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Moving Your E-mail to Another Computer

by Nathanael Barbettini Copyright (c) Directron.com.

The following article is based on years of experience. It is provided as a free service to our customers and visitors. However, Directron.com is not responsible for any damage as a result of following any of this advice.

Copying the contents for commercial purposes is strictly prohibited without Directron.com's written consent. However, you are welcome to distribute these computer support tips free to your friends and associates as long as it's not for commercial purposes and you acknowledge the source. You are permitted and encouraged to create links to this page from your own web site.




Introduction

Upgrading your computer can be an exciting experience. It can also be very stressful to try and move all your existing data from your old computer to the new one.

While this guide won't show you how to move your files, it will lead you through the steps of another important part of the process, moving your e-mail and address book.

The process is actually fairly simple. The time needed to move all the data will vary depending on your setup and amount of data to move, but it shouldn't be more than 30 minutes.

If you have Outlook 2000 or Outlook XP, skip to the Outlook 2000/XP: Export section.
If you have Outlook Express 6, skip to the Outlook Express 6: Export section.

Outlook 2000/XP: Export

Outlook Data

To move your Outlook data (e-mail, contacts, calendar, etc), follow these steps:

   1. In Outlook, right-click the Outlook Today's [Personal Folders] item in the Folder List pane and choose Properties for "Personal Folders". See figure 1 below:
Figure 1: Opening the Properties window.


Note: If the Folders List is hidden, open the View menu and choose Folder List.

   2. In the Personal Folder Properties window, click the Advanced button. Right-click inside the Path field and choose Copy.
   3. Open the Start menu, point to Programs (or All Programs), point to Accessories, and click on Notepad.
   4. In Notepad, open the Edit menu and choose Paste to paste the folder path into the Notepad window.
   5. The very end of the path should contain the folder name and the extension .pst. Delete the end of the path until the last character is a backslash ( \ ) character. See figures 2a and 2b below:

Figure 2a: Full path, before deleting the end.
Figure 2b: Path after deleting. Notice that the folder name and extension are gone.


  6. Press Control-A to select the entire modified path and press Control-C to copy it to the clipboard.
  7. Open the Start menu again and choose Run... Press Control-V to paste the path into the Run field. Click OK.
  8. Windows will open the folder containing Outlook's data files. Copy all of these files to your new computer.

  IMPORTANT: Do not download any new mail (Send/Receive) on your new computer until you have imported your old (exported) mail!

If you use Mail Rules in Outlook, continue to the next section. If not, skip to Outlook 2000/XP: Import.

Outlook Mail Rules

Note: If you don't use mail rules, skip this step.

Mail Rules are used to automatically sort incoming or outgoing e-mail based on rules you can define in the Rules Wizard. If you want to move these to your new computer along with your Outlook data, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Tools menu in Outlook and select Rules Wizard
  2. At the bottom of the Rules Wizard screen, click the Options button.
  3. Click Export Rules, type a file name for the exported Rules File, and click Save. You will need to copy this file to your new computer.


Outlook 2000/XP: Import

Outlook Data

Importing is very similar to exporting in Outlook 2000 and XP:

  1. Follow the steps in the Outlook 2000/XP Export section, up to step 8.
  2. Close Outlook by opening the File menu and choosing Exit. Keep the folder window containing OutlookĄ¯s data files open.
  3. Delete the files in the data folder.


  Important:: This guide assumes you have not received any mail (i.e. Send/Receive) on your new computer. If you have, you will need to use the Import and Export wizard so you do not lose your new mail. Using the wizard is a harder way to import your mail and will not import your AutoArchive files.

  1. Copy your exported data files into the folder window from your backup medium. For example, if you copied the Outlook data files from your old computer onto a recordable CD, insert that CD and copy the files into the data folder.   2. Windows will ask you if you want to overwrite the existing files. Choose Yes.

Congratulations! You have finished the import/export process! You can continue on to the Outlook Mail Rules section, or skip to the Conclusion.

Outlook Mail Rules

If you exported any mail rules on your old computer, follow these steps to import them into Outlook on your new computer:

  1. In Outlook, open the Tools menu and select Rules WizardĄ­   2. At the bottom of the Rules Wizard dialog, click the OptionsĄ­ button.   3. Click the Import RulesĄ­ button, and select the Rules file you exported in the Export section.

