Computer Guide

Transferring mail to a new computer

by George Skarbek - 13th February 2007

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Q: I been using Outlook Express for the past 6 years and have changed to a new laptop. I want to save all my mail and contacts and copy to the new laptop.  I been told it can only go up to Outlook not Outlook Express and cannot put back to Outlook Express again. How come? And how can I do that. The old laptop only has CD burner and only can burn 750 MB CD. But the file should have more the 2-3GB. How can I pass to the new laptop?

There are two issues here, conversion of Outlook Express to Outlook mail and the actual transferring of mail and the address book.

Firstly, whoever informed you that you cannot have Outlook Express on the new laptop is wrong. With Windows XP Outlook Express comes as a standard installation, but Outlook is a part of Microsoft Office and must be purchased separately.

The easiest way to transfer large files is to use a low cost Ethernet cross-over cable and connect the computers together via a network, However, this requires some networking knowledge and may not be applicable for many users.

Unlike Outlook that stores everything in one large PST file, Outlook Express stores the main in separate files, one for each folder which makes copying via CD much easier. All Outlook Express mail is stored in DBX files. You have to search for *.DBX to find these as the location varies depending of what version of Windows you are using. In Windows XP these files are hidden and you must include hidden files in your search. It is possible that there may be more than one set of mail files so you must check on the dates to ensure that you copy the current mail.

First you should try to compact the folders. If you have not done this for some months you can significantly reduce the size of the DBX files. This is done from Outlook Express from File, Folder, Compact All Folders. If you have a single mailbox that is larger than the capacity of the CD then you have several options. One option is to use WinZip or a similar program to compress that file. Another option is to use a file splitting program such as File Splitter from: It will allow you to specify the size of the split files to whatever you like, and provides a simple means for their restoration.

You must copy all the DBX files onto the new computer and overwrite the existing DBX files so this step must be done before you have sent or received any real mail, only test mail as all existing mail in the Inbox, Sent Items etc will be overwritten after the copy. Finally you must remove the read-only attribute from these DBX file because when copying from a CD, the read-only flag is also copied.

To copy the address book, find and copy the .WAB file. In XP it is usually in C:\Documents and Settings\Your Name\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book folder.


DVD region problem

Q: I bought a Toshiba Satellite laptop and for a while was able to watch "foreign" DVDs, including home movies etc from overseas relatives. The laptop has now locked in to playing only Region 4 DVDs - whichever playing system I use. As I bought the laptop (rather than a PC) so that I could use it overseas and therefore have freedom to use local DVDs whatever the region I was in, can you please advise if there is a programme that I can use (I don't mind paying for the software) or a code that I can install to unlock the bar permanently?  I am anxious not to void any warranty, but feel that the laptop should have come with some "explicit" warning of this.

There is software for removing the region code in DVD players but I am not aware of how to unlock the existing laptop as this depends on the type of DVD drive installed. The manufacturer can do this but there will be a cost associated.

Fortunately there is another alternative and this is to use software to remove the region protection from the DVD. A search on Google for: remove dvd region   resulted in over six million hits showing a large range of both commercial and free software. They work by copying the DVD onto your hard disk and will remove the region restriction and you can watch the movie from the hard drive.

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