Last reviewed on April 21, 2015   —  53 Comments

When Outlook is installed and configured on the old computer, export from OE to Outlook then move the *.pst file to the new computer. See Moving Outlook to a New Computer for the steps required to create a profile and use the *.pst file on the new computer. See page 2 if you need instructions for exporting from Outlook Express to Outlook.

If Outlook is not installed on the old computer, you need to either install it (32-bit version) on the old computer and export from OE to Outlook then move the pst or install Windows Live Mail on the new computer (with 32-bit Outlook) and move the OE dbx files to the new computer, then export to Outlook. I think its easier to install Live Mail and move the dbx file than it is to install Outlook on the old computer. The steps below will tell you how to do this.

Note: When you export from Windows Live Mail to Outlook, the message headers are missing and you need to enter an address when you reply to an imported message. If you need to reply from Outlook, it might be easier to install Outlook on the old computer and export, then move the pst. Or use one of the tools listed at the bottom of the page to convert from OE or Windows Live Mail to Outlook.

See Tools below for utilities that can convert Outlook Express files to Outlook.

Get Outlook Express files

Find and copy the entire Outlook Express data folder on Windows XP. To find the location of the message store, go to OE's Tools, Options Maintenance tab and click on Store Folder button.

Outlook Express Message Store

Select and Copy the folder path in the Store dialog. It should look something like the following, if you were using the default folder path:

C:\Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{FA572F59-2087-498C-A7A9-F546571D6ECF}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

Close the dialogs and OE and paste the folder path in Windows Explorer's address bar. Press Enter. This will open Explorer to the location of OE's dbx files. Copy the contents of the entire Outlook Express folder, including the folders.dbx file to the Windows 7 computer, placing it in your My Documents folder. If you are moving it on a USB drive, you don't need to copy it to the Windows 7 hard drive, Live Mail can read the files from the USB drive.

location of outlook Express dbx files

The Address book uses the wab extension and is at C:\Documents and Settings\username\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book – it may be named username.wab. Copy it to the Windows 7 computer too.

Import Outlook Express Email into Live Mail

  1. Download and install the Microsoft Live Mail client
  2. Open it and go to File, Import Messages.
  3. Select to import from Outlook Express 6
  4. Browse to the Outlook Express folder you copied from the old computer.
  5. Select the folders you want to import and finish the wizard.

Import Address book (wab) in Live Mail:

  1. Open the Live mail address book module
  2. Go to File, Import. Windows Address book
  3. Browse to the *.wab you copied and complete the wizard

If you want to use Windows Live Mail, you're done and ready to go.

If you have just a .wab file to import, see Import a WAB file into Outlook on Windows 7/8

Export Mail and Address book into Outlook

You'll need to export the messages and address book from Live Mail to Outlook.

  1. Go to File, Export, Messages
  2. Choose Microsoft Exchange.
  3. Pick the folders and finish the export.

Open the Live Mails' Contact module and export the addresses in CSV or vCard format then import in into Outlook. If you export as vCard format, you can drag and drop them from the file system into Outlook's Contacts.


Tools in the Spotlight

Address Magic Personal Edition

Convert your Personal Address Book to or from Windows Address Book, Eudora, Netscape, Outlook Contacts, LDIF and other address book formats.

Address Magic Plus

Address Magic supports dozens of applications and formats to convert email, calendar, and address books, to or from Outlook. Converts over 30 address book formats, 20 email formats, and 4 calendar formats. Automatically customizes itself for your computer by finding your email applications and data files. Supports over 150 different address book fields, including names, postal addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, comments, and many more. Automatic field mapping between different address books, full distribution list support, and maintains email folder structure. Converts HTML email, text email, attachments, and all headers.



Aid4Mail is an email migration and conversion tool, which supports over 30 mail formats including Outlook (PST, MSG files), Windows Live Mail, Thunderbird, Eudora, and mbox. It can search mail by date, header content, and in the Forensic and Enterprise versions, by message body content. Mail folders and files can be processed even when disconnected (unmounted) from their email client including those stored on CD, DVD, and USB drives.


