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How do I retrieve Outlook emails from hard drive

deekmartin asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-06-21
My main laptop with Windows XP stopped booting up.  I have removed the hard drive and have it connected to a second laptop.  I am retrieving data.  I do not know how to get my emails and address book data from the hard drive.  I don't know what file to go to and how to save it to be imported to the Outlook in this computer.
Thanks Deek
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in the current laptop use search in the all files type in .dbx and then navigate to the slaved drive.
include hidden system files.
they usualy found here but unhide system files from tools folders options view.
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities.
copy the folder of each to a new folder and name it stores on the desktop.

 open outlook express on this machine go to file IMPORT click on this>import messages>
from outlook express6 next>import mail from choose> an OE6 store directory  okay>next >it was determined your messages are stored in the following> browse to the Stors folder you made. it should show all emails.
In future to back up these change the store folder .
You can also backup your accounts from tools accounts>export.
hope this solves it


Assuming you are using Outlook 2000:

Outlook addresses and e-mails are usually saved in files that end in a .pst extension (Personal Folder Files). These can be imported through the Outlook File Menu (Import and Export->Import from another program or file->Personal Folder File).

Usually the main one Outlook accesses is located in:

c:\Documents And Settings\<username>\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\outlook.pst


hello sorry confused...do I initially search everything or the bad slave hard drive..for dbx. files...could you take the steps and number them..in sequence...
thanks deek


I have now managed to create a new folder of the .dbx files...when I go to export ..I browse and chose them but than I dont know what file name or type to use...in that box nothing happens...?..can you tell me what i do in order to import them?
Thanks Deek

try simply importing them from the directory default.
The "*\Identities\{user-account-code}" folder sometimes will not display any contents since they are 'hidden' by windows. To 'un-hide' the files and folders, you should:
1. Enable the options 'Display the contents of system folders' and 'Show hidden files and folders' on the 'Options' menu on Windows Explorer.
2. Perform a 'Search' to find the file "folders.dbx".
3. Once you get the list of seach results, right click on the 'folders.dbx' file that belongs to the Identity you want to import the mail from (check the dir root), and click on 'Open containing folder'.
4. A new explorer window pops up, but this time, showing all contents of the "*\Identities\{user-account-code}" folder. From this window, COPY the whole "Microsoft" folder to a known location. This should 'UN-HIDE' your mail files.
5. Perform the import procedure again, but this time using your new location as the source, making sure that the folder selected is '*\Microsoft\Outlook Express\'.
good luck again.

Fill the user name instead of mine USER>> copy it >> open my computers on the slaved hdd and paste that into the browser press go and it will open to identities on that slaved hdd.
C:\Documents and Settings\User\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities

The first folder Identities> see a very long number similar to ths> {CAS5CAA7-6789-B1234-3456789}
open that and and you will see "Microsoft"
open that> "Outlook express"
Here you will now see all your emails looks like>>
A snap for you of mine, log onto using your EE pasword and user name download or save the image.

Copy all of these or import directly to the current Outlook Express


I apreciate the reply however without starting it, it seems very complicated to me...in that I can see what you are saying but i do not know how to preform these tasks,,
for example..i have no idea where I would find "folder identities"...and on...
let me just run by where I stand as of now....first the harddrive on the second notebook is full so i
have to get an external harddrive to get more space ...
i did unhide files on the bad harddrive and put .dbx files in a separate folder...but when i go to Outlook on the working laptop.. and start to import...None of the file options
 works for me...I need an easy sequential explanation on how to import from outlook...(or am I supposed to import to Outlook Exress first?)
Thanks Deek


Are you using Outlook or Outlook Express? and what version? We may have some confusion as to what you are using (at least I do). Outlook Express and Outlook both have completely different procedures on importing files. Merete has demonstrated how this is done in Outlook Express, the post I left above is for Outlook (2000/XP).

If we know exactly what version of Outlook/Outlook Express you are using I'm sure we can walk you through the procedure step by step.


yes agree, btw I dont use Outlook so cannot provide a snapshot there, did you look at my snapshot for the dbx files so you can see what they look like, is this what you see?

 I get the impression your using Outlook express, the guides I have provided cannot be made any clearer and are very simple but are for Outlook Express.
Outlook is similar but uses PST, if you found DBX then are you using Outlook epxress.
If you are using Outlook, this is in office, it is also an email client, if the emails on the old hdd is from Outlook then you will have to use your Outlook, if it has never been used on your computer when you open it you may have to setup your email  account again first.

If you would rather " watch an instructional video,"
this one is for Outlook ( movie) press play at the bottom once it has loaded click on any part of Outlook you wish to see illistrated.

