Back Up Your Email Files

Most people have a pretty good understanding about most of their data files, and thus understand what's important to back up. The big report you're working on? No problem. Just make sure that .doc file is burned to CD at the end of every day.

But what about the 137 emails you received about that report? What if you lost all of those emails? Better back up those up as well. But how? For many, email backup goes overlooked in a backup routine.

Good news, though: it's easy to backup email information, even though the files used by email programs remain something of an enigma. It's understandable: with a .doc file, the file that needs backing up is tangible. Double-click the file, and there's all the work you need to archive. But with email files, it's not as straightforward. For starters, most people don't know what or where their email data file is, and double-clicking it won't do you a bit of good and in fact should be avoided (see sidebar).

What's more, Outlook Express and Outlook use radically different methods for storing email data. OE stores each folderand all email files that folder containsin a single file with a .dbx file extension. It gives the files the same name as the folder. For example, if you name an OE folder "Prentice Hall," OE creates a corresponding OE file called "Prentice Hall.dbx." OE keeps all .dbx files a single location called the Store Folder, which is located deep within the Documents and Settings folder hierarchy.

Look, Don't Touch

Oh, and the .dbx storage location is a hidden folder by default, an indication that XP doesn't want users finding and sifting through this folder in Windows Explorer. XP wants Outlook Express to read the .dbx files, not you. Double-clicking the .dbx file will just display a bunch of gibberish. Outlook Express knows how to take the gibberish and produce your emails. If you change this file by even a single character, you can cause the entire .dbx file to be corrupted (but, hey, at least you'll know how to recover after reading this chunk).

Still curious about where your OE files are stored? You have to be because there's no simple backup routine built into Outlook Express. You have to backup the file manually for each folder you want to save.

Here's how to locate your Outlook Express mail files:


Select the email folder you want to back up.


Click File | Folder, and then choose Compact to reduce the size of the file.


Choose File | Properties to open the Properties dialog box (you can right-click and choose Properties as well).


The file location is listed on the General tab.

Figure 12-9. Locating OE mail.

To save your Inbox, for example, you can copy the Inbox.dbx file using your backup method of choice. For example, you could use the backup utility described in Chapter 14, "Common ProblemsEasy Fixes."

Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
Spring Into Windows XP Service Pack 2
ISBN: 013167983X
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 275
Authors: Brian Culp © 2008-2017.
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