Sign in with Microsoft
Sign in or create an account.
Select a different account.
You have multiple accounts
Choose the account you want to sign in with.


Outlook Express mail folders, e-mail messages, and Address Book are missing after you upgrade to Microsoft Windows XP.


This behavior occurs because the Windows XP file structure is different and the files for Outlook Express are no longer in the same location.


This Knowledge Base article provides a step-by-step procedure to help you find your previous mail, folders, and Address Book, and import them back into Outlook Express.

Your Previous Mail Messages and Folders

Find Your Previous Mail Messages

  1. On your desktop, create a new folder called XPMail. To do this, right-click your desktop, click New, and then click Folder. If you use identities, create a new folder for each identity.

  2. Click Start, and then click Search.

  3. In the What do you want to search for box, click All files and folders.

  4. In the All or part of the file name type *.dbx.

  5. Click More Advanced options, click Search hidden files and folders, and then click Search.

    NOTE: If you had previously used identities, each user will have their own identity folder. Each identity folder will have a unique alphanumeric number (for example, {9EFEBDEA-CE00-4DD7-A4D6-CDB85C3EEDBF}) followed by "\Microsoft\Outlook Express".

    You can differentiate between the previous identity and the new identity even though they may share the same alphanumeric number. The new identity will be followed by "\Microsoft\Outlook Ex".

Copy the Mail Folders

Before you copy the mail folders from the previous identity folder to the new folder on the desktop called XPMail, please review the Note about differentiating between old and new identities in step 5 of the "Finding Your Previous Mail Messages" section.

  1. In the Search window, you may select each .dbx folder individually or select multiple folders by pressing the CTRL key and clicking each folder.

  2. After you have selected the folders, click Copy on the Edit menu.

  3. Open the XPMail folder, and then click Paste on the Edit menu.

    NOTE: Make sure to include the Folders.dbx file when you copy the folders. This file is necessary for the import functions in Outlook Express.

This procedure copies all the files from the selected folder into the XPMail folder. Perform this procedure for each identity folder, but make sure to create a separate folder, such as XPMail1, for each identity folder found.

Import Your Mail and Folders

  1. Open Outlook Express.

  2. On the File menu, click Import.

  3. Click Messages.

  4. Click Microsoft Outlook Express 5, and then click Next.

    NOTE: In some instances you may only see the options to import Outlook Express 4 and Outlook Express 6. If your previous version of Outlook Express was version 4, use the option for Outlook Express 4. If you are importing from Outlook Express 5, or 5.5, you can use the Outlook Express 6 option.

  5. Click Import mail from an OE6 store directory, and then click OK.

  6. Click Browse, select the XPMail folder that you created earlier, click OK, and then click Next.

  7. Click All folders, and then click Next.

This procedure imports your previous mail into the current Identity. After it is finished, click Finish. Repeat this procedure for each of the folders that you created earlier.

Your Windows Address Book

Find Your Windows Address Book

  1. Click Start, and then click Search.

  2. Click All files and folders.

  3. In the What do you want to search for box, click All files and folders.

  4. In the All or part of the file name type, *.wab, and then click Search.

  5. When the search is finished, double-click each file to open it. When you have found the correct one (it will contain your Contact information), note the exact location and name of the file.

Import Your Windows Address Book

  1. In Outlook Express, click the File menu.

  2. Click Import, and then click Address Book.

  3. Point the Look In field to the location that you noted in step #5 of the "Find Your Windows Address Book" section.

  4. Click the .wab file, and then click Open.

  5. Click OK to import the Address Book.

After you have verified that the import was successful, remove all folders that you created during the mail recovery process.

Need more help?

Want more options?

Explore subscription benefits, browse training courses, learn how to secure your device, and more.

Communities help you ask and answer questions, give feedback, and hear from experts with rich knowledge.

Was this information helpful?

What affected your experience?

Thank you for your feedback!