Outlook Express 6: Export

E-mail and Contacts

The steps required to export your e-mail out of Outlook Express are similar to Outlook 2000 and Outlook XP. First, we will find out where the mail is being stored on the hard disk. Then, we will copy it to the new computer.

  1. In Outlook Express, right-click the Inbox folder in the Folders pane (located on the left side of the Outlook Express window), and choose Properties. See figure 3 below:
Figure 3: Opening the Inbox properties window.


Note: If there is no Folders pane visible, open the View menu and choose Layout... Turn on the Folder List option and choose OK.

  2. In the Folder Properties window, right click on the field containing the folderĄ¯s path (it should start with C:\Windows or C:\Documents and Settings) and choose Select All. Right-click again and select Copy. Close the Folder Properties window by clicking OK.   3. Open the Start menu, point to Programs (or All Programs), point to Accessories, and click on Notepad.   4. In Notepad, open the Edit menu and choose Paste to paste the folder path into the Notepad window.   5. The very end of the path should contain the folder name and the extension .dbx. Delete the end of the path until the last character is a backslash ( \ ) character. See figures 4a and 4b below:

Figure 4a: Full path, before modification.
Figure 4b: Path after removing folder name and extension.


  6. Press Control-A to select the entire modified path and press Control-C to copy it to the clipboard.   7. Open the Start menu again and choose Run... Press Control-V to paste the path into the Run field, and click OK.   8. A window containing various Outlook Express files should appear. Select all the files and copy them to your backup medium (recordable CD, network share, etc).

Address Book

Follow these steps to export your Outlook Express Address Book:

If you are using Windows XP:

  1. Open the Start menu and choose Run...   2. Enter the path: C:\Documents and Settings into the Run box and click OK.   3. Double-click on the folder with your user name on it.   4. Double-click on the Application Data folder.

Note: If the Application Data folder is not visible, open the Tools menu and select Folder Options. Switch to the View tab and set Hidden files and folders to Show hidden files and folders under Advanced Settings. See figure 4:

Figure 5: Setting the file view options.


  5. Double-click the Microsoft folder, then double-click the Address Book folder.   6. Select the Address Book file (it has a book icon) and copy it to your backup medium (recordable CD, network share, etc).

If you are using Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows Me:

  1. Open the Start menu and choose Find...   2. In the Find window, enter the text: *.wab and press Enter.   3. When your computer is done searching, it should have found one or more files. The one you want to copy will be the one that has your Windows log-on name on it. The file should be in one of the following folders: C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book -or- C:\Windows\Profiles\\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book

  4. Copy this file to your backup medium (recordable CD, network share, etc).

Message Rules

Unfortunately, Microsoft made exporting and importing Message Rules in Outlook Express much more complicated than in Outlook 2000 and Outlook XP. It is possible, but it involves editing the Registry and goes beyond the scope of this article.

In most cases it is much easier to recreate the rules on your new computer.

Please see this Microsoft Knowledge Base article for more information: Importing Message Rules Into Outlook Express.

Outlook Express 6: Import

E-mail and Contacts

Outlook Express includes a small wizard that can import your messages. Once you have transferred the message files you copied in the Export step, open up Outlook Express and follow these steps to import them:

  1. Click on the File menu, point to Import, and click Messages...   2. Select Microsoft Outlook Express 6 and click Next.   3. Select Import from an OE6 store directory and click OK.   4. Click the Browse... button and select the folder the messages you copied in the Export section are stored. Click Next.   5. If you want to import all your messages, select All folders. If you only want to import specific folders, select Selected folders and highlight the folders you want to import. Click Next

Tip: To select multiple folders, hold down the Control key and click the folders you want highlighted.

  6. Outlook Express will import the messages. Once it's done, click Finish.

Address Book

If you also exported your address book in the Export section, follow these steps to import your contacts back into Outlook Express:

  1. Click on the File menu, point to Import, and click Address Book...
  2. Select the .WAB file you copied in the Export section and click OK.
  3. Outlook Express will import all the contacts in the address book file.


Message Rules

Please see the above note on Message Rules.

Conclusion

Hopefully, this article will prepare you to move your e-mail to a new computer. While there are many steps to the process, the key is to take it one step at a time and have fun!

If you need more assistance with moving your e-mail, or any other part of the upgrade process, take a look at these other articles on Directron.org:

     How to upgrade your hard drive
     Directron Installation Guides

And, as always, you can post a question on the Directron Help Desk!


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