Importing from Outlook Express, Windows Mail or Windows Live Mail on Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10

I’ve just switched to Windows 10 and found that it no longer ships with a mail client as Outlook Express in Windows XP, Windows Mail in Windows Vista, nor can I download and install Windows Live Mail anymore. My version of Office does contain Outlook and I now want to use that.

How do I get all my original emails into Outlook?

Windows Live Mail buttonThis indeed cannot be done in a 1-step process as Outlook cannot directly import from an Outlook Express or Windows (Live) Mail message store.

However, there are 3 options to still get your mail imported into Outlook.

Option 1: Export to Outlook on your old computer

Export buttonYour first option involves installing Outlook on the old computer (if it isn’t installed already). There is no need to activate it but just to be safe, you can also install a trial version.

Once you’ve installed it, open Outlook at least once. Optionally, you can add an account but since you are not actually going to use Outlook on your old computer, it might be better to start Outlook without adding an account.

After that, you can use the Export command from within Outlook Express or Windows (Live) Mail to get your messages into Outlook. From there, you can backup your pst-file on the old computer and restore it on the new computer.

Use the export option within Outlook Express or Windows (Live) Mail to export your emails to Outlook.
Use the export option within Outlook Express or Windows (Live) Mail to export your emails to Outlook.

Note: Make sure you have the 32-bit version of Outlook installed. Exporting to the 64-bit version isn’t supported. When you do want to use the 64-bit version, you can remove the 32-bit version after the Export has completed and then install the 64-bit version. It will automatically pick up your settings from your 32-bit installation without any data loss.

Option 2: Migrate Outlook Express dbx-files via eM Client  on your new computer

eM Client buttonIf all you have is the message store from Outlook Express, then you can install the free eM Client to import the dbx-files from Outlook Express.

Once you’ve done that, you can use the Export option within eM Client to export the emails to individual eml-files. You can choose to export your entire mailbox at once and keep the folder structure.

After that, you can use one of methods from Option 3 to import the eml-files into Outlook.

Option 3: Import eml-files from Windows (Live) Mail or eM Client on your new computer

Import EML buttonIf all you have is the data store from Windows (Live) Mail or the export from eM Client, then you can use the following methods to import them into Outlook;

  • Use a script to import eml-files into Outlook.
  • Use a 3rd party tool to import the eml-files. The following are trustworthy EML import tools which I’ve used myself;
    • Import EML to Outlook
      Free for non-commercial use. It does not work on Domain joined computers.
    • ReliefJet Essentials
      Commercial version of tool listed above which also works in Domain environment. Additionally, it offers many other useful Outlook tweaks and features.

Note: For a full step-by-step guide to migrate your mail, calendar and contacts see: Migrate from Outlook Express or Windows (Live) Mail to Outlook.