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Best Free Outlook Express Backup

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  Go straight to the Quick Selection Guide

Many email programs do not provide a practical way to back up messages, contacts and accounts. For example, Outlook Express (OE) uses an arcane data store that makes it difficult for ordinary mortals to back up, much less restore email messages. Backup programs offer a more straightforward way to back up messages, account settings and contact details (address book).

Notice: Outlook Express is the only free email client available from Microsoft for Windows XP. This review category will be maintained until Windows XP exits support life in 2014. Windows Live Mail is available for Windows Vista and 7. You can easily import your messages, contacts and accounts directly from Outlook Express when you install Windows Live Mail.

Backup for Windows Live Mail: It is easy to back up messages, accounts and contacts right from the program. [Use the two "Export" tools -- one under the "File" menu, and the other from the Contacts window, reached from "Contacts..." under the "Tools" menu.]  There are several free backup programs for Windows Live Mail if you don't want to do it manually.

Backup items menu

Outlook Express Backup is a full-featured backup program from Genie-Soft, who specializes in backup software. This is a splendid program. OEB is suitable for all users, as it's easy to install and easy to use in default mode, yet it's very powerful. There are "wizards" to lead you through the backup and restore steps. You can easily schedule automatic backups. The backup archive is simply a Zip file (with extension *.boe). This is a find by Tech Support Alert editor Rhiannon.

KLS Mail Backup backs up email for many of the popular email clients. It also backs up profiles for popular internet programs. KLS Mail Backup is free for personal use. It's a clean, straightforward backup tool. KLS Mail Backup uses standard ZIP files to archive email, so you have direct access to the backups. Each step of the backup and restore processes employs wizard-like dialog boxes that keep the process straightforward and intuitive.

KLS Mail Backup does not backup POP or IMAP accounts. That means you cannot use it to backup webmail accounts like Gmail or Hotmail directly.

Amic E-Mail Backup is a good basic backup program for Outlook Express. It backs up messages, contacts and accounts. Amic is easy to install and easy to use. Amic does backup a number of other email programs, but not Thunderbird or Windows Live Mail. Amic does not seem to have been actively developed since 2006. [review]

Manual Backup

iOpus has an article on using Microsoft's own File and Settings Transfer Wizard -- included in Windows XP -- to back up Outlook Express. Their utility captures messages, settings, accounts and contacts. You simply restore them as if your "old" computer is now your "new" computer.

I used Outlook Express for several years in a previous life. ;-) I simply used Windows Explorer to manually back up the messages and address book, and I exported account settings directly, using the "Account Settings" dialog under "Tools". You'll find Microsoft's guide helpful if you want to try this approach to manual backup.

Related Products and Links
Best Free Email Backup Utility
Quick Selection Guide

Outlook Express Backup
Gizmo's Freeware award as the best product in its class!

Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
A full-featured backup program from Genie-Soft, who specializes in backup software. Suitable for all users, as it's easy to install and easy to use in default mode, yet it's very powerful. There are "wizards" to lead you through the backup and restore steps. You can easily schedule automatic backups.
This free download is not the latest version of this product.
4 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 98/Me/2000/XP/NT
KLS Mail Backup
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
Backs up email for many of the popular email clients. It's a clean, straightforward backup tool. Uses standard ZIP files to archive email, so you have direct access to the backups.
KLS Mail Backup does not backup POP or IMAP accounts. That means you cannot use it to backup webmail accounts like Gmail or Hotmail directly.
2.5 MB
Free for private use only
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows 2000, XP, Vista and 7
Amic Email Backup
Runs as a stand-alone program on a user's computer
A full backup includes mail folders, newsgroups, address book and identity settings.
The free version is not the latest version of this backup program.
1.3 MB
Unrestricted freeware
There is no portable version of this product available.
Windows XP

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Average: 4 (11 votes)
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by gary humplet (not verified) on 23. June 2011 - 19:02  (74264)

my emails are 'piggy backing' onto the email i originally sent, with a '+' sign to the left of the email in the inbox, i have to click the '+' to see the email(s), : how can i 'undo' this ? it wasn't doing this yesterday, before i installed avast free security; i don't know if avast has anything to do with this, i had avg free before; thanks

by MidnightCowboy on 23. June 2011 - 20:06  (74265)

Sorry, but we are unable to provide individual support here in the comments sections. Please post your query here in our forum.

by Dadder (not verified) on 4. March 2011 - 21:43  (67438)

Just archieved my Gmail- no problem. Now, how do I backup my Gmail contacts?
Thanks very much for everyone's work.

by philip on 9. May 2011 - 16:29  (71693)

Go to Gmail "Help" (link is at the top of the Gmail page). Search for "backup contacts".

by Stoic Warrior (not verified) on 19. February 2011 - 10:17  (66715)

.." Comment: I know there are valid reasons for staying with an old friend, but Outlook Express is past its "sell-by" date. ;-) Microsoft's new Windows Live Mail is similar to Outlook Express, but it is improved and more secure..."

