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Sunday, August 28, 2005
  online tips- Migrating e-mail addresses
Q: I maintain an AOL account simply because I distributed my AOL e-mail address to some vital personal and business contacts years ago, and I still get important mail there occasionally. I never use the AOL service for anything other than e-mail, however. How do you suggest to proceed? I can’t contact all of the people and institutions who have the AOL address because I don’t remember them all.

A: This is fairly common problem for people who have been working with e-mail for the past 10 years or so, whether they use AOL or another service.

First set up a new e-mail account. It’s worth taking some time to think about this new e-mail account, so that you don’t run into the same problem years down the line. If e-mail is critical to your life, you should probably take the trouble to set up an e-mail address that will not change, regardless of which Internet service provider you’re using.

That many mean setting up a personal domain or personalised e-mail address with a service such as (

With a personal domain, such as, you can create your own e-mail addresses and keep them for as long as you maintain the domain name. Domain name are inexpensive these days. You can set up a domain for the next 10 years, set up some e-mail addresses, and never have to worry about your e-mail address changing again.

During the migration, plan to keep your old e-mail account open for a few months. Send an e-mail change notification to everyone in your old e-mail account’s address book. Then, set up “auto-forwarding” on your old e-mail account so that any mail it receives is automatically forwarded to your new e-mail address.

Most e-mail services have some type of forwarding feature. If not, you’ll have to manually check the old e-mail address from time to time.

Now, whenever you receive a forwarded message in the new account, respond to the sender and ask that he or she update your e-mail account. Occasionally, you’ll receive an e-mail message from a business to which you cannot respond directly by e-mail. In this case, you’ll need to take whatever means necessary to contact the business so that your e-mail account is updated appropriately.

Recreate your old e-mail address book, and move any folders of stored mail from the old e-mail account to the new one. Specific directions for copying stored messages you should find with you old e-mail provider. In the case of AOL, you may not have many stored message. Early versions of AOL, limited the amount of spaces you could use to store message.

Q: How can I back up my Outlook Express address book? Over the years, I’ve accumulated thousands of e-mail addresses. If I lost them all, it would be a minor tragedy.

You’re not alone. Your e-mail address book represents hours of time spent entering e-mail addresses, at the least, at the least. Luckily, backing it up is fairly easy. First, exit Outlook Express. Then, decide where you would like to keep the backed up copy of the address book. Next, click the Windows Start button, and choose Search … For Files and Folders, of hold down the Windows key on your keyboard and tap the letter F. Doing so brings up the Search dialogue box.

In the search dialogue box, place your mouse cursor in the box labelled “All or part of the file name”, and type “.wab” without the quotation marks. Then click the Search button.

Let the search continue until it’s finished. Any files ending in “wab” will appear in the Search Results section of the Search dialogue box. Select all of the “wab” files (choose Edit … Select All), copy the files to the clipboard (Edit ... Copy), navigate to your backup drive or folder, and copy the files there (Edit … Paste).

To restore the backed up file, open Outlook Express, click the File menu, and select Import – Address Book.

Follow the on screen prompts to import the backed file that you created. - dpa

-migrating your e-mail-

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