Fast. Reliable. Email conversion. ConvertMyEmail converts email data (emails and contacts) from Outlook Express to Outlook. All email folders, attachments, dates and addresses remain in tact during the conversion process.

DBX Converter

Convert Outlook Express to Outlook using DBX Converter tool to convert dbx to pst and to convert dbx to eml so as to read Outlook Express emails in MS Outlook, Thunderbird.

DBX to PST Converter

Software product to aid users in moving emails from Outlook Express to MS Outlook format. Software reads orphan dbx files and imports them into PST mailboxes. Perfect DBX reader and converting them into Outlook PST file format. Supports conversion of pst file to Outlok 2000/2003/2007/2010.

Stellar DBX to PST Converter

Stellar DBX to PST Converter is a powerful software that can convert Outlook Express DBX files into Microsoft Outlook importable PST. The user can append the data into an existing PST file or create a new one. Single or multiple DBX files can be converted into PST at one go. The user can get a preview of the DBX file items in the demo version. The newly created PST file can be stored at a user specified location in the system.The software interface is highly interactive and detailed user guide and installation manuals are available to assist the user through out the step by step conversion process.

Stellar WAB to PST Converter

Stellar WAB to PST Converter v1.0. Stellar WAB to PST Converter for migrating from Outlook Express to MS Outlook.

Transend Migrator

Transend Migrator converts data between virtually all email systems.


  1. Nic says

    Thanks, this really helped. One question, is it safe to clear the live mail inbox to save disk space once you have exported the files from Live Mail to Outlook?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Yes, once you are satisfied that nothing is missing, you can delete the live mail files to save space.

  2. Nick Haylor says

    I have exported myOulook express folders from Windows live messenger into outlook as above but where does do they go in outlook as I can not find them?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      They go into the default pst file, creating the same folder structure you had in Outlook Express. If you don't see them in Outlook, go to Control panel, search for mail - how many Outlook profiles are listed?

  3. Nick Haylor says

    Thank you for your reply.
    I have now found them hidden away in storage folders, then imported folders. For me it was not the obvious place to look.
    Thanks, Nick

  4. R R McClean says

    I changed from Outlook Express to Outlook 2010. Am only getting 1/3 of my e-mails in Outlook 2010 as I am getting in Outlook Express. I now have both so I can compare. What happened with the e-mails that are not coming to Outlook 2010? Tahnks RRM

    • Diane Poremsky says

      It's hard to say what happened. What type of account do you have configured? Do you have any idea what messages are missing? Did you look for them in the Junk mail folder or the Unread mail folder?

  5. richard mills says

    I have read these posts, and have followed the directions. They have been very straightforward and clear - except to the point of finding my imported messages. I copied my .dbx messages from my old hard drive onto my new hard drive (in its own library). I then imported my .dbx files into Live Mail using the OE6 option. That seemed to work fine, so I then exported from Live Mail to Outlook 2010. My messages were copied, but when I went to look for them in the Storage, I could see the file folder and I could check the file size (which looked appropriate), but I still can't see the messages.

    I'm sure this is user error, but I'm not sure what to do or where to go now.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Can you find them using instant search? Are you looking in the Inbox folder? Using a view that is hiding read messages?

  6. richard mills says

    I should add that I'm having no problem sending or receiving new mail - it's just the old stuff that I can't see.

  7. Jefferson says

    A closely rtelaed problem (running MS Office Small Business, Outlook 2007 with Windows 7):I deleted the Business function that came standard with Outlook software. When I logged off and back on, my Favourite Folders list was gone, and so was the reading pane in my Inbox (I happen to like the reading pane on the right-hand side). The Favourite Folders list seems to look after itself: a few days later, afer I had used Outlook a fair bit, the Favourite Folders list was back, good as new! And, it is easy to get the reading pane back, temporarily, (View > Reading Pane > Right) but when I log out and log back in, it is always gone again! (Note: the reading pane for Sent Items remains the way I set it up on the right, no matter what!). How do I get the reading pane to stay put in my Inbox?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Try restarting Outlook with the cleanviews switch. It probably would not hurt to use the /resetnavpane switch too.