My problem with Windows Live Mail is that Microsoft has purposely chosen to make Live Mail INCOMPATIBLE with Windows XP. Yeah, yeah, know, I could buy Windows 7. Why? That's what they want (mo' money). XP and OE work just fine...

by philip on 19. February 2011 - 12:46  (66720)

@Stoic Warrior
You could even say past its "best-if-used-by" date. ;-) I've been thinking about retiring this page. When you pointed out that you're stuck with it for Windows XP, I realized that the time to do that is when support for XP expires. A couple more years I think.

by waynebob (not verified) on 19. February 2011 - 0:12  (66689)

MailStore Home has a portable beta version, just tried it and works great.

by philip on 19. February 2011 - 4:24  (66699)

Thanks for the tip waynebob. I've updated the information. I just may switcdh to the portable myself when it leaves beta.

by wasbit (not verified) on 21. November 2010 - 15:22  (61457)

StaticBackup referred to under Related Products & Links now offers payware or a 20 day trial.


by philip on 21. November 2010 - 16:47  (61461)

Thanks for letting me know Wasbit. I'm going to remove it as soon as I post this reply. :-)

by philip on 5. June 2010 - 0:13  (51330)

Comments here -- the page you're on now -- should relate directly to software that fits the title, "Best Free Outlook Express Backup".

Gizmo's Freeware Forum is a better place to get help at this site for specific questions. More editors watch the forum, and you'll get excellent support there.

by Anonymous on 4. June 2010 - 22:38  (51315)

How can I open pps files in Outlook Express please?. Something simple please as the brain cells are deteriorating fastand idont know much about computers
Thank ypo

by philip on 5. June 2010 - 0:11  (51329)

Most *.pps files are PowerPoint files. If you have Microsoft Office you should be able to open a *.pps attachment with PowerPoint.

If you don't have Office there is a free reader.

by Anonymous on 4. April 2010 - 14:03  (46937)

Hi Gizmo
can you help me please I have just moved to windows 7 and am having the devil of a time getting my old OE6 email transfered, It was all compreesed as DBX files and above you say

"The default "Store Folder" is named "Outlook Express" and can be copied onto a CD or an external hard drive or a flash memory drive, from which it can be copied onto your new PC's hard drive. This will get all your old OE messages into WLM, but, unfortunately, not your OE Address Book."

But I am unable to aopen a single dbx file with Windows Live mail and where on the hard drive shopuld I copy it?

what am I doing wrong?


Derek Ashmore

by philip on 4. April 2010 - 15:34  (46944)

When you write, "I have just moved to windows 7...'" it's not clear if you upgraded an old computer or are now using a new computer. If you are able to run Outlook Express on an XP machine you could install Windows Live Mail on it, and let the install process import from Outlook Express. Then you could move the Windows Live Mail store to the Windows 7 machine.

On the other hand, if you only have the old Outlook Express store to work with, one of these links may help.

Phil Spohn

by Anonymous on 20. March 2010 - 1:01  (45846)

Outlook Express Backup is NOT "unrestricted freeware". The setup license agreement explicitly states:

"The evaluation version is the only version that is provided without charge; however, the evaluation version is not free software. All rights and licenses to the evaluation version automatically expire 15 days after first installation, after which you must register
with Inc. and pay the then current license fee. Payment
must be in US dollars drawn on a US bank. For details on
registration methods, please refer to the help file in the
software, or contact Inc."

