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As you may have discovered, the problem with backing up Outlook Express with Syncback(free) is that some of your most important customization information like ‘Email Rules’ are only stored in the windows registry. If you want to back up your ‘Email Rules’ then you must do a registry export using ‘regedit’. Luckily, however, it is not necessary to run ‘regedit’ from the Windows start…run every time, because you can run the ‘regedit’ program with command line switches right from within the ‘Programs’ tab of Syncback(free)! This trick works with both Windows XP and Vista and you can use it to set up a one button backup of any part of your registry using Syncback.

The ‘regedit’ will be run within Syncback as a command line program with ‘switches’. Only a few command line switches are provided with ‘regedit’, and luckily the nondestructive export switch is one of them. Your command as used inside of the ‘Run Before Profile’ field of the ‘Programs’ tab within Syncback will look something like this:

regedit /e “C:Email BackupEmail RulesemailRules.reg.txt” “HKEY_CURRENT_USERIdentities{B9CC9534-84C0-4D21-A249-6998EAAF23F3}SoftwareMicrosoftOutlook Express5.0RulesMail”

That command calls the regedit program and passes it the /e switch, which is the nondestructive export switch. It also passes two parameters, the first of which is the path/name of the file to be exported to, and the second is the group registry key that will be exported from. The group key specified and everything under it will be exported. I like to export to file types with the extension ‘.reg.txt’. If I need to restore the file, I would change the extension to just ‘.reg’. Double clicking on the file would then restore (merge) it into the registry, restoring your email rules.

So how do you get the registry group key value to use in the command above? The easiest way is to run regedit from start…run to bring up the actual regedit program. You would then navigate to the proper sub key within regedit, right click on it and choose ‘Copy Key Name’ to copy the key name to your clipboard.

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To navigate to the proper sub key, open the ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER’ folder, and then the ‘Identities’ folder. You should then see one or more folder names made out of a long string of all random hex characters (a-f and 0-9). If you have more than one of these random folder names, then you will have to determine which one is the one that goes with the instance of Outlook Express that you want to backup before you proceed. If you only have one of these folders, then that is it. So open the relevant funny characters folder, and then the ‘Software’ folder, and then the ‘Microsoft’ folder, and then the ‘Outlook Express’ folder.

Almost done! Now, under the ‘Outlook Express’ folder there should be a folder with a name like ‘5.0’ that denotes your email program version so open that. Under that open the ‘Rules’ folder and look for a ‘Mail’ folder. Right click on the ‘Mail’ folder and then choose to ‘Copy Key Name’ to copy the entire long registry key name we just arrived at to your clipboard.

I would suggest that you create the above regedit command by building it in notepad first to make sure it is letter perfect. You generally want to use the double quotes around the path/file name and the export group key name otherwise spaces within the items will cause an error. There should be no carriage returns within the statement, any appearance of that above is caused by automatic wrapping on this web page. You can test the command before putting it into Syncback by putting it into a file with a ‘.bat’ extension and then running that and checking that the export file specified was created properly. Under Windows Vista you may have to right click the bat file and choose to ‘Run as administrator’ to get it to run.

After you have created your regedit export command just copy/paste it from notepad into the ‘Run Before Profile’ field under the ‘Programs’ tab of Syncback(free). Right under that field, select the: ‘Wait until the program has finished before running profile’ option and select the: ‘wait for a maximum of’ option with a value of maybe 15 seconds. Also select the: ‘Abort the profile if the program fails’ option. Also, even though you are using regedit within Syncback to do an export, it still wants you to specify a source and a destination directory for the backup. For the source I specify ‘C:Email BackupEmail Rules’ which is where the registry export was done to. For the destination I specify “J:Email BackupEmail Rules” which is an external drive.

That is all you have to do and you can save your Syncback profile now. By just running that Syncback profile from now on you will cause a registry export to take place and that file to be backed up to external media. Sweet!

Now for the explanation of how to restore your email rules if you have a computer malfunction. If you had to reinstall your operating system or Outlook Express then you may or may not be able to just run the exported file to restore the email rules. That’s because the identity # used by Outlook Express in the registry may have changed. Just to be sure, you will have to check that it has not changed.

To get the new identity # now being used by Outlook Express, open regedit from start…run then navigate to ‘Identities’ under ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER’ and open that up. Now open up the ‘.reg.txt’ file you exported to and compare the identity # shown in there to the one shown in the registry. If they are the same then you are in luck, all you have to do to restore your email rules is to change the extension on your exported file from ‘.reg.txt’ to ‘.reg’ and double click on the file to run the restore(merge). To run it under Vista you may have to right click on the file and select ‘Run as Administrator’.

If the new identity # that is being used by Outlook Express is different, then you will need to do a simple Find/Replace operation on the exported file. First use the ‘Copy Key Name’ right click function within regedit to copy the identity # key name to the clip board. Next open your registry exported file in a text editor and select Edit/Replace to open the Replace dialog box. Paste the identity # key name from your clipboard into the ‘Replace with:’ field of the Replace dialog box. Now click within the file and select the identity # key name as printed in the file and copy that to your clipboard. Finally, paste that into the ‘Find what:’ field of your Replace dialog box.

Now at this point take some time to make sure that the ‘Find what:’ field and the ‘Replace with:’ field of the Replace dialog box have 2 strings that are exactly the same except for the actual identity #’s. They should have the same higher key, ‘HKEY_CURRENT_USER’, and they should both have the {} characters around them. Any other special characters like ‘/’ should also be mirrored. Also make sure there are no extraneous spaces before or after either of the strings. If you are all OK on that then click your cursor at the beginning of the file and select ‘Replace all’ in your Replace dialog box. If everything appears to have gone correctly, then save the altered file as a file with the extension ‘.reg’ and then just double click on that to restore your email rules.

This Syncback(free) tip works with both Microsoft XP and Vista and you can use it to back up any part of your windows registry!


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