      Press Windows key+R to open the Run command, type
      outlook.exe /cleanviews
      and press enter. Note, there is a space between outlook.exe and the /.

  8. harvey says

    After black Tuesday updates from MS last month, we had several computers not reboot after installing the patches. As a result, I chose to create a Win7 system with Outlook, a big step after using OE since it was introduced... over 300k of messages (21 GB).

    However to do this I had to first created a XP SP3 system, install the backup DBX files and install Outlook 2010. What a pain!

    But after folling the directions here and on the MS web site, I've come to the colusion, it can't be done using MS Import tooks. Really to bad they don't understand their customer needs!

    I tried twice and both times my Inbox (default account) lost all of the 2012 messages. I have about ten email accounts with rules that sort the in coming message into seperate folders. All of those imported into 2010 but now the Inbox - go figure.

    Now I wonder if I created a subfolder and moved all my 2012 messages into it, could I use the MS import routine? This takes about 40 hours and does not including another two days to index the PST file once in Win7... but what the hell, it is just electricy - right!

    OE worked great, simple text based tool, that was fast and has a small foot print. Why fix somethong that is not broken - MS... sell more software!


    • Ben Scott (@Ben_s214) says


      Agree with you 100% as I have gone through the same steps as you did to transfer OE messages to Outlook but the sub-folders are all messed up.

      OE is a much better mail client and it's a pity that Microsoft doesn't know what their customers treasure most.


  9. Steve says

    Here's my scenario: I was using outlook express on an old WinXP PC. Windows suffered some sort of failure that makes booting that machine near impoosible. I have however, taken the hard drive out, put in in a USB case. So then, I have access to my OE inbox and the multitude of sub-inboxes.

    I now use a new machine with Win 7 with Outlook 2010. MY QUESTION IS: How can I import all my old OE folders into Outlook? I can copy the inboxes and put them in a particular folder if that's needed.


    • Diane Poremsky says

      OE message stores are in dbx files, which Outlook can't open. You will need to either use a 3rd party tool (listed under Tools) or will need to import the Mail into Windows Live Mail then export to Outlook. If you have a lot of mail and folders, a utility can be cost effective and eliminate the need to install Windows Live Mail.

  10. Steve says

    Diane, thanks for the advice. I did eventually go the OE -> Live Mail -> Outlook route. After all, Live Mail was already on my PC. It took a while - sort of a set-it-running-and-go-get-lunch situation. It all worked out great and my zillions of emails in all those folders are back within reach. Thanks again!

  11. La says

    "OE message stores are in dbx files, which Outlook can't open. You will need to either use a 3rd party tool (listed under Tools)" - Could you please elaborate on where to find the 3rd party tool - which Tool list are you referring to? In OE6 or somewhere on this site?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      At the bottom of the article is a tools list which contains links to tools that can be used to convert OE to Outlook. The two in the Spotlight will convert OE to Outlook directly, the other two will export the messages from the DBX to individual eml messages which can be opened by Outlook.

  12. George Papadopol says

    Like others here I found help in the process of moving from XP+OE to W7+Outlook. I think i have the messages transfer done - bought a new Office 2010 Home & Business and installed it on the XP, imported the messages to Outlook.
    One thing I discovered - the pst file created was appreciably bigger than the OE store.If you do not have enough space, Outlook stops telling you how many messages. it has imported from the total in OE. then you have to do it again - remember tick copy over duplicates

    I have a question - my OE wab file has many folders under Main identity - is there any way or a 3rd party utility that can import this to Outlook and preserve the structure ? Outlook only imports the entries under Main identity same as OE exports to a CSV file.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Good point about data file size - yes, the pst will be larger, I'd guess by about 30%. This is because the PST stores more information. I would want an allowance of at last 2x the size of the OE folders of free space.

