Vista Mail vs. Outlook Express: Page 5

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At the point of a restore to a second machine or new profile, the user accounts had to be re-created first. This meant dealing with the backups of the Registry key, the importing of the Registry key, and the configuring of the profile prior to even touching mail database files. The second challenge is in the actual backup: If a user wanted to export or import his mail data he needed to be logged onto Outlook Express to run the utility in a neat and easy fashion. This was also true of managing the Address Book, which is a subset of the Windows Address book that held all contacts on the machine.

The Windows Mail design team moved the account data from the Registry into XML files that are associated with each Inbox in the Windows Mail folder. This means that to back up the totality of mail and profile information for a user, all you need to do is copy the Windows Mail folder under that user’s profile. If that folder is then copied to a new profile, all account and mail data is effectively moved and will come online when Windows Mail is launched.

There is one caveat to this new approach: Although it is more efficient to administer, it does require that Outlook Express users who had multiple accounts or “identities” converge their data into one user profile. Windows Mail does not support identities. Strangely, you are never informed of this when you configure multiple POP3 accounts within Windows Mail. In fact, there is a very deceptive menu item seemingly labeled just for the management of your identities, at File | Identities.

If you select this menu option, you will actually launch a wizard that both announces this change in identity support and offers to consolidate your “identities” into a single user profile (see Figure 8.3). Here you are given the opportunity to learn a bit about the change from Identities to Windows Profiles by clicking a built-in link to a Help and Support article. If you are upgrading from Outlook Express, this wizard will start automatically every time Windows Mail is launched until all Identities are imported, unless you choose the “Do not show this again” box.

The Identity Import Wizard

After clicking Next, you are brought to the import options page.

Import Path Choices

If you choose Import Identities, Windows Mail will search for and allow you to select the varied identities in your Windows profile. If you choose Import Identities from a different Windows account, Windows Mail will prompt you for credentials to access that other local profile.

Prompt for Logging into a Windows Profile

Obviously, this tool is viable only on machines where the other profiles are local. Typically this will be home-based machines and shared workstations in smaller offices.

Lastly, if you choose the Delete Identities option, you are presented with a list of accounts that Windows Mail already knows about and you can elect to remove them from Windows Mail.

Keep in mind that when you create accounts from scratch within Windows Mail they are already placed under the profile that was logged on at the time of creation, so there is no need to bring the accounts into any profile. Launching the tool will result in Windows Mail notifying you that it is fully informed and content with all the POP and IMAP accounts you have presently configured.

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