Importing E-mail from Outlook Express

Topic T1126 Applies to All NEO products


We have seen that some users experience problems with the imported data in Outlook (OL) after completing the process of transferring e-mail message data from Outlook Express (OE) into Outlook. The problems are most often seen as incorrect, missing or misinterpreted dates on e-mail messages. The following is some information regarding OE to OL transfers.

Please also refer to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base and Assistance articles on transferring data between OE and OL.

Messages:Address Book entries:

In cases where the transfer yields problems, it appears that there are two problems with the Microsoft exporting/importing procedures for transferring OE data to OL:
  1. The import to OL results in received date problems.
  2. The export from OE results in lost 'reply to' addresses.
It seems that on occasion some users see that neither process works properly for all emails.

The import into Outlook: The problem arises on e-mail messages that did not originally pass through an SMTP server. This is normally those messages that are placed directly into the 'Sent Items' folder. The 'received date' on these messages gets set during the import procedure to the date that the transfer to OL takes place, instead of the 'received date' they originally had. This sometimes shows up as many imported messages with the current date in Outlook with the same messages that appear with a date of 'Today' in NEO.

The export from Outlook Express: The export process from OE avoids the date problem that results from the import to OL, as described above, but the export causes the loss of all SMTP header information. This is most commonly observed as a loss of the 'reply to' e-mail addresses associated with the affected messages.

Steps to rectify the problem if it occurs
  1. Here are some steps you can try to repair these problems:
  2. Try running a rule in Outlook Express to put all emails that are 'from you' into the Sent Items folder. This collects all the e-mails that will be affected by the missing date issue, having not gone through a server, into one folder.
  3. Then import into Outlook. This brings in all the emails properly, with the exception of the ones in the Sent Items folder, which will all have bad 'received' dates.
  4. Next, delete the Sent Items folder in Outlook.
  5. Go back to Outlook Express and Export just the Sent Items folder to Outlook. Now you have the right dates on the Sent Items, but they have lost their SMTP header information. In most cases this is not a critical problem, since you would not normally be replying to your messages that reside in your Sent Items folder.
  6. Finally, let Neo build it's catalog and all of the dates should appear correctly.

To our knowledge, from the discussion forums for Outlook, there seems to be a lack of understanding about what is going on here and that there's no clear realization of the mechanisms behind the errors. The fact that Sent Items don't go through an SMTP server means that their 'received dates' are generated internally by Outlook Express, rather than coming from an SMTP header. This results in the date problems once the messages arrive in Outlook for some users of NEO. It appears as though Outlook internally uses a different date from the message when this problem is encountered but NEO only accesses the received date through the Microsoft Automation interface.

Alternate Steps To Transfer Data From OE to OL

There are third-party software products that be purchased that will do the data transfer for you, without this sort of hassle. Perhaps they take care of these problems in an easier manner. Please refer to the Website

Last updated: 09 Feb 2005