      I'm not sure if Aid4Mail or Address Magic can import them them.

      Have you seen the instructions on page 2? Drag the WAB contacts to a folder on your computer, then drag them to outlook. We have a macro that will do the dirty (boring) work to "import" into Outlook, a process which is mostly just opening the contact then hit save & close.

      If you want to make contact groups (distribution lists) see Create a DL

  13. Wendy Jones says

    Thank you for this very helpful post. I have spent hours looking at converters but did not want to pay for a once off use of the programme. This has been such a helpful solution

  14. Halvor says

    I haveinstalled Live Mail Version 2012 (Build 16.4.3505.0912)
    and imported my OE messages and address book. I then made an export to Outlook Exchange and everything looked to work, but it never asked me for a liocation of where to put the pst-file. Now i have scanned the hole C-dirve, but no pst-files have been created today. Any suggestion?

    Anyway: Is this export worth importing into Outlook2013 (you commnet on "the message headers are missing and you need to enter an address when you reply to an imported message")? Still valid?

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Yes, the caveats apply to Outlook 2013 too. Did you have a profile set up in Outlook? If you have a profile set up and are exporting all folders it should use the current profile's data file.

  15. Željko says

    Dear Diane, I see you are wery helpfull and right adress to help me. I have Outlook Express 6 with many massages and attached files from past years and I must keep them all. Now I must move all massages and adress book to new computer with Win 7 and Outlook 2010. How can I do this without mistakes or lost of data ? Thank you in advance. Best regards, Željko.

  16. Atlantis says

    Hello Diane, got a strange issue here.
    You said "Note: When you export from Windows Live Mail to Outlook, the message headers are missing and you need to enter an address when you reply to an imported message. If you need to reply from Outlook, it might be easier to install Outlook on the old computer and export, then move the pst."
    Well, I followed your instructions: I installed Outlook 2002 on the old PC (Win XP), exported the messages from Outlook Express to Outlook 2002, then exported the messages from Outlook 2002 into a .pst file that Outlook 2007 in the new PC (Win 7) imported apparently correctly. The problem lies in the fact that when I open an imported message and select "Reply", Outlook shows me only the NAME of the sender (e.g. "Jack"), and NOT the actual Email address. Double click on that "Name" has no effect.
    What's wrong? Cheers, Andy.

  17. Rinald Almer says

    Hi Diana, I have the exact same issue as Atlantis (mail addresses replaced by plain text)and even in different scenarios. I have scanned the web for days, but this is the first time I've seen anybody else reporting this.
    The scenarios I've tried are:
    On my WinXP machine Export from OE6 to Outlook-2003 and also let Live Mail 2009 import the OE DBX files and export them to Outlook PST.
    On my Win8 machine use Live Mail to import DBX files and export to Outlook 2013 PST.
    The result is the same every time: you cannot reply to an imported message because the From: and Cc: fields are just plain text.

    The one difference between the old and the new PC is that Outlook 2013 shows a line in sharp brackets saying something like "This item contains an embedded script". (I'm not sure about the exact English text, because I'm using the Dutch version.) So it may be that mail links are translated to plain text for some security reason.

    Please advise how on to circumvent this.

    Regards, Ronald.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      I believe that is related to this issue:

      Note: When you export from Windows Live Mail to Outlook, the message headers are missing and you need to enter an address when you reply to an imported message.

      Exporting from OE directly to Outlook (both installed on the same computer) is the usual fix, but if it doesn't work, you'll need to use a utility to handle the export.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      It's the bar above the folders and files and below the toolbar or ribbon that lists the folder name. It can be turned off or hidden in one version of Windows. - if you click in it, you can copy the path or type/paste a new path.

