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Outlook Express Address Book Location

Outlook Express contacts file and address book folder Unlike your email messages and account settings in DBX data files, Outlook Express stores your contacts into "WAB" address book files (the "WAB" acronym just stands for "Windows Address Book" :) The location of that contacts file depends, since it can be changed through the Windows registry; it also depends on whether or not you are using identities to sign in and sign out of Outlook Express. For security reasons, you'll only be able to see the address book files of people who have used Outlook Express while logged into Windows with the same username as the one you are using (this security feature prevents different people sharing the same physical computer from seeing each other's data!)

Tip: if you only want to find this save location to backup your address book, no need to go through that complicated route. Just check out our "Backup Outlook Express contacts" tutorial - it's built right into OE!

Address book's contacts "WAB" file location

The Windows registry editor (regedit.exe) Click on the Windows XP start menu and choose "Run"; type "regedit" (registry editor) in the text box and hit Enter. Windows uses the registry as a formatted listing of all the settings and preferences for your computer. Unless you know what you are doing (and even then), never change or delete any registry entry! A single mistake could completely corrupt the operating system. But don't worry: retrieving your address book location doesn't entail changing anything - only navigating to the proper "key" and checking its value.

Navigate to Outlook Express address book in regedit When regedit.exe opens, click on the plus sign (screenshot) or double-click on the label to expand an entry: to find out where your address book file is saved, go first to HKEY_CURRENT_USER:this is where Windows XP stores your profile information (changes based on who is logged on).

Keep going until you reach the final, "Wab File Name" key where OE keeps track of the folder path. Here is the full path through which you need to click before getting there:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > WAB > WAB4 > Wab File Name Tip: you can always tell where you are in the registry by looking at the status bar: Info

Outlook Express WAB file location in Windows registry

Get the registry entry for OE address book Double-click on the "Default" entry in the right pane.

When the "Edit String" dialog opens, hit Ctrl+C to copy the path of your address book, which is automatically selected. (You can also right-click on the selected text and choose "Copy".)

Hit Escape to dismiss that dialog: you can now close the registry editor.

Launch Windows Explorer: either press the Windows Key + E keyboard shortcut, or right-click on the start button and choose "Explore". When it opens, erase the current path in the address bar and paste the text you just copied: remove the part of the path that includes the ".wab" address book file name. Hit Enter to navigate to your address book location! (If you forgot to remove the file name, your actual address book will open - just close it and start over.)

OE contacts folder location in Windows XP

Tip: if you see an address book file whose name ends with a tilde ("~"), ignore it. That's just a temporary file Outlook Express creates when your address book program (wab.exe) is running. You can see one in the screenshot above: it has a weird system icon.

By default, your contacts and address book files should be saved inside the following folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\UserName\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book (where "UserName" is your actual Windows XP user account name!) Technically, you could change where Outlook Express stores your contacts by editing that key in the registry editor, but it could create problems, especially if you are using multiple identities.

Side info: if you are trying to find the email message files on your PC, check out our "Outlook Express File Location" tutorial.

Outlook Express Tutorial Meet Outlook Express Setting Up OE Setup an Email Account Setup Hotmail in OE Setup Yahoo! Mail in OE Setup AOL Mail in OE Change email password Send & receive emails Check for new emails Open emails in own window Create new email message Forward email messages Reply to emails + “Reply to All” Outlook Express Auto Reply Download an email message Create a copy of an email Show or hide the Outlook Bar Email folders & subfolders Create folders and subfolders Folder size and message count Rename a folder Delete a folder View folder properties Move a folder Open, show, or hide folders Hide or show email folders list Address Book & Contacts Add contacts from emails New Address Book contacts Create a contact group Duplicate a contact Print contact list Import contacts into OE Export OE contacts Create a contact folder Sort your contacts Search and find contacts Edit contacts information Delete contacts Email Signatures Using email signatures HTML-Formatted Signatures Email Signature Settings Advanced Features Create email rules Manual Read Receipts Automatic Read Receipts Incoming Read Receipts Spam and Junk Mail Block email senders Backup & Restore OE Backup your emails Quick email backup Backup your contacts Outlook Express file location OE Address Book location Configure OE settings Set Default Email Program Turn off new mail sound Change how often OE checks for new email messages Mark emails as Unread or Read Send emails in plain text Prevent OE from suggesting recipients' email addresses Prevent OE from adding contacts to address book Change default email font Customize the spell checker Automatically delete emails Outlook Express Download
Tutorial last updated on January 19, 2014
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