recovering outlook express files in windows 7

  RCMB 11:39 30 Aug 2012

A recent catastrophic failure of my XP laptop meant purchasing a new windows 7 machine. I am able to run my old hard disc using an external USB caddy.

My new machine has not got Outlook Express. Can I recover the files I had saved in my old Outlook Express folders? Where are they located? in what format?

If necessary I have got access to an XP machine with Outlook Express, but still need to know how to access these files from the old disc.

  Jollyjohn 12:11 30 Aug 2012


Do a search for *.dbx and make a note of where the files are located.

Download dbxrecovery install and run it. Note the free version limits the number of files you can recover.

An alternative is

There are a lot of dbx recovery tools available if you search for them, many have free versions that limit you to recovering one file at a time or limit the numbers you can recover.

  lotvic 12:32 30 Aug 2012

It depends a bit on which email client you are going to use on your W7 pc

Outlook (part of MS Office, not the new that has/is replacing Hotmail) is the easiest route. Does the XP machine have Office Outlook? it can import .dbx and change them to .pst (but you have to first import them into the Outlook Express on that working pc)

You can use xp pc Outlook Express to save the emails as .eml

At the moment as you have access to the non working HD the .dbx are technically in an OE Store Directory on that HD. On your working pc you have to enable 'Show Hidden Files and Folders' in Folders View to be able to see the .dbx folders in Windows Explorer. (You can't read the emails though as they will need to be Imported to another program that can open them)

As I said, it really does depend on where and in what email client program you want them to end up in....

  RCMB 17:25 30 Aug 2012

Thanks Jolly John and Lotvic.

I can find the dbx files (although I cant open them on my windows 7 machine).I will have a go at the weekend to transfer them to the XP machine and see if I can open them there.

  lotvic 17:41 30 Aug 2012

In that case, you will have to Import them to an Outlook Express account on the working XP from the OE6 Store Directory on the non working HD before you will be able to open them to read. (Outlook Express, File, Import, Messages....

  lotvic 17:44 30 Aug 2012

I should add, create a new account in Outlook Express first to import them to, so that you don't mess up an existing account.

  Secret-Squirrel 18:00 30 Aug 2012

RCMB, Microsoft's free "Windows Live Mail" is the closest equivalent to the now discontinued Outlook Express. I find it works very well and is a massive improvement. It's likely it's already installed on your new PC, but in case it's not, you can download it from here.

When you've got WLM up and running, copy the "Outlook Express" folder containing all your old DBX files from your XP laptop to somewhere on your new PC - it's location doesn't really matter. To import those messages, click the little blue button with the white arrow top-left of WLM's main screen and choose "Import Messages". Select "Microsoft Outlook Express 6" from the list of options, click the "Next" button, then in the next window, click the "Browse" button and select the folder you just copied over.

Once the import has completed, you can then delete the folder containing all those old DBX files.

  Terry Brown 20:13 30 Aug 2012

Connect the external drive to your win 7 machine.

You should be able to open windows Live and select IMPORT, find messages, IE6 and the option of where to import from.

Import the files to windows live.

As an alternative:

Can you open Outlook Express, if so create a folder called (e.g.) Email saved

Highligh the mail you want saved and drag and drop to the folder you have created. this will save them as regular document files with the extention eml (*.eml)


  lotvic 23:26 30 Aug 2012

Can't save them as .eml until they have been imported to OE account on working XP HD

Still don't know which email client/program RCMB wants them to eventually end up in.

  Secret-Squirrel 11:14 31 Aug 2012

I've a feeling that the OP would also appreciate some suggestions on the best e-mail client for Windows 7. When it comes to importing Outlook Express messages, Windows Live Mail is about as easy as it gets.

RCMB, if you're interested in this then have a look at my previous post for more info and step-by-step instructions.

  RCMB 17:19 02 Sep 2012

*Thanks everyone for your help. This has now solved my problem!*

I first found the dbx files as suggested, and copied them to a USB dongle. (only did this as I was unsure whether I would have to copy to an XP machine).

I then went to a windows live mail account and followed the instructions as per secret squirrel above. That's it!

Thanks again

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