the registry.

  Stuartli 17:55 03 Jun 09


click here



into the Search box (from Start) will reveal all .dbx files.

You can also read them by installing OEView:

click here

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