Slartybart: Confirmative to your first statement
"using OE6 in a WXP VM(VMware) on Windows 7 and WM reinstated on Windows 7".
I am not speaking of saving an e-Mail to disk from OE6 *.dbx (database) in *.eml format now
as that will obviously use the date the file is saved to HDD as "modified date". Windows 7 changes the "modified date" of already existing *.eml files to the "current date" when using the search, browsing a folder or hovering over the file with the mouse.
Say you have a file mark.eml with a modified date 2001-10-26 on your HDD and you execute any of the functions mentioned above the Windows 7 OS will change the "modified date" to 2013-02-10.
The Windows 7 search with e-Mail filters, "type:eml" compound the issue, especially if you do the search from root e.g. D:\ as it will change all *.eml files "modified date" to the current date on that drive. Do not try this on files for which you need to maintain the date integrity, if you do not have a back up on a machine with an older OS (pre Vista).
The date issue is a very sticky one and has been around since WVista was put on the market. Microsoft is very much aware of it and has probably hoped that it would go away with users using new mail-clients and in line with their general thinking on upgrading and end of life policies. Of course the other thing is how many users really keep e-Mail files for years and how many check the date integrity of their files on HDD.
Nevertheless I am more than happy to help and expound this issue. I too will need some time to review my notes on the issue as it is a while since I last worked on it.
I have not come across a problem to go: "from OE .dbx format to .eml format and preserve the internal dates",
even with very old *.dbx files that I have used as backups, removed from OE6 Folder and Index and then opened them up again in OE6 at a much later stage by creating a *.dbx folder in OE6 with the same name as my backup, then copying an arbitrary mail to the new folder, closing OE6, overwriting the *.dbx with my backup and reopening OE6 to access e-Mails in the backup *.dbx. This method also works for WE and keeps the "live data" in the program down to a reasonable size especially if saving the "Deleted Items" *.dbx from time to time.
I also "really don't like using third party solutions unless there is no native Windows feature" or "Hack".
The issue at hand is that Windows 7 as OS is "mucking with file timestamps"
No I have no intentions of "migrate from OE to WM reinstated on Windows 7". As stated I only installed WM in the hope of resolving the "timestamps" issue on the Windows 7 box. I will use the OL on the WXP-WM to migrate from OE6 to OL03k and then use the *.pst file to migrate to the Windows 7 box, just as you suggested. This will only happen once I have figured out how to migrate my extensive *.wab Address Book to OL-Contacts without loosing the *.wab internal folder structure and found a resolution to the office printer driver
on Windows 7.
Back to the issue at hand: *.eml FileType arbitrary "timestamp" modification in Windows 7
I have found my notes, which are in a *.doc file with embedded local and INet links impossible to extract all to this post so I have uploaded it as an attachment. Take your time going through it and have fun.
References to machines mentioned in the file are:
"SERVER" = W2kSVR, ASUS P2B-DS, 1MB-RAM, 72GB-SCSI-HDDs (WinMirrors) C:\=OS and D:\=Data
"DUNE1" = W7Pro(64bit)-SP1, HP-ProBook-4520s, 4MB-RAM, 300GB-HDD C:\=OS and D:\=Data
"JUPITER" = VMware-Workstation(7.1.1 build-282343) WXP-Pro-SP3, 2MB-RAM, 40GB-VHDD C:\=OS (no Data Drive)