Restoring It

Now let’s talk about how to restore all your OE data in a clean Windows installation. If you set up your Dial-Up Network (DUN) connection (or high-speed connection) before getting into Outlook Express, you want to work offline. Cancel the dialer and select Work Offline or go the File menu and select Work Offline.

OE Accounts

To set up the accounts in a clean Windows installation, select Tools / Accounts / Import, navigate to the backup directory, and move them back in, one at a time.

If you have multiple identities, first restore only the accounts for the main identity and then create the other identities. Use the File / Identities / Manage Identities menu in OE and then move those accounts back.

OE Folders

To move your messages into a new installation of OE:


  1. From the main OE toolbar, select File / Import / Messages.
  2. Select Outlook Express 5 and click Next.
  3. Select Import mail from an OE5 store directory and click Next.
  4. Use the Browse button to navigate to the folder containing the backup data, highlight it, click OK, then Next.
  5. In the next dialog, select All folders (unless you have a specific reason to import only selected folders), click Next, then Finish.

If you have multiple identities, switch to each identity and repeat the steps to restore the folders for each identity.

Address Book

To restore your address book:


  1. From Outlook Express, click on Tools / Address Book / File / Import / Address Book (WAB). Or from Windows, go to Start / Programs / Accessories / Address Book / File / Import / Address Book WAB.
  2. Navigate to the backup folder, highlight the desired address book file, and click Open.

If you have multiple identities, refer to the “Back It Up / Address Book — Multiple Identities” section for information on how the address book entries will be merged after an import.

Messages Rules, Signatures, and OE Settings

This section involves modifying the registry by importing the registry key(s) that you exported for your backup. It is recommended that you back up your entire registry before starting these procedures.

If you installed Windows from scratch and want to restore the previously backed up registry keys, you need to update the backup of the registry keys with the new GUID since the new Windows installation assigned you a different GUID automatically when you started setting up OE. First you need to find out what the new GUID is.


  1. Click on Start / Run, type regedit and click OK.
  2. Navigate to this key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Identities \ {GUID}
  3. Click on the folder icon next to it.
  4. Look in the right-hand pane to see the username value; it will be the same as the identity name used in OE. With the GUID highlighted on the left, right-click on it, select Rename, then press Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard, then immediately press the ESC key. Do not rename the key!
  5. Exit the registry by clicking Registry / Exit.
  6. Go to Start / Programs / Accessories / WordPad
  7. Select File / Open. Change the Files of Type drop-down menu to All Documents (*.*).
  8. Navigate to the folder where the first backed up registry key is stored, highlight it, and click Open.
  9. Select Edit / Replace. Paste the GUID from the clipboard into the Replace with field by right-clicking in the field and clicking Paste.
  10. Move the Replace box out of the way so you can see the first few lines of the registry file. Highlight and copy the old GUID in the document, including the curly braces { } !


  11. Paste the old GUID into the Find what field of the Replace dialog box by right-clicking in the field and clicking Paste.
  12. Select Replace All to replace every occurrence of the old GUID in this registry file with the new one.
  13. Go to File / Save, then File / Exit.
  14. You must repeat this procedure for all saved registry keys.
  15. To import each modified registry key, open Windows Explorer, maneuver to the folder with your OE backups, then double-click the modified registry key to import it and merge it with your registry.

Repeat these steps for each key to be imported and for each identity.


– Marti –

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