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Windows 95 > Outlook Express 4 Tips

Mail - Back up your mail message files

By: Arie Slob

To back up your mail message files, follow these steps:

  1. Review your mail message folders and delete any unneeded messages
  2. Click the File menu, select Folder > Compact All Folders
  3. Find the files with the extension .mbx on your computer. These files are usually located in a folder under \Windows \ Application Data \ Microsoft \ Outlook Express \ Mail. The files might be in a different folder if you did not accept the default folders during setup
  4. Copy the files to a backup folder on your computer, a floppy disk, or a network drive

Note: Each message folder has one message file (*.mbx) and one index file (*.idx). There's is no need to copy the *.idx files. Some message files might be too large to back up onto a floppy disk.

To restore previously saved messages, copy the *.mbx files in your Mail directory, then delete the corresponding *.idx file, so that Outlook Express will re-create the index next time you select the folder.

NOTE: If the contents of your mailbox changed after you made a back-up, you will lose the messages you received after you made the backup.

You can also open your *.mbx file with WordPad. You will now see all the messages in this file. This way you can just copy any important messages, and save them as a text file.

If you want to copy your data to a copy of Outlook Express which does not have the sub folder you want to copy, you will have to delete the file folders.nch (in the Mail directory), which contains the names of the mail folders and their hierarchy. Outlook Express will rebuild the folders from the directory. The downside here is that the folder names and hierarchy will be lost (but they are easy to recreate).