Question re deleting email .dbx files

  Nosmas 10:26 08 May 2004

System W98, IE6.0 SP1 and OE 6.0

I decided to have a clear-out of my unwanted emails. All emails when deleted were transferred to the Deleted Items folder which in due course I emptied so the emails are now permanently deleted.

However I also deleted a number of the (OE)folders that had held those emails. Initially the folder is moved to become a sub-folder of the Deleted Items folder, but right clicking and selecting 'Delete' brings up a message asking if the folder is to be permanently deleted and warning that it can't be reversed. If Ok'd the folder is then deleted.

Having done a 'Find' for '*,dbx' I find that most of the dbx folder names appear as files in TWO folders - C:\Outlook Express and C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express, but ALL the folders I deleted are still shown in the C:\OE folder and THREE of them also in the C:\Windows folder.

There are also FIVE folders (containing emails) that show on the OE 'tree' and appear in the C:\Windows folder BUT NOT in the C:\OE folder.

I am not sure why the dbx folder names appear in two folders - are they duplicates? Also I am puzzled re the discrepancies i.e. why previously deleted folders should still appear at all, and why some current dbx folders only show in one of the folders. Which of the C:\OE or C:\Windows should I use if I want to save my emails before doing something with my HDD?

Any help gratefully appreciated.

  Nosmas 12:41 08 May 2004

Any ideas please?

  Nosmas 13:45 08 May 2004

Where are all the experts today?

Just tried an experiment. Created new email folder called 'Test', ran Find '*.dbx' and Test only appeared in folder C:\Windows (with size 75KB) and NOT in C:\OE. Copied a message of size 2KB into Test and re-ran Find. Only change was that Test was now shown as 139KB.

Deleted the copy message, re-ran Find and Test still shown as 139KB. Deleted message in Test and then Test itself. Re-ran Find and Test still shows in C:\Windows folder as size 139KB. How come if it is supposed to have been permanently deleted?

  Nosmas 18:39 08 May 2004

Bump in the hope that someone on the evening shift can help - PLEASE!

  Nosmas 10:47 09 May 2004

Lets try again on Sunday morning. Anyone at home?

Having thought more about the details I described above, I am wondering if this has anything to do with upgrading from IE (& OE) V5.0 to V6.0. I think I did this around last June, and I have noticed that most of the dbx files in C:\Outlook Express are shown as last modified on 08/06/03 whereas those in C:\Windows\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook Express have more recent dates. Does V6.0 store messages in a different location to V5.0? And if so does it mean that SOME of my messages are in EACH of the above locations? If so presumably I need to save files from BOTH locations? Is there a means of combining the messages in ONE location?

Ultimately I am looking to do a clean install of XP which will include IE and OE and want to bring existing retained messages into the new system.

  SEASHANTY 11:22 09 May 2004

Here use Mozilla to collect my email from NTL server.
Do not use OE but flagging this to my postings for info.

  Nosmas 13:33 09 May 2004

Bump! WHERE ARE all the experts? Please can someone post some advice?

  temp003 15:02 09 May 2004

The OE6 store folder is likely the C:\WINDOWS\...\Outlook Express folder, where all your current OE folders and emails are stored.

In OE, click Tools, Options, Maintenance tab, click Store Folder. It will show you what your correct store folder should be.

I don't know how the C:\OE folder came about, but maybe you did a backup of your old emails a while ago and have forgotten about it?

If you're satisifed that the emails you need to keep are all shown in OE, close OE, then just make a copy of all the files in the C:\WINDOWS\...\Outlook Express folder (if that is your current OE6 store folder) to somewhere else as a backup first.

You can delete the C:\OE folder.

If you like, you can import the emails from C:\OE into Outlook Express (combining the old with the new), but you're likely to get a lot of old messages you don't want.

If you want to look at what emails they are in the C:\OE folder without mixing them with the new, close OE, then remove the current .dbx files from the current store folder (after backing them up first), and then copy the .dbx files from the C:\OE folder to the current store folder. Start OE, and you'll see what messages there are. To undo this, do the reverse.

Please make sure you back up all your .dbx files first from your current store folder before you try anything above.

As to size of .dbx files, I think the file size doesn't necessarily change immediately, after deleting emails. OE will compact the files from time to time.

  temp003 15:04 09 May 2004

You can compact your OE folders manually. click here and look at the section Compact Your OE Folders. Follow the instructions closely.

  Nosmas 00:08 10 May 2004

Sorry for the delay in replying, but thank you for your post - I haven't previously waited so long for anyone to respond to problems I have posted. Thought I was never going to get a reply!

I had established from Tools > Options > Maintenance > Store Folder that my email files SHOULD be stored in C:\Windows\....\Outlook Express, but was puzzled by the same names appearing in C:\Outlook Express. Following your post I tried some experiments and moved the OE folder from C:\Windows...\OE and replaced it with the OE folder in C:\OE, then launched OE itself. Hey Presto! The messages I was then able to view were all dated June 2003 or earlier.

I don't recall making a backup before upgrading to V6.0, but it was nearly a year ago. The other possibility is that it was done by the program I downloaded to perform the upgrade.

The link you gave was useful. I tried doing a manual 'compact', but each time I tried compacting a single file I got the message that it was being used by OE itself or another program and I couldn't compact the file - even though I had stopped all other programs by ending tasks via Ctrl - Alt - Del. Eventually I must have accidentally selected 'Compact all folder' because it ran through all my folders like a dose of salts. After that the OE program responded very much quicker.

So once again thanks for your help - problem solved and 'Green tick' applied.

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