  18. Chet Hedden says

    You recommend ConvertMyEmail under the heading "Tools." Just a warning -- I fell for the recommendation and sales pitch and spent $20 to purchase it. However, it is vaporware. It does nothing. Once you enter your conversion parameters it just sits there as there is no arrow or button to convert anything. Naturally I requested a refund as the site claims a "money back guarantee." But after half a dozen requests for my money back, and a threat to dispute the charge with the bank, I have yet to receive any reply whatsoever.

  19. Vicky says

    Hi Diane, thank you for your clear instructions. However I am having a problem moving my messages from IE/XP. I have installed WLM on my new Win7 computer and imported the messages as per the above instructions but my IE folders and subfolders are not there, the messages are all together in one inbox. What am I missing? I noticed that whilst importing, there was no option to select 'import from store directory' only the option to browse for the storage location. Hope you can help. Best wishes, Vicky

    • Vicky says

      Hi Diane,
      I finally found them thanks, there were so many different folders labelled 'Inbox' that I had to do a fair amount of shifting around of old messages but got there eventually.
      My next problem is that having set up two email accounts on Outlook, I am now finding that if I type a recipient's address into a new message, the email sends but never arrives, whereas if I reply to a message from the same recipient, it is received with no problem. Any ideas?
      I need to set up three more accounts in Outlook so will have five in total - is it something to do with that? I have unchecked the box for Autocomplete and it didn't fix it.
      Any help would be gratefully received.
      Regards, Vicky

    • Diane Poremsky says

      Do you get any NDRs back? Without an NDR it's really hard to say where the problem is.

      Did you empty the autocomplete list? (file, options, mail - about halfway down) If the address is coming from it, the list could be corrupt. If you are addressing the message from contacts, see if typing the address makes a difference - if so, the contacts are the problem.

  20. Mughal says

    Hello Daine Poremsky,
    How are you
    I was using outlook express 6.0 with OS XP service pack 2 and now i update my OS window 7 and would like to know how i can import .dbx file in outlook 2007.
    i try my best but i can't.
    please reply me via email id possible.

    • Diane Poremsky says

      What happens when you try the steps?

      You need to set up Windows Live Mail on Windows 7 and import the dbx files (you need the entire folder of dbx files, not just some). If the old computer is available, you could install outlook on it and export to outlook then move the pst.

  21. FMSBT says

    When I use export in OE XP, and click OK, as you instructed, I get an msg saying "The connection to the Microsoft exchange server is unavailable. Outlook must be online or connected to complete this action." ???

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      Did you create a profile in outlook? it sounds like the profile has an exchange account - you only need a pst file in outlook, or a pop3 account.

  22. FMSBT says

    I don't know what you mean by your question. I'm a baby when it comes to technology. What I did try (not sure if this is what you meant by your question) is to create an account. When I exported to there, only a fraction of my emails went over. Are we talking about the same thing?

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      I'm pretty sure the problem is due to importing into You should import into a pst file. What version of Outlook are you trying to import into? If 2010/2013, go to File, Account Settings, Data Files tab and add a new data file then set it as default then try importing. The mail should import into the pst file ok.

  23. FMSBT says

    My problem seems to be that I can't export from OE XP to Outlook on Windows 8.1 because OE creates DBX files. I can't find any way around this.

    • Diane PoremskyDiane Poremsky says

      You either need to export on the XP machine or install windows live mail client (now part of windows essentials) and import the dbx files into it then export to Outlook.

  24. Jen says

    Hi Diane,

    Hope you can help me. I had both OE and Outlook2007on the old XP machine. I successfully exported from OE to 2007.

    Then, with my new Windows 8.1, I have Outlook 2013. Using a flash drive I imported updated directory file last week to Outlook 2013. All emails/folders are in Outlook 2013.

    However, new mail from last week through to today is still going straight to OE.

    According to default programs Outlook 2013 is my default email.

    If I'm at new computer, in Outlook 2013, I send a test message and OE on old machine receives the message immediately, and then again 6 minutes later.

    I'm concerned that if I "throw the old computer out" I'm also throwing out my email program and I will never again receive an email.

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