I don't have any suggestions for you about getting your email back. I've had to reload everything twice in recent months and lost the entire contents of OE in the process. You might try loading Gmail, which is way better, has more memory and stores your stuff on their servers so nothing is lost. You have to be invited, however; let me know if you'd like me to put in a word, all I need is your addy. I still use Outlook Express, in tandem with Gmail, because I cant be bothered to notify the bank, etc.
My techie downloaded Firefox for me the last time we had to reload Windows (XP) and I highly recommend it. Don't mess with the Vista, just download Firefox and use it instead, at least until you've gotten Vista sorted out. On my system, Firefox is faster and has fewer glitches (freezes, etc.).