Lost Outlook Express E mails

  hallgreen 18:11 14 Sep 2008


Something strange has happened to my E mails. All the E mails in my sent file have disappeared as well as some of my sub folders (but not all!). The in box etc is still as before. I had the "we can compact space" message come up and I let it run as usual but it seems to have deleted loads of my E mails.

Can I get them back?


  BurrWalnut 18:32 14 Sep 2008

This may work if you have a corrupted mail box:
- Close Outlook Express. Using Windows Explorer, navigate to your store folder which, if you haven't moved it, is a hidden folder located at C:\Documents and Settings\{username}\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express. You may have to show 'hidden' files in Folder Options > View Tab to see it.
- Now right-click and Delete FOLDERS.DBX (the capitals are for clarity only). If you’re nervous about deleting files then click Rename and type FOLDERS.OLD. Now restart Outlook Express and a new folders.dbx file will be recreated automatically and hopefully your .dbx files will be restored to normal. If you cannot access it because it’s ‘read only’, right-click it > Properties and uncheck the Read attribute.

If the above doesn’t work and you still have the .bak version of the mail box you have lost, this may work:
- Close Outlook Express.
- Restore Sent Items.bak file from the Recycle Bin or if it’s located elsewhere, copy it to your store folder.
- Move the corresponding .dbx file elsewhere.
- Rename Sent Items.bak file to Sent items.dbx.
- Open Outlook Express and your mail boxes should be back to normal.

  hallgreen 18:53 14 Sep 2008

Many thanks for the comprehensive reply. I've tried it and I think it may be my lack of ability but I can't make it work. The files look as if they are there in the localsettings/application etc..... tree you gave as there are icons both dbx and the other code there and they show as having a certain number of Kb of data that would correspond to the size of the files.

is there a programme that can do whaat I'm trying (and failing!) to do manually


  BurrWalnut 19:06 14 Sep 2008

This is a simple move and rename operation.

Close Outlook Express, this is important.

If you have both Sent Items.dbx and Sent Items.bak in the store folder, you need to move the .dbx to a different location then rename the .bak to .dbx.

You may have to go to Folder Options > View Tab, scroll down and make sure 'Hide Known Extensions' is not ticked.

  hallgreen 19:24 14 Sep 2008

Very many thanks. That seems to have worked. It may be simple to you but I would have been lost without your help!

A couple of final things. Can I delete those dbx's I moved and if so why do the unaffected files also have dbx's in folder at the end of the tree you gave but haven't been affected and Why may it have happened. Is it some sort of virus?

I think i will also have to look at storing my E mails on a external hard drive as well. Jsut in case!

  BurrWalnut 19:33 14 Sep 2008

Well done!

It could have been caused by a virus or, more likely, corruption caused by the compaction.

Do this immediately:
1. Move the mail boxes to an ‘easier-to-get-at’ location, i.e. open My Computer and create a folder named, say, Mail Boxes. Go to Outlook Express > Tools > Options > Maintenance Tab and click on Store Folder and Browse/Change it to point to the new folder (C:\Mail Boxes). Close Outlook Express. The store location is now easier to navigate to and it is not hidden.

2. Navigate to C:\Mail Boxes and copy the whole folder elsewhere. Do this backup regularly and mail box corruption becomes less of a pain.

  brundle 19:34 14 Sep 2008

Or use Mailstore to keep them backed up; click here

  BurrWalnut 19:35 14 Sep 2008

In 1) above you may have to open/close Outlook Express twice for the store folder change to become operative.

  hallgreen 19:47 14 Sep 2008

Thanks again.

I've copied the C/Mail Box to the external hard drive which I will try and remember to do regularly. Pity you can't just copy OE to the hard drive as it is and then back if there are probs which would be easy for a computer numptee like me! But I can (I assume!) then use the backed up C/mail Box to get the data back if it all goes wrong again.

Many thanks for the help.

  BurrWalnut 19:57 14 Sep 2008

To restore the mail boxes, with OE closed of course, you would copy from Mail Boxes on drive X (external) to C:\Mail Boxes.

You really need another backup copy, say, on a memory card or CD. I have one folder named Saved Mail that anything important is dragged to. If I lose Inbox or Sent Items, it’s of no great importance.

Good luck.

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