I have an old computer with thousands of emails under Outlook Express on an old Windows XP PC. I'd like to move them to a newer Windows 7 PC which uses Outlook 2010. What's the best way to do this? Just copying the emails manually via a flash drive isn't working because the Date Created gets reset to today's date, which makes it difficult to sort through the emails.


Well, I am a computer technician and I do this often for customers upgrading from XP to Vista, 7 or 8. In newer Windows (Vista, 7 and 8) there in no Outlook Express and there is no way to install it, so from Microsoft Outlook 2010 you cannot import Outlook Express e-mails directly as it will complain no Outlook Express mail account found to import from. However, it can import Windows Mail (Vista) or Windows Live Mail (Vista, 7, 8) e-mails. Windows Live Mail (former Windows Mail in Vista) is part of Windows Live Essentials and can import Outlook Express e-mails directly from an Outlook Express account or from a backup. So you just install Windows Live Mail in the new PC (not necessary for Vista, use Windows Mail) and import the Outlook Express mail folder from the backup (I'll tell you how to backup it). Then you can just use Windows Live Mail, or if you prefer Microsoft Outlook 2010, you can also import the Windows Live Mail e-mails directly and use them in Microsoft Outlook. I haven't noticed the e-mail dates changing when doing all these imports, they remain the original, so there is no problem sorting the e-mails later.

Creating a backup of the e-mails in Outlook Express at the old PC:

To make sure the original dates are preserved, we are not going to export the e-mails, but rather copy the original files directly from the appropriate folder. All the e-mails in Outlook Express are stored in a specific folder in files such as inbox.dbx sent.dbx etc. All you have to do is browse to the folder and copy all the files included there to another folder. The easy way is to seach for inbox.dbx and you should find it. Note: if you use non-English Windows then the file names will be at that language, eg eiserxomena.dbx for Greek, of course in Greek spelling. I have done this too many times, that it happens to know the exact path (enable hidden files as some folders are hidden). It is

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Identities\some_long_string\Outlook Express

where username is your user name (eg Sotiris) and the some_long_string is a series of letters, but that is always different in every computer since it is created using random data when creating the mail account.

Don't forget to search for *.wab (Windows Address Book) to find the file (eg Sotiris.wab) with your contacts and backup it too. This is (if I remember correctly) in

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book (Note here it is only Application Data, not Local Settings\Application Data)

OK, we have copied all Outlook Express e-mails in another folder, now what? Importing Outlook Express e-mails into Windows Mail (Vista) or Windows Live Mail (Vista, 7, 8) :

From File->Import Messages->Microsoft Outlook Express 6 and then press Next. Select Import mail form an OE6 store Directory and press OK. Now browse to the backup folder and proceed. I cannot do it right now since I don't have any Outlook Express e-mails to import, but if asked then select to import all subfolders etc. This is the procedure for Windows Mail, it should be similar for Windows Live Mail. To Import the contacts, File->Import->Windows Contacts and browse to the folder you copied the wab file.

That's great, but I want to use Microsoft Outlook 2010 instead. How to Import Windows Mail (or Windows Live Mail) e-mails in Outlook 2010:

This should be a lot easier. Go to File tab, select Open and then Import. Select Import from another program or file and click next. Select Outlook Express 4x, 5x, 6x or Windows Mail and click next. Outlook should detect Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail installed on the same computer and will import all e-mails and contacts previously imported from backup. Now you have your old computer's Outlook Express e-mail in both Windows Mail (Windows Live Mail) and Microsoft Outlook 2010, so it's up to you which one you want to use.

I hope that helps.

  • Quite a long answer but I got what I needed easily. I was looking for the identities location. Thanks – Piotr Kula Nov 4 '14 at 11:03
  • The information shared above by spapakons, is truly helpful. The same information with step-by-step procedure along with images can be found here in this blog post: wordpress.semnaitik.com/2013/11/11/convert-dbx-to-pst-format – Stephen Aug 22 '16 at 12:54

Depends on your version of Outlook.

  1. Export your data from Outlook express

  2. Import the old data into Outlook.

Here are the instructions for importing to Outlook 2002 and 2003, and 2007

Import instructions for Outlook 2010

  • That last link is incorrect; it does not say anything about exporting from OE; only from Outlook. – Synetech Apr 4 '17 at 21:36

You can easily and efficiently move your emails from Outlook Express to Outlook using third party utility as well. As it provides you the best result in no time. It move all your mailbox data from dbx file to pst. This best application to move your Outlook Express to Outlook "DBX to PST Converter"

NB: The free version of DBX to PST Converter allows transfer of only 25 emails per folder. If you need to transfer more, you have to purchase the full version ($49).

  • 1
    Can you expand your answer a bit? Just pointing to a product doesn't really explain how to accomplish the solution, and it's often viewed as spam (especially when you post several answers pointing to the same SysTools product line). It's better to include some instructions on how to use the product to solve the problem, or at least describe what makes the product a good solution. Good guidance on recommending software here: meta.superuser.com/questions/5329/…. Thanks. – fixer1234 Jul 15 '16 at 8:02

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