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OE password protected identities

Where are Outlook Express identity passwords stored?

You can protect your Outlook Express identity with a password when creating a new identity, or set a password on the existing identity.
  • A password can be managed in the ''File" -- "Identities" -- "Manage Identities". In there, you can select an identity and click "Properties" to modify it.
  • The identity password is only used to log into appropriate Outlook Express identity and gain access to the mail folders from inside the Outlook Express mail program. This password doesn't protect your message database files from viewing outside the Outlook Express mail client.

Outlook Express identity passwords are encrypted and stored in the Windows Protected Storage, backed up by the registry under

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Protected Storage System Provider

Note: this section of the registry is protected by the built in permissions mechanism.

Have forgotten your Outlook Express password?

The identity password merely controls access to Outlook Express mail program and it doesn't protect message database files. Thus, if you have lost or forgotten your Outlook Express identity  password, and all you need is just your emails, there is a simple but slightly dull way to restore email messages in Outlook Express without undertaking password recovery.

In short, you need to create another identity and copy message database files from original (password protected) identity to the newly created one. Keep in mind, however, you cannot recover e-mail settings and saved mail server passwords by just copying the message database files.

Alternatively, you can use a password recovery program. In that case we suggest you use "OE Accounts Password Recovery" by ASAP Solutions (Download an evaluation version, Purchase (19.00 USD), their F.A.Q.)

How to copy message database files from a password protected identity to another one

Outlook Express stores email data in .DBX files; therefore you need to locate .DBX files from a newly created identity and replace them by the files from the identity you want to get messages from. DBX files are located in the

%USERPROFILE%\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{Identity-GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express\

How to find DBX files?

Paths for the different identities are the same up to the "Identities" folder; then to locate message database files for a specific identity you should select appropriate {Identity-GUID} folder. Since {Identity-GUID} folder name has no connection with a corresponding identity name (doesn't contain any hint of a corresponding identity name), the task of matching those names is non-trivial.

  • A little trick is to check creation date for different {Identity-GUID} folders; clearly, the later creation date, the newer identity.
  • Check size of DBX files from different identities. If your password protected identity is not an empty one (have messages), corresponding DBX files are large in size; whereas DBX files of a newly created identity are small (estimate the size of standard folders such as "Inbox.dbx", "Sent.dbx" rather than "Folders.dbx" or "Offline.dbx").

Once you have located the appropriate DBX files, before attempting any copying procedures backup email data. We suggest you just backup all the contents of the "Identities" folder in the path mentioned above.

The last thing to do is just to copy .DBX files from the password protected identity to the newly created one, then start Outlook Express using the newly created identity; email messages from the password protected identity will be in the appropriate folders of this new identity. If you need to import your contacts to this identity, please refer here.

Retrieving saved passwords

Various email settings such as account names, email server logins and passwords, and the like are not stored in DBX files; therefore, based on email data containing in DBX files, you couldn't retrieve e-mail account passwords. In order that a new identity to be capable of functioning as a password protected one you should restore all the passwords and email addresses for incoming and outgoing servers, reestablish rules and other settings for a new identity.

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