Migrating Outlook Express To a New Computer

May 19, 2010

I was on-site yesterday visiting a client and discovered I needed to transfer their email and Address Book from their failing hard drive to the new hard drive I had setup for them. She uses Outlook Express, and it is not a simple process to migrate email data between hard drives or computers, especially when the data hasn’t been exported before the hard drive started to fail.

Once I had the new hard drive setup and working running Windows. I hooked up the old hard drive via an external hard drive USB enclosure to the new computer. I was thrilled that it was able to read it! I did some Google searches and found the exact locations of where Outlook Express stores its data, and the process in which to import it.

I opened up Outlook Express for the “first time”, and setup the client’s email account.

In my research, I found the the first thing to know in this process is that you can’t simply copy and paste the Outlook Express files from the old hard drive location to the new hard drive. The data must be imported through Outlook Express for it to be recognized.

Since these files are hidden, the first thing to do is unhide them. Go into the Control Panel -> Folder Options, and select the ‘see hidden files and folders’ option, and click ‘ok’.

In Outlook Express, Click on File -> Import -> Messages.

Navigate to the old hard drive and find the
C:\Documents and Settings\<User>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\ {GUID}\ Microsoft\ Outlook Express folder.

Cick ‘open’. Outlook Express should find the files it needs automatically and import them.

To import your Address Book (contacts), open the Address Book program on your computer. It can be found by going to Start Menu ->Programs -> Address Book.

Next, go to File -> Import -> Address Book, and navigate to C:\Documents and Settings\ {Username}\ Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book and click ‘open’. All of your contacts should be automatically imported, and show up in Outlook Express as well.

This process honestly wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. I have honestly heard it can be a real nightmare. I suspect I got lucky when I found the right Google results. Most of the results pointed to articles describing the fairly simple process of exporting the correct way and then importing, not going to where the actual files are stored.

I can only hope this article helps many, and I strongly encourage you and potentially your clients to upgrade to Windows Live Mail after you finish setting up Outlook Express, and the latter is over a decade old.


Backup Microsoft Outlook 2007

September 1, 2008

I was asked today by a friend how to backup and restore Outlook 2007 data, such as personal folders, rules, alerts, and other account information (also known as Identities). I’ve never been able to figure out how to backup the Identities, but here are the details on how to backup everything else.

In Outlook 2007, you can export your PST files (personal file folders)…
1. Click on “File”, then on “data file management”

2. click “open folder”, then copy/paste the contents to your backup location.

You can also use this method,
1. Click on “File”, then “Import and Export”

2. Click “export to a file”, then click “personal file folder”

3. highlight “personal file folders”, and check “include subfolders”

4. tell it where to save the PST file, then click finish, and let it do it’s thing.

To export/import your Rules and Alerts…
1. Click on the “Tools” menu, then “Rules and Alerts”

2. Click “Options”, then “import” or “export”, and tell it where to save the file.

For the Identities, I’m not sure where that information is located, I’ve never had much luck in researching that. If I find out, I’ll be sure to post it here.

There is a tool that do all of this automatically, though it doesn’t always work. It is called  “Amic Email Backup“.

Formatting a drive

June 1, 2008

Preparing a drive for use is a two part job. Firstly you partition it and then format it. You can right click on ‘My Computer’, and click ‘Manage’, click on ‘Storage’, and then you can manage the partitions in that menu.


As a warning, you cannot delete the main partition windows is installed on while in Windows. Not sure why’d you want to anyway, but you can’t. If you want to repartition the drive and reinstall Windows, you’ll need to restart the computer with your Windows CD in the drive, and boot off of it.


As for the other hard drives that may show up, once you delete and repartition, any data on the drive is gone, so be careful. 

Windows Wireless Zero Configuration

June 1, 2008

The Wireless Zero Configuration service allows your network card to automatically select and connect to preferred networks as they become available. a service that is automatically scanning for different wireless networks.

By disabling this service, I noticed a huge improvement in the short “drops” of wireless connectivity. I can now have an active FTP, BitTorrent, or chat session running wirelessly and not worry about it being dropped.

To access this service and other Windows services, you can browse to the Control Panel, then Administrative Tools and finally double-click on Services.

Alternatively, you can launch Windows Run, type services.msc and hit OK. Alternatively, you can launch Windows Run, type services.msc and hit OK.  From the services window you will want to scroll all the way down to Wireless Zero Configuration and right-click the name, then click Properties.

From the Service Status area choose Stop to stop the service.

From the Startup Type drop-down menu, choose Disabled so that the service doesn’t startup the next time you start Windows XP.

Your wireless internet card should have come with it’s own wireless connection management software, which you can use alternatively.

props to: paininthetech.com

Cannot access Windows Update

June 1, 2008

Your security software, spyware, viruses, or  the browser is blocking Windows Update functionality and preventing you from seeing or downloading the updates. You can’t install any updates until you fix that. There is a Microsoft Tech Note that may be able to help you with this issue.


The easiest fix is to change ActiveX controls behaviors…

1. Under the ‘tools’ menu in Internet Explorer, choose ‘internet options’

2. Under the ‘security’ tab, click the ‘reset zones to default levels’

3. Click the ‘internet’ zone, and click the ‘custom’ button

4. Choose the following settings…

Online Backup – Carbonite and Mozy

June 1, 2008

Mozy does online backup just like Carbonite, but they also have a client for Macs. Both Carbonite and Mozy do encrypt your data, however a lot of online backup companies do not. Neither of these services are free, and do have an annual fee, which is very reasonable.


The most important about these online backup services is that they allow you to store your data off-site. So if, God forbid, a fire destroys your computer or data, you know a copy of your files are safe and secure on Carbonite or Mozy’s servers. Or, if your hard drive fails, or your CDs or DVDs don’t work, it’s a definite peace of mind to know your data is safe.

Automatically Back Up Certain Folders On My Network

March 3, 2007

What you’re talking about is NAS, network attached storage, and it’s a great way to provide a centralized server for media files, backup, and so on. You can use a RAID based NAS, which means having duplicate data on multiple hard drives to prevent future data loss. There is also software available to automatically back up machines on the network. Remember your NAS is only as fast as your network. For best results use gigabit ethernet.