Outlook Express hasn’t officially been around since Windows Vista was born but a lot of people are still using it on their ageing XP boxes. The problem comes when these boxes finally give up the ghost and have to get replaced by something running Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 which don’t support Outlook Express at all.
I had this exact scenario yesterday when setting up a new PC for a client. Their old one had died an honourable death but the hard drive still contained their files, including emails. It was when transferring these files across to the new system that I found out (by accident) that their emails were from Outlook Express and not Outlook as first thought. This was a problem.
If your old system is still running then you can install Outlook on it and import the emails very easily but when you only have the email store to work with the import doesn’t work as Outlook can’t read directly from an Outlook Express email store.
Another way is to download Windows Live Mail onto your new system as part of the Windows Live Essentials package but there is one catch. If your email provider (ie BT, Sky etc) happens to use imap instead of pop settings then you can’t import your Outlook Express emails into Windows Live Mail either as it doesn’t work. You guessed it my client uses Virgin who just happen to use imap so bugger!!
The solution I came up with to counter this was to install Mozilla Thunderbird which is an opensource email client which talks very happily with Outlook Express. All you need to do is copy your Outlook Express email store to your new PC (or laptop) and import it into Thunderbird. The import is very easy.
The best way though to overcome this problem is not to be on Outlook Express in the first place. Either download Windows Live Mail onto your XP system (if no imap settings) or better still if you must have a Windows email client install Outlook and import your emails straight across. Personally I like opensource software so I would go down the Thunderbird route but that is just my opinion.
At some point that ageing XP system is going to go to the big recycle bin in the sky so make sure that you are using the software you want to before then.
One final note, if you are still on XP please be aware that all security updates for it will cease on 8th April 2014 so it might be time to look for a new system anyway.
About the Author
Hi I’m Chris Wakefield the owner of ComTech IT Support. I provide Windows and Linux based IT Support, laptop repairs and computer repairs to both business and personal clients in Stirling, Falkirk and Perth.
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