BOOT CAMP 310 (27/01/04)




In part one we looked at how and where Outlook Express stores the files needed to transfer your email set-up from one PC to another; this week we’ll be doing the deed, but first you need to give some thought as to how you are going to copy the files to the new PC since at least one of them is much too large to fit onto floppy disc.


There are plenty of options including copying the files to a CD-R/RW if the PC you are transferring from has a CD-writer. You could set up a direct cable connection or ‘DCC’, (see Boot Camps 67 and 68. Files can be copied over a network or you could temporarily ‘slave’ the hard drive from your old PC in the new machine. At a pinch you could even send files to the second machine as email attachments, though this could take a while as the Message Store can contain several tens, and sometimes hundreds of megabytes of data!


The idea is to copy the three main components of Outlook Express (Message Store, Address Book and Accounts Information) via your chosen medium, to a folder or folders on the hard drive on the new PC. This is important, the information must be moved onto the recipient PC’s hard disc, particularly if you are using a CD-R/RW as the data on a recordable disc is flagged as ‘Read Only’ and this can prevent Outlook Express on the new PC from accessing it properly.


You can move the three items one at a time or in one go, it doesn’t make any difference but it’s a good idea to start with the largest one, the Message Store. Incidentally you don’t have to copy all of your mailbox files (extension ‘*.dbx’) in the Message Store folder -- a good excuse to do some spring-cleaning, perhaps – but you must include the ‘Folders.dbx’ file as this is the master index.


Once your Message Store folder is on the hard drive of the new machine you can copy your mailboxes into Outlook Express by going to: File > Import > Messages > Outlook Express 5 (or 6, if shown) > Next. Select ‘Import Mail from an OE5 or 6 Store Directory, click OK, use the Browse button to locate the copied Message Store folder and follow the prompts.


The Address Book is next and this is a single file with the extension ‘*.wab’ (see part 1), simply copy it across to a safe location on your new PC’s hard drive  (it should fit onto a floppy disc), and in Outlook Express on the second PC go to File > Import Address Book and point it to the location of your ‘wab’ file.


If you have difficulty copying the Address Book in its native ‘wab’ file format, there’s a fallback method. On your original PC open OE and go to File > Export > Address Book, select ‘Text File (comma separated value), give it a name and nominate a destination folder. Copy the ‘*.csv’ file across to the new PC then go to File > Import > Other Address Book > Text File (comma separated value).


The last step is to copy your Accounts Information and OE has a built-in Export function, which you will find by going to Tools > Accounts and start with your email by selecting the Mail tab. (If you subscribe to newsgroups select the News tab and follow the same procedure). If you have more than one email account highlight each one in turn and click the Export button. You will be asked to specify a location and this will create an Internet Account File (extension ‘*.iaf’); repeat as necessary for each email and newsgroup account. Copy the ‘*.iaf’ files from your old PC (they should fit on a floppy) into a folder on the hard disc of your new PC. Open Outlook Express, go to Tools > Accounts, select the Mail tab, click the Import button, locate your copied ‘*.iaf’ files and repeat until they’re all safely installed. Your email passwords are not transferred and these will have to be re-entered the first time you use OE to send or received.


Outlook Express on the new PC is now ready to go but before you try it out it’s a good idea to bed everything in by carrying out a reboot. Once you are happy OE is working properly you can safely delete your transfer files, or better still copy them all into one folder, which can act as an archive or backup, or you can use them to set up email on another PC. Once you have a backup you can safely thin out your mailboxes which, as we pointed out last week, can slow OE down if any of the folders hold more than 1000 or so messages.


Next week – Transferring OE, part 3






Recordable CD-ROM formats; CD-R uses discs that can be written to just once whilst CD-RW (read-write) discs can be recorded on and erased many times



Connecting a second hard disc drive to a PC, for extra storage space or to access data files and folders



Windows Address Book -- proprietary file format for address data used by Windows applications




If Outlook Express mail folders are slow to open and last week’s tip didn’t help then here’s something else to try, but first a couple of words of warning. This procedure applies to Windows 98/SE/ME and OE5/6 and it’s for advanced users.  A common cause for a slowdown is corrupted Protected Storage Service files. To replace them you’ll need to load your Windows installation CD-ROM or know the location of the Windows ‘cab’ files on your PC’s hard drive. Shut down IE and OE and open Windows Explorer. Go to C:\Windows\System and rename (change the extension to ‘old’) or move the following files to another location: psbase.dll, pstorec.dll, pstorerc.dll and pstores.exe. Now go to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Information. On the Tools menu select System File Checker and click the item ‘Extract one file…’. Type the name of each file in turn and follow the prompts. Shut down and reboot.

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