Backing Up Outlook Express Email Messages

Most Windows users understand the importance of backing up their personal data files – images, documents, spreadsheets, and so forth – on a regular basis. Assuming that you store all of your personal files within your My Documents folder hierarchy, this is a relatively simply affair – burn your entire My Documents folder to a CD or DVD and be on your way. What many users don’t realize, however, is that backing up My Documents doesn’t back up their Outlook Express email messages. Outlook Express doesn’t store messages within this folder.

While backing up your Outlook Express email isn’t terribly difficult, it’s not exactly intuitive either. First, you need to determine where the DBX files that Outlook Express uses to store messages are located, and this is slightly different for every user. The easiest way to find the folder location, however, is to open Outlook Express, select Tools > Options, and then click the Maintenance tab. If you click the Store Folder button on this tab a window will open the full (and long) location to the files you’re after.

The easiest way to get to this folder is to highlight the entire path to the files (for example, C:\Documents and Settings\dan\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{A91177D0-06A7-4337-AD66-17F9863C4F3E}\Microsoft\Outlook Express), right click and select Copy. Next, click Start > Run, and then paste the path into the Open text box and click OK. The folder containing all of your DBX files will open.

To back up your Outlook Express email, copy or burn all of these files to the medium (CD, DVD, etc) of your choice. Back up your email regularly, especially if you rely on it for business purposes.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.