ABF Outlook Express Backup
Backing up and restoring Outlook Express accounts and e-mail is done easily using the OE's export and import functions. Where programs like ABF come in handy is for backing up the program state, i.e., rules, blocked senders, look and feel, and other registry settings that Microsoft never implemented export/import functions for. This task is way beyond the knowledge of the average user and a complete pain even for those who know how to export and re-import registry entries.
One small problem with ABF is that the 30-day demo download backs up mail only, so there�s no way for an end user to test its effectiveness at backing up settings. A better approach for ABF might be to restore only one account, one rule, etc. Fortunately, as a member of the press I can get a serial number for free and tell you whether the program works or not. It does. ABF transferred all my OE settings from one XP machine to another without a hitch.
I have only two nits: ABF only overwrites data, which means it's all or nothing: No changes or overwriting your current mail, rules, etc. Also, if there�s no mail in the destination Outlook Express installation, the program doesn�t show you where Windows would normally create it. I actually advocate relocating Outlook Express data to a separate partition, so that's not a big deal for me. Create a dummy account first to avoid this problem.
ABF's tabbed interface is utilitarian in the very best meaning of the word; Simple in appearance, simple to understand, and most important--simple to use. It takes ten seconds to select which items you want to back up or restore. Now if only it were ten bucks cheaper, it would tempt any Outlook Express user.
--Jon L. Jacobi