I have copied my Outlook emails from my office to a 2 GB thumb drive and then at home onto a formatted CD R/W. I couldn't copy to the formatted R/W CD at work with Vista (God I HATE that operating system). Now, these files show themselves with .MSG extension and my home PC (Windows XP Home Edition) and my Windows 7 laptop can't open them. To be sure I had these emails saved correctly on the thumb drive, I checked the thumb drive's contents at three other similarly set up (with Vista) computers at my workplace; they all read my thumb drive's Microsoft Outlook email files. What is going on and how do I get both my Windows 7 OS laptop and my tower with XP to read the CD or the thumb drive's files with the .MSG extensions? This is soooo frustrating!
Microsoft Outlook Files
Microsoft Outlook does use the MSG file extension to save email messages, so the display of messages that you are seeing with the MSG extension is correct. However, I'm not sure if you are accessing the files via the thumb drive or the CD. Since the thumb drive worked fine on other systems, I wonder if you can access the files from the thumb drive on your home systems?
Company Email Policies
Before we move forward, it's important to consider your company's email policy. It's quite possible that the company prohibits employees from copying computer files onto portable storage devices. If so, you may need to get permission from higher ups in order to copy your messages and access them from your personal computers. In addition, it's also possible that the IT department has encrypted the files. If so, company computers likely have the appropriate "keys" for decrypting the messages, which explains why the other work computers could open the files but not your home computers.
If the files are encrypted, then you'll be unable to open them without the appropriate permissions.
Opening MSG Files
Assuming that you have the company's permission to transfer the files to your personal computers and that the files are not encrypted, you will need Microsoft Outlook on your personal computers. Outlook Express and Microsoft Mail/Windows Live Mail will not work.
In addition, there could be compatibility issues between your version of Outlook and the version you use at work. For example, Outlook 97-2002 uses a different Personal Folders File format than Outlook 2003 and 2007. While these formats are related to Outlooks PST files, it's possible that the MSG files could be treated differently.
Also, your computers may need to be told to use Outlook to open the MSG file extension. If you do have Outlook installed, try right-clicking a MSG file and choosing Open With. From there, Click the Browse button and find Outlook. If that works, you'll want to check the box making it the new default for MSG files.
If your personal computers do not have Microsoft Outlook installed, MSG viewer programs are available. Do an Internet search for "MSG viewer" and you'll find a number of options. Choose a program from a trusted download provider such as CNET Downloads.