Microsoft bundles a pair of email programs Outlook and Outlook Express with their
Windows OSes (Operating Systems). In Vista, they have renamed it to Windows Mail. Outlook Express is
smaller and faster, but has fewer features. The main additional features of Outlook
Outlook Express is capable of forwarding messages without wrapping them in
clumsy enclosures. Both programs are highly susceptible to viruses and worms that
target them and their address lists.
- A meeting scheduler that handles scheduling, notifying, confirming and
reminding of meetings and appointments. If others have the same program, the
process can be quite automatic.
- The ability to use MS Word and its macros and autocorrects to compose
- Ability to display a 4 line preview of each message.
- Notepad to keep track a to do list and journal.
To backup Outlook Express files, first discover where it
is putting them with Tools ⇒ Options ⇒ Maintenance
⇒ Store Folder. Then back up all the files in that folder. They will be
*.dbx files named after each mailbox. In XP, they will live
in a place like
"C:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\ApplicationData\Identities\gibberish\Microsoft\Outlook\*.dbx"
You can find the Outlook files under XP in
"C:\Documents and Settings\user\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.pst". outlook.pst is a giant file with everything in it.
In Vista, look in
In Windows 7, look in
C:\Users\user\Local\AppData\Microsoft\outlook\outlook.pst for the main database. Look in
for the files defining each email account. Look in
C:\Users\user\Roaming\AppData\Microsoft\outlook\extend.dat additional datafiles.
mailbox.PAB is the address book. archive.pst will be your archived mail. Outlook.NK2 will be the autocomplete nickname file.
To backup the address book, Export it as a CSV (Comma-Separated Value)
To backup a mail account, click Tools ⇒ Accounts ⇒
Mail ⇒ Export.
To backup newsgroups, click Tools ⇒ Accounts ⇒ News
It is best to have backups in as many different formats as possible in case future
software is incompatible with your backups.
- Outlook files will become corrupt if the outlook.pst file grows past 2 GB. Make
sure you prune them before they get this big or you will lose them.
- Outlook will sometimes get confused and think it has no accounts (No
Send/Receive button) or that the account configurations contain old settings. Try
clearing all caches and temp directories to clear its mind.
- Microsoft’s Outlook licencing agreement is more onerous than you might
expect. The basic rule is you can run your copy on only one computer at a time.
Let’s say you buy a new laptop. You must export your files, uninstall Outlook
from the old laptop, install it on your new laptop, then import the files. This is
a goofy a way to do things. Normally you would not uninstall the old version until
the new install were fully functional. Microsoft’s insistence on this
procedure means if your old laptop dies or if somebody steals your old laptop, you
are hosed, even if you have backups. You have to buy a new copy of Outlook. This is
my understanding derived from talking with Microsoft support chat, who had a
strange way of evading my yes/no questions. Perhaps John was a computer.