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Microsoft Outlook express, where are the emails gone?

Discussion in 'Windows 7' started by Goseph, Nov 3, 2009.

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  1. Goseph

    Goseph Thread Starter

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    My sister haphazardly installed windows 7 over the top of vista before I had a chance to back everything up. Fortunately there is a folder called windows.old with all of our data. The only thing I can't find is all the emails from Outlook Express. I have searched the entire C drive for ".dbx" to no avail. The contacts were saved in the /username/ directory just fine but no emalis. This is bad!

    Help!!
     
  2. Mumbodog

    Mumbodog

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    EDIT:

    D'oh!

    Thanks TheOutcaste

    .
     
  3. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

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    Vista doesn't have Outlook Express. It does have Windows Mail (WM) though, which is similar in appearance, but the data structure is quite different.
    It's data is stored here:
    Code:
    [COLOR=Red]X[/COLOR]:\Users\[I]Username[/I]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail
    Account info is in Account{GUID}.oeaccount files
    I believe the WindowsMail.MSMessageStore is the Index for the emails. Windows Live Mail (WLM) calls this just Mail.MSMessageStore
    Contacts are stored here:
    Code:
    [COLOR=Red]X[/COLOR]:\Users\[I]Username[/I]\Contacts
    WM does not use .dbx files to store the messages, but stores each message individually with a cryptic name and a .eml extension under folders at this location
    Code:
    [COLOR=Red]X[/COLOR]:\Users\[I]Username[/I]\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail\Local Folders
    (If you switch to Details view, you can add a Subject, From, To, etc columns to see more info for each email).

    I'm not sure if installing Win 7 backs up the Local folder into the Windows.old folder, but hopefully that folder is there. I've not done an upgrade, so I'm not familiar with the structure of the Windows .old folder.

    I just tried this on my Dual Boot Vista/Win 7.
    I installed Windows Live Mail (WLM) first, then imported the messages. They all get placed in Storage Locations | Imported Folders | Local Folders, but you can't drag the folders. You have to create the folders, then you can drag the messages.
    You can move the folders using Windows Explorer, and WLM seems to find them though.

    Most settings and all message rules are stored in the Registry, so unless the Windows.old folder has the ntuser.dat file from the Vista user account, you'll have to re-create the rules.
    The Registry path is:
    Code:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows Mail
    WLM uses the same path except it's Windows Live Mail instead of just Windows Mail.
    I tried exporting the Rules key, changing the path to Windows Live Mail from Windows Mail, then merged into the registry.
    The rules are there, but they all have to be edited as the folders to move the messages to show just Windows Mail instead of Windows Live Mail.

    Win 7 does have the Windows Mail key in the registry, so I think I'm going to start over and try it this way:
    Copy the entire AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail folder structure from the Vista Account to the Win7 account.
    Copy the Contacts folder
    Export the Windows Mail key from the Vista registry and merge it into the Win 7 registry, leaving it as Windows Mail.
    Then install Windows Live Mail, and hopefully it will pick up the Windows Mail settings and migrate them to Windows Live Mail.

    Might be a few days before I test that method out though.
     
  4. Mumbodog

    Mumbodog

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    Tried that once for WLM, did not work, the files are somehow tied to the original installation of the program, but my user accounts were different also. Gave up and did not dig any further.
     
  5. Goseph

    Goseph Thread Starter

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    Hey all, I found the folders you spoke about but it seems that no, the "Local Folders" directory was not backed up so I don't have any emails. Is there an appropriate disk recovery utility that I can use and hope to recover things with?

    Thankyou very much for your time.
     
  6. TheOutcaste

    TheOutcaste

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    Check Elvandil's list of software [post=6233957]here[/post]

    Recuva gets mentioned quite a bit, and I've had good luck with GetDataBack, but it's been quite a while since I've needed to use any type of recovery software.

    Your best bet is to stop using the PC immediately. This will prevent overwriting the files.
    Remove the hard drive and connect it to a different PC to run the recovery software.

    There are so many variables it hard to say where any one file will get placed. The fact that they are in the same folder doesn't always mean they are near to each other on the drive, so you never can tell.
     
  7. tech-win

    tech-win

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