How To: Move Your Old Email to Win7

Marsha Naylor wants a way to access her old Outlook Express and Windows Mail messages in Windows 7

Marsha Naylor wants a way to access her old Outlook Express and Windows Mail messages in Windows 7.

Windows 7 is the first Microsoft OS in many years without a bundled e-mail client. It can't even read the messages you've saved in the previous bundled e-mail clients Outlook Express or Windows Mail; it doesn't know the file formats.

While Microsoft no longer bundles its e-mail program with the operating system, it still gives one away for free. The current program is called Windows Live Mail, it can import mail from the earlier programs, and you can download it (and a lot of other Windows Live programs) here.

If you did an Upgrade install from Vista, all you have to do is install Windows Live Mail. When you open the program, your old messages will be waiting for you. You'll find them in the Storage folders section.

Things are a little different if you did a Custom (advanced) upgrade from XP or Vista (you can't do an Upgrade install from XP). Follow these directions:

1) Download and install Windows Live Mail.

2) Set Windows to show hidden files: Launch Windows Explorer, then select Organize, Folder and search options. Click the View tab. Select Show hidden files, folders, and drives, and click OK.

3) Launch Windows Live Mail, and either go through or cancel the Add an E-mail Account wizard.

4) Press and release the ALT key to bring up the program's old-fashioned menus and select File, Import, Messages.

5) Follow the directions below for the version of Windows you're upgrading from.

Vista : In the resulting Import wizard, select Windows Mail and follow the prompts. Your mail will probably be in the folder C:\Windows.old\Users\your logon\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\Local Folders, where your logon is your Windows user name.

XP: In the resulting Import wizard, select Microsoft Outlook Express 6 and follow the prompts. Your mail will probably be in the folder C:\Documents and Settings\your logon\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{a really long number}\Microsoft\Outlook Express, where your logon is your Windows user name, and a really long number is, well, you'll know it when you open the Identities folder.

6) If you'd rather keep hidden files hidden, repeat step 2. Only this time, select Do not show hidden files, folders, and drives.

You'll find your old mail in the Storage folders section, under Imported Folder\Local Folders.

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Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
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