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.

Check for New Messages More Frequently with Outlook Express

Outlook Express will check your mail server for new messages immediately when you open the program, but only once every 30 minutes thereafter by default. This setting is a holdover from the “old days” when most users connected to the Internet by slow techniques like dial-up. If you’re connected to the Internet via a network and a high-speed connection, then it’s well worth checking for new messages more frequently – assuming that you’re actually interested in receiving messages in your Inbox more quickly, of course.

Configuring Outlook Express to check for new messages at shorter intervals is a simple affair. Just head to Tools > Options and then head for the Send / Receive Messages section on the General tab. Ensure that the Check for new messages every X minutes option is checked, and then enter a new time interval in the box provided. 5 minutes is perfect for most users, but if you absolutely need to see messages immediately, a shorter interval like 1 or 2 minutes may be more appropriate. Click OK to enforce your new settings.

Turning Off New Newsgroup Notifications in Outlook Express

If you use Outlook Express to browse Usenet or other newsgroups, you’re probably familiar with the “There are new newsgroups” notification message box that appears when you open the program and attempt to connect to the newsgroup server. While this serves as a handy reminder if you’re interested in knowing as new groups come online, it can also be an annoyance in cases where you only view and post to certain specific groups.

Thankfully, turning off this notification is easy enough. Just open Outlook Express and head to the Tools > Options window.  On the General tab in the Options window, look for the second setting in the General section – Notify me if there are any new newsgroups – then uncheck the option and click OK. The message alerting you to the existence of new newsgroups will no longer appear when you connect to the newsgroup server.