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Easy and Simple Way to Convert PST to WAB

convert pst to wab

Microsoft Outlook stores contact information in multiple different formats including PST and CSV. Many users still use the free email client provided by Microsoft ie. Outlook Express. This enables many users to open and read their workplace emails and contacts from Outlook Mail to Outlook Express. This post describes all the steps and procedures needed to extract contacts from an Outlook data file(.pst). It then converts it to format compatible with OE. Read this post to find out ways to convert PST to WAB or the Windows Address Book in Outlook Express.

Outlook Data File(.pst)

It is a personal storage file that stores complete mailbox database in a single file. It can store emails, contacts, notes, journal, tasks and other data items. A conversion from PST to WAB is required to read Outlook contacts in OE. It can be created manually to backup mailbox data. It is stored locally on a user’s PC. It is proprietary to Outlook and can be read by no other email client.

Windows Address Book

Windows Address Book is a contacts storage file format for Outlook Express. For those trying to read WAB contacts, need to migrate Outlook contacts to Outlook Express. In Vista, WAB has been replaced by Windows Contacts. It is an application for storing and editing contacts. It is stored locally on a local machine and uses Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP).

Methods to Convert PST to WAB Contacts

Following are the steps needed to extract Outlook contacts to WAB file a Windows Address Book for OE:

Solution#1 Manual Approach

Step 1: Import old PST to Outlook

Skip this step if moving Outlook contacts to Outlook Express directly.

  • First, open Outlook 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016.
  • Then, go to File>>Open and Export>>Import/Export in Outlook 2013 and 2016.
  • In Outlook 2010, go to File>>Open>>Import.
  • From the Import and Export Wizard, select Import from another program file>>Next.
  • From Import a File dialogue box, Outlook data file(.pst)>>Next.
  • Then, Browse to the old .pst file and click Next.
  • If asked to set password click Cancel.

Step 2: Export PST Contacts to CSV

  • Again, open the Import and Export Wizard.
  • This time select Export to a File and click Next.
  • Then, select Comma Separated Values(CSV) and click Next.
  • Next, select the Outlook Contacts folder and click Next.
  • Finally, Browse to the folder location where the Contacts CSV will be saved.
  • And, click Next and then Finish.

Step 3: Import CSV Contacts to Outlook Express

  • First, open Outlook Express on the Windows PC.
  • Then, go to File>>Import>>Other Address Book.
  • Next, Browse to the folder location where the Outlook CSV is saved.
  • Then, click Open to convert PST to WAB contacts.

Limitations of Manual Solutions

  • Time-Consuming: The manual solution can be implemented for limited contacts. It may take a lot of time to transfer more than 30,000 contacts.
  • Technical Expertise Required: It is a huge risk to transfer Outlook contacts to Outlook Express. It must be undertaken under supervision or with a complete understanding of the migration process.
  • Lengthy Process: It is a long and confusing process for a home user or a non-technical person.

Solution#2 Use an Automated Solution

The manual solution is a great technical method to export PST contacts. But some organizations look for a more professional solution to move contacts between Microsoft Outlook and OE. They look for third-party software like the vCard Export Tool. It is a very user-friendly tool that can convert PST to WAB contacts. It can even fix any minor corruption in an Outlook data file(.pst). It recovers any recently missing or lost contacts information. It can move only contacts from default MS Outlook profile address book. The tool require Outlook Express installation on the migration machine.


Microsoft has many different email clients. Some of them have become obsolete while others have upgraded technology. Many users still use the old, free Outlook Express on their Windows PC. They look for an apt solution to extract contacts from an old Outlook .pst file. They convert PST to WAB to extract contacts from a workplace Outlook account. One simple, manual solution has been discussed in the post. There is also an effective, third-party software mentioned to make the task easier and direct.

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