This one is for Outlook Express (movie)

Firstly, move the pst file from that location to another.
then remove the read-only attribute.
 Thirdly, open Outlook and go to File-Open-Outlook data file and navigate to where you put the file/s

To import a .pst file into Outlook, follow these steps:
1. On the File menu, click Import And Export.
2. Click Import from another program or file, and then click Next.
3. In Select the file type to import from, click Personal Folder File (.pst), and then click Next.
4. In File to Import, click Browse to locate the .pst file that you want to import, and then click Next. If you know the path, type it in the box.
5. In Select the folder to import from, click the folder that contains the data that you want to import.

If the folder contains subfolders, and you want to include this data in the import process, click to select the Include Subfolders check box. If the destination for importing is the currently selected folder, click Import items into the current folder. Otherwise, click Import items into the same folder. This creates matching items in the destination folder that you select.



Hello..This is where I stand now....I read everything above and really don't know where to continue...I have connected the hard drive from the computer that will not boot...in that hardrive I did a search and created a folder of .dbx files....I use Outlook (must be new version since the computer is only 3 months old).TThis is where I am trying to retieve my emails..

In this second computer there is both Outlook Office 2003 and Outlook Express 6. To which one do I Import the dbx. files?
I have tried both with no success. I really need to be walked through this one step at a time with detail...
I don't understand that the files are .dbx and Outklook express needs .pst
Please help..can I call you?
Thanks Deek


Hello Merete and quidway...

The more I work on trying to retrieve my outlook e-mails the more confusing it gets.. I am now thinking that DBX-Files are for Outlook express and not the ones I need...?... I would like to start over and tell you exactly what I need... my original notebook will not boot up ... I have taken this hard drive out and it is connected to the second notebook and I can read the hard drive of the original notebook... on this original notebook I was using Outlook (I am sure the newest version since it is only three months old).. you must know that I cannot open Outlook from the original computer even though I do have the running hard drive.
On the second computer, I have Outlook 2003 and Outlook Express 6 already installed with old e-mails and I can easily open these programs .  I need to go to the original hard drive find my e-mails for Outlook and import them to this second notebook.  I need step-by-step and easily followed directions..... I think you need to provide two things one obviously is the answer to the problem and the second is to communicate in a way that I can understand, if not, this will do me no good.  I wouldn't think I'm not the first person that had to do this... why Windows makes it so difficult is beyond me..?
thanks Deek


TaIts really not that hard Deek,maybe your just missing one step, or dont fully knwo what you are looking for yet.
After this you can show others how to   :)
You may have to keep in mind the possibility if the old PST files were damaged or corrupted on the old Laptop hdd this could prove a problem but Outlook has a reapir function.
What was the default email handler on the slaved hdd?
Only way to know is to either ask the owner if he was using Outlook from office.
or Outlook express.
Confirm this for your own peace of mind.

Either way you will not be able to open these email clients on the slaved hdd.
You can only open the email client on your current working Laptop.

I am now thinking that DBX-Files are for Outlook express and not the ones I need...<<<okay then you need to search the old Laptop hdd for .PST these belong to Outlook.

So on this working Laptop open my computer then tools folder options View- look down to Hidden Files  and Folders put a Tick in the SHOw hidden files and folders.
UNTICK hide extensions for known file types
UNTICK hide operating system files.
okay close that.
Now go to seach assistant at start> in the All files and folders-all or part of teh file name type in >> .PST
then below the panel LOOK-IN> point to the slave hdd use the down arrow to navigate to the slaved hdd letter. D:\ is it?
Then again below that in the more advanced optiuons>search system folders and hidden folders, tick all of them.
Then hit search.

once it finds the .pst files on the slaved hdd keep the search minimised on the toolbar.
make a note of where they are.
Now you have to open your current  email client>> OUTLOOK 2003 ..

Importing Messages and Address Books
1. In Outlook, select File / Import and Export.
2. Do one of the following:
• Click Import Internet Mail and Addresses to import from
Outlook Express, Eudora, or Netscape Mail.
• Click Import from another program or file to import from a
text file or .pst file.
3. Click the Next button.
4. Follow the directions provided by the import wizard to import
your messages and/or address books. The specific steps will
vary depending on the specific email application or file type
you selected.
5. Click the Finish button.
Importing from an older Outlook to New 2003
Start Outlook 2003

From the File menu, select the Data File Management option and click Add
Select the Outlook 97-2002 Personal Folders File (PST)
Click OK
Click OK to accept the default name and then click OK again. This step will create a compatible .PST file in Outlook 2003.
Click Close.
Open the Folder List to view the new .PST file.
Drag the contents from the existing Outlook 2003 .PST file into the compatible .PST file.
Ensure you note where the compatible .PST file is stored. When Outlook XP has been re-installed you will need to import this file to retrieve your Outlook data. The key to this procedure is to have a working copy of Outlook 2003, without Outlook 2003 you will be out of luck.
This illistrated guide is for exporting but just look at the opposite for importing in these diagrams.
I could not find an actual guide illistreated fior Outlook.

Office online
Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
Outlook Express>> .dbx
OUTLOOK 2003 from Office>>pst

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