By default OE stores all your Contacts in a single Windows Address Book (WAB) file of type *.wab. The location of this file depends on which version of Windows you are running, whether Windows User Profiles are being used, as well as the upgrade path you have taken.
To determine the location of your OE WAB file, open the WAB in OE and click share the Contacts folder in Outlook and so no *.wab file is used). If you open the *.wab's folder in Windows Explorer, you will see not only the <username>.wab file but also an automatic backup copy named <username>.wa~ or <username>wab~. To find all WAB files and backups on your computer, just do a Windows search for *.wa?. To open a backup copy, simply rename the file and change the extension to wab.. If there is no path shown, that means you have set OE to
By default OE opens the WAB showing only the contents of the current Identity's folder. That may be adequate for very basic use, but after a short while you will almost certainly want to see the folder structure of the WAB which is visible only after you click. There you see the Shared Contacts folder, the only folder visible to all Identities. In normal use, folders belonging to other Identities are hidden from the current Identity. It is because of the Shared Contacts folder that all Identities share a common WAB file.
With the presence of hidden folders it sometimes happens that duplicate contacts end up being stored in the WAB. This is not really a serious problem, but it can be confusing to type in a name in a new message, only to be presented a dialogue asking to choose between 2 identical contacts. To view all contacts in all folders, regardless of which Identity is currently logged on, clickand type . If needed, click to see the folders. You can now find any duplicates and move them to the Shared Contacts folder, rather than in each Identity's folder.
The Windows Address Book is actually a separate program that is used by OE, usually found at C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\wab.exe. Few users discover that this program can be used outside of Outlook Express. Since the path to wab.exe is stored in the default Windows path, you can usually start WAB by clicking and typing to open the default OE WAB. But by adding the command line switch, you can see that WAB has possibilities beyond just the OE Address Book, namely standalone WABs that function outside of OE.
To open a standalone WAB, simply double-click a *.wab file. If you begin a new Mail Message from within a stand-alone WAB, it will use the email settings of the current Identity. If no Identity is logged on, an error message will appear saying that Outlook Express could not be started. Click and the Identity Logon will open. Select an Identity and the New Message will open. From there you have access to the normal New Message functions according to the settings for the current Identity. If you open the Address Book from this New Message by pressing , you will see only the WAB that you are using, not the default OE WAB.
There is one real annoyance in using a standalone WAB that often stops users from even considering their use. If you begin a new message in a standalone, you can't do anything else in the WAB until you either send the message or close it (you will be prompted to save it in the current Identity's Drafts folder). Luckily, there is a simple workaround. Just open another instance of the same WAB by double-clicking the *.wab file.
Not only can you open multiple instances of a single WAB, you can also open any number of standalone WABs. This can be especially useful for those who have enabled Windows User Profiles. Since each Profile has its own WAB, which is used by all Identities within that Profile, there can be no Shared Contacts amongst the Profiles. A standalone WAB can be stored in a common folder and thus can be used by all Identities under all User Profiles. A stand-alone might also be placed on a network drive so that all users could access the company Address Book (or several) while still maintaining a private WAB (or several). It is recommended that all contacts in a standalone WAB be placed in the Shared Contacts folder or its sub folders, and that users be instructed to clickwhen they use a WAB.
The default OE WAB is whatever *.wab file is entered in this registry key:
|------------------Wab File Name
You can modify the value to change the location to one of your choice, including a mapped network drive (see also, Move the WAB). However, because the OE WAB is so bound to the Identities registry key on the local computer, it is not recommended that you attempt to locate the WAB on a network drive. If a user starts OE and the mapped network drive is not available for any reason, OE will immediately revert to the default values and will re-write the default path to the WAB registry key.
While this is a non-destructive action, it is likely to happen sooner or later. A better option is to let each user have the OE WAB on a local disk and place a standalone WAB on the network drive.
If there is no path shown in the Address Book under *.wab file is being used. Sharing allows OE to display only the Contacts folder in the default *.pst in Outlook's default Profile. You can't access other Outlook folders, just the Contacts folder, and there is no support for using Shared Contacts amongst multiple OE Identities. To turn off sharing and revert to using a *.wab, click (which appears only in OE5/5.5 and only if Outlook98/2000 is installed and configured in Internet Mail Only mode). However, starting with OE6 and Outlook 2002 (Outlook XP) and Outlook 2003, sharing is no longer officially supported. If you install as an upgrade and sharing is already enabled, it will remain enabled after the upgrade (or at least, it should). Therefore the has been removed from OE6. In that case, you can still manually enable (or disable) sharing by editing this registry key after closing Outlook Express:, that means OE is sharing the Contacts folder in Outlook, and so no
Create a new *.wab, set to . To disable sharing, set its value to . The change will be reflected the next time you open OE.value named , or modify that value if it already exists. To enable sharing, so that OE no longer uses a