My laptop has died, however I am able to access the hard drive as I've put it into a USB hard drive enclosure. I need to retrieve my email account settings, I'm hoping there are some files I can can copy across?

Also if possible, but I'm not too concerned, is the emails.


The account settings are buried deep in the registry.

You can load the old user hive from the USB disk, export the account settings keys and then import them into your live registry.

  1. Open registry editor: click start, click Run, type regedit, click OK

  2. Highlight HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE, select File, Load hive and open D:\Documents and Settings\Jules\ntuser.dat, depending on the drive letter and path to your user profile on the USB disk.

  3. You should then be able to highlight and export the key Software\Microsoft\Internet Account Manager using File and Export from the loaded hive and highlight and import them back into HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Account Manager using File and Import.

Emails should be stored in the following folder on your USB disk.

D:\Documents and Settings\**username**\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\**identity**\Microsoft\Outlook Express, again depending on the drive letter and path to your old user profile.

Simply copy this folder across to your C: drive. You may want to rename the existing folder just to be on the safe side.

disclaimer - you can seriously screw your computer up by messing with the registry. always take backups of keys before making changes, using the file | export option inside registry editor

  • Ok cool, on point 2, its asking me 'Load Hive' for a 'Key Name:' ? – Jules Feb 20 '11 at 9:33
  • That's just asking what name you would like the mounted hive to appear as in registry editor. Call it OLD_COMPUTER. You'll then be able to open this new key and navigate to the Software\Microsoft\Internet Account Manager key in step 3. I think! – Kez Feb 20 '11 at 10:08
  • I tried to import the file, then I tried with a text editor removing the \OLD_COMPUTER and this then imports to the correct location in my registry. But when I open outlook express they don't show in the accounts screen ? – Jules Feb 20 '11 at 10:32
  • support.microsoft.com/kb/188093 also suggests this should work. Hopefully someone else will come up with a better solution! What you could try doing is to completely delete the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Account Manager\Accounts before you do the import, in case it is leaving rubbish behind after the import. -- again, I urge extreme caution playing with the registry. – Kez Feb 21 '11 at 17:22
  • Nope doesn't work – Jules Feb 24 '11 at 17:26

In case anyone else comes looking for an answer to this, this is how I got it done:

  1. Create account in Outlook Express (just put "test" in every field)
  2. Find that account in the registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Account Manager\Accounts and copy the binary value in "AssociatedID"
  3. Edit the .reg file that you exported which contains the real account info from the backup and modify the key names to reflect [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Internet Account Manager\Accounts]
  4. Change AssociatedID to the value that you copied from the "test" account (e.g. "AssociatedID"=hex:f5,53,3f,1f,64,43,88,4f,bz,82,dc,32,79,ac,b9,34

Save your .reg file and merge it.

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