BOOT CAMP 490 (21/08/07)

Moving & Backing up Word, Outlook Express, Windows Mail and IE Settings and Data


Following hard on the heels of our recent series on transferring data and settings from an old PC to a new one, this week, as promised, we’re going to look at copying configuration settings and files for the five most popular Windows applications, namely Microsoft Word, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Outlook, Internet Explorer and Firefox (see this week’s Top Tip). These steps can also be used to back up your data files (documents emails and so on), to removeable media.


Word is quick and easy and all of your layout and view preferences, formatting instructions, macros and custom dictionary entries are contained in a small file (usually less than 100kb) called the Normal Document Template, or ‘’. is being constantly updated and is prone to corruption, making it responsible for the majority of Word problems, so it’s worth making a backup in any case.


Assuming that you are using the same version of Word on both PCs, all you have to do is copy the file on your old PC to a flash drive or floppy, pop it into your new PC and use Windows Explorer to Paste the file into the correct location. On Windows XP you will find it in:


C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\



In Vista and Windows 7 it lives in:





Moving Outlook Express and Windows Mail from one PC to another is a bit of a chore as the account settings, email messages, address book, Rules and so on are all stored in different locations and some of them are not very easy to get at. It’s made more complicated by the fact that in Vista OE has been replaced by Windows Mail. If you are moving from XP to Vista and want to avoid a lot of messing around then I suggest that you use the ‘Easy Transfer’ utility (see last week’s Boot Camp). Otherwise the basic procedure is to use both program’s Export and Import facilities; just don’t try to copy files and folders into the same locations – it doesn’t work.


In Outlook Express (and WM) go to File > Export and select Address Book then ‘Text File (comma separated value)’, choose the location (a removable pen drive, etc.) and give it a name, select the fields you want to export and click OK. On the destination PC the procedure in OE is reversed, select Import > Other Address Book > Text File (comma separated value), browse to the drive and file, click Next and it’s done. Importing your address book into Windows Mail is more or less the same, go to: File > Import > Windows Contacts > CSV (Comma Separated Values). You can try exporting and importing the Address Book as a native .wab file but in my experience it is prone to failure; the comma separated value (.csv) technique is a lot more reliable.  


My preferred method for manually moving OE messages to another PC using later versions of Windows (Vista/W7/W8) is to copy the entire ‘Store folder’ to a CD or flash drive (make sure it’s big enough…), then copy that to the new PCs hard drive and use the Outlook Express or Windows Mail Import facility. I wouldn’t recommend using OE’s Message Export facility, and don’t try to import directly from a CD as it is bound to fail because of the media’s read-only status. In Outlook Express your messages will be stored in:


C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}


The Windows Mail Store folder can be found in:


C:\users\AppData\<yourname>\Local\Microsoft\Windows Mail


OE’s Rules, Signatures, Blocked Senders list and so on all live in the Windows Registry and it is possible to transfer them from one copy of OE to another. There’s a how to do it guide in Boot Camp 311, but I warn you, it’s a nasty job and not for the faint-hearted. It may be possible to copy them to Windows Mail but I haven’t tried, and am not about to do so, so if you have managed to do it please let me know.


Next up is Outlook, which in comparison with Outlook Express is an absolute doddle. All of Outlook’s settings, tasks, notes, appointments, messages and contacts are stored within a single ‘personal folder’ file with the extension .pst. The only proviso for transferring the .pst file is that both versions of Outlook should be the same. In Windows XP your .pst file will be in:

C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Local Settings\

Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.


As usual the Vista/W7/W8 locations are slightly different:





Copy the .pst file to your new PC’s hard drive  (it doesn’t matter where) then in Outlook go to File > Import and Export > Import from another program or file > Next > Personal Folder File (.pst) > Next.  Browse to find the .pst file from the old PC and follow the prompts.


Our last port of call is Internet Explorer and moving your web page bookmarks to another PC. This is another very simple job and IE bookmarks are all stored in a single folder, called Favorites, which in XP is located at: C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\ favorites. In Vista it’s C:\users\<yourname>\favorites. All you have to do is copy the folder from your old PC into the correct location on your new PC and it will replace the old Favorites folder.



Next Week – TV on your PC





Global Unique Identifier – a long string of alphanumeric characters, unique to each Windows PC, used to identify programs and applications



A large, constantly changing collection of Windows system files containing configuration information for both the PC and programs stored on the hard disc



Windows Address Book, proprietary file format used by Windows applications to store contact information



The principle for moving Firefox bookmarks to another PC is the same as IE, just paste the ‘bookmarks’ file to the correct location on the new PC, but they are not as easy to get to as IE Favorites.


For the record in Windows XP they are stored in:

C:\Documents and Settings\<yourname>\Application Data\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\zsjkllp7j86.default\bookmarks.htm


In Vista/W7 it’s: C:\users\<yourname>\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\



The simpler solution is to go to Bookmarks > Organise Bookmarks > File > Export, choose a location (your removable media), load it into the new PC and repeat the process, this time selecting Import (instead of Export) on the File menu.




© R. Maybury 2007, 1408

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