Aha! I had to search to see where the .dbx files were being stored- I thought they must have been lost as there were none in the Outlook Express folder in the backed up User folder.
Another site answer said they were in applications but I still couldn't find them based on the directions given, so I searched the whole computer for .dbx files and found a remote section containing all the files.
I then went to windows mail, pressed alt to give me the drop down menu headings, and followed the directions in file... import... etc. I had the right folder to select and all emails were successfully imported.
I was previously trying to import to outlook but it could not find any email files to import. I didn't try it again once I found the files, I used the windows mail so cannot tell you if it would work into outlook (though not sure why it wouldn't).
Thanks for reading, hope this helps someone else sometime.