How to backup Outlook Express emails and settings

This backup article explains how to backup Outlook Express emails and settings, not Microsoft Outlook. Outlook Express emails are stored in .dbx files. For each folder in Outlook Express a .dbx file is assigned.

On this page: How to configure a backup for Outlook Express in Backup4all Video Tutorial Outlook Express Backup limitations for locked or open files

Outlook Express emails are stored in .dbx files. For each folder in Outlook Express a .dbx file exists. In order to have a complete backup of Outlook Express data, is not enough to back up all .dbx files. Outlook Express data that must be backed up consists of several items:

  • for each Outlook Express Identity:
    • Email Folders
    • Account Settings
    • Signatures
    • Message Rules (if used)
    • Blocked Senders (if any)
  • Stationary
  • Address Book (if used)

How to configure a backup for Outlook Express in Backup4all

Outlook Express data is stored in “.dbx” files. For each mail folder defined in Outlook Express a .dbx file is assigned. These files get quite large if you exchange lot of emails, thus when a small change occurs in a file (e.g. a new email has been received), the entire .dbx will be marked as “modified”. When running the backup, the whole file will be backed up as you cannot backup only the changes inside the .dbx file. That's why it is recommended to do a full or mirror backup (and not differential or incremental). Also, it is recommended to limit the number of backups in order to save disk space.

Steps needed to configure the backup:

  1. Open Backup4all and select File->New Backup Wizard (Ctrl+N).
  2. On the first page, enter a name for the backup in the Backup Name field.
  3. In the Where do you want to save the backup? section, you can select the backup destination. Click Next.
  4. From the Selection of files and folders drop-down list, select Outlook Express plugin. You can clear (un-check) the items that you do not want to back up. Click Next.
  5. On the third page, you can choose the backup type and the encryption. Click Advanced mode.
  6. On the Type page, select the backup type. The Full or Mirror type is recommended.
      If you select the Full type:
    • Set (check) the Yes, limit the number of backups option.
    • Enter a number of maximum backups to be stored. 
    • Clear (un-check) the Merge backups option.
  7. Click Save and run

Video Tutorial Outlook Express:

The backup job can be scheduled to run at a specific date and time. You can read an article about how to schedule a backup job at this address: "How to use the scheduler"


Backup limitations for locked or open files

Backup4all uses the Volume Shadow Copy service that allows you to back up local open files from NTFS partitions under Windows XP/2003 Server/Vista. Therefore you can back up Outlook Express (OE) without closing it if certain requirements are met:

  • computer is running Windows XP/2003 Server/Vista/ Windows 7 or later
  • you use an administrator account
  • OE data is not being backed up via the network
  • OE data is located on a NTFS formatted partition
  • the VSS (Volume Shadow Service) is running and is properly configured

If any of the requirements above is not met, Outlook Express has to be closed before backing up the data (otherwise files that are in use will be skipped).

Applies to:

- Backup4all 3.x, 4.x, 5.x
- Microsoft Outlook Express 5
- Microsoft Outlook Express 6

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