This program does not appear to belong on Gizmo.

by MidnightCowboy on 20. March 2010 - 10:18  (45871)

This is the link to the free version I pulled off the web just now:

Which is confirmed by the cnet page link:

This also from the Genie-Soft extended information page:

"Backup, Protect, Restore, Every thing, Anytime, With a click of a button. *This software is totally free of charge"

by philip on 20. March 2010 - 15:59  (45885)

@MidnightCowboy Thanks for researching the current status of the free version of Outlook Express Backup.


by MidnightCowboy on 20. March 2010 - 16:49  (45894)

No problem - glad to help out :)

by Anonymous on 10. June 2009 - 12:02  (23496)

MailStore Home requires MS Net Framework

KLS works flawlessly without it.

by philip on 10. June 2009 - 16:39  (23516)

Thanks for the comment Anon. I've included KLS in the reviews.


by Espilce on 7. May 2009 - 14:54  (21199)

KLS Mail Backup

Windows Mail profile and Windows Contacts
Windows Live Mail profile, Contacts and Messenger Files
Outlook Express profiles and Windows Address Book
Internet Explorer Favorites and Internet Accounts
Mozilla, Seamonkey, Thunderbird and Firefox profiles
Opera profiles
The Bat! profiles
IncrediMail profiles

Backup to: local and network drives
Standard ZIP compression
Full and incremental backup mode
Flexible restore options

by philip on 12. May 2009 - 22:11  (21455)

Looks as if KLS Mail Backup covers backup of email messages and program profiles for a number of widely used programs.


by Anonymous on 24. April 2009 - 13:06  (20436)

can anyone suggest a simple way, or programme, to back up win live mail and restore, also to a new install on second hard drive? thanks (XP SP3)

by philip on 24. April 2009 - 14:49  (20448)

You can export/inport both messages and account settings via "Files" > "Export"/"Import" in the menu bar of Windows Live Mail. You can access your contacts via "Tools" > "Contacts", and export/inport them via "Files" in the contacts manager window. That should cover everything you need to backup/transfer messages, settings and contacts in Windows Live Mail.


by Anonymous on 24. April 2009 - 22:39  (20474)

Thanks for reply. I did try this before but it didnt seem to work when transferring/importing messages. Account settings imported, but no messages! an 'imported folder' appeared in the pane under storage folders, but it was empty! Any ideas?

by philip on 26. April 2009 - 14:41  (20572)

You could try copying the entire Windows Live Mail data "Store Folder" to backup or move everything -- contacts, account settings and messages. Mine is located at C:\Documents and Settings\{User Name of your Windows account}\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Windows Live Mail. Make sure WLM is closed before proceeding.

You can also find your "Store Folder" with the following steps in Windows Live Mail itself: [Click "Tools" in the Windows Live Mail menu bar > select "Options" > select the "Advanced" tab > click the "Maintenance" button > click the "Store Folder" button] You can then navigate to the folder with Windows Explorer. What I do when messing about with folders like this is make a copy of the entire folder as a backup and then experiment to see how things work.

I also found a free WLM backup program, which I have not tried yet. It's described at -- search for "backup windows live mail" (without the quotes) when you get there. Or download it at

Let me know how things work out

by Anonymous on 27. April 2009 - 13:28  (20637)

Thanks for reply
Staticbackup is a good find, neat and simple. thanks for that.
Am still trying things, but so far:
Re transferring from WLM on HD1 to WLM on second HD - copying the WLM folder over seems to have worked, but i had to ensure that the WLM folder on HD2 was empty to avoid duplication/corruption. there was some kind of store corruption when starting WLM on HD2 but this was automatically recovered by WLM. also the account passwords were not transferred (whereas they are transferred if the accounts are exported and imported using WLM itself)
still cant import messages to hD2 using WLM, end up with an empty 'imported folder' still.
Is this an inherent problem with WLM? or am i doing things wrongly?
Backing up WLM on HD1 using static and restoring on HD2 worked, but again the passwords were not transferred. password issue is not a big prob though!
Havent yet tried static restore on HD1, or similarly WLM message import on HD1.
Anyway, staticbackup seems to be good, so far!
Thanks again for your help.

by philip on 28. April 2009 - 14:17  (20723)

Thanks for the update Anon. I've found that it's harder to transfer contacts, accounts and email for most email programs than it is to simply backup/restore. Every situation seems to be a bit different. :-( Seems like you're going about it in a good way. One possibility is that registry entries are confused, and that WLM knows how to straighten them out.


by Anonymous on 29. April 2009 - 10:41  (20751)


All is now sorted!
'Empty' imported folder was user error! - Importing the exported is simple, and works well; the import appears as an 'imported folder' and all is contained therein, and can be dealt with accordingly. I like this method.
Copying over seems to restore 'as is' but with poss of some corruption.
Password issue - read that this may be due to it being restored/copied to a new install (although using WLM account export/import does retain password)
Therefore would use WLM export/import rather than copying over! also, to import messages first and then accounts, if doing both.
Staticbackup is quick and simple, and restores 'as is' (no 'imported folder'), except it seems passwords are not retained if restoring to new/re install.
Thanks for your help