Archive Outlook Express e-mail

Outlook Express's folders offer a convenient way to organise your e-mail once you've received and read it, enabling you to group messages by client or project, for example.

You can create a folder with the File-Folder-New Folder command, then drag messages to it. But if you want to move the contents of an ageing folder somewhere else for long-term storage, Outlook Express offers no help.

Luckily, if you're using Outlook Express 5, the job is pretty easy. (I don't recommend trying the following with Outlook Express 4.x, due to odd, unfriendly file-naming conventions.)Before you archive a folder, make it smaller. In Outlook Express, highlight the folder in question and select File-Folder-Compact. Or shrink all of them with File-Folder-Compact All Folders.

In Windows Explorer, go to the folder (I'm talking about regular Windows folders here, not the Outlook Express variety) where Outlook Express stores your mail.

The default location is C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express. This folder contains a .dbx file for every folder inside Outlook Express; for instance, if you're keeping some mail in a folder called Clients, you'll find a file here named Clients.dbx.

Find the file for the mail folder you wish to archive, and copy it to your Zip disk or whatever archive location you choose. Back in Outlook Express, right-click the folder you're archiving and select Delete. Click Yes.

Should you ever need to restore an archived e-mail folder, start in Outlook Express. Use File-Folder-New Folder to create a new folder with the same name as the old one. Once it has been created, click on it; you'll be told that there are no items there. Next, click on another folder so that the new folder is no longer highlighted.

Move the archived file back from your archive source to its original location, such as C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express. In the Confirm File Replace dialogue box, make sure you're replacing a new file with an older, bigger one before clicking Yes.

Return to Outlook Express and go to the new folder. You'll see your old messages.

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