outlook express free up disk space message?

Richard Christensen
Richard Christensen used Ask the Experts™
Regularly I am getting the following message when using O.E. Express:
to free up disk space, O.E. Express can compact messages.  This may take up to a few minutes and then the options are OK or Cancel

I have looked in the deleted messages folder and there are 926 messages in that folder.  I might want to read some of those messages in the future so I do not want to delete them from my computer.   However, I also want to stop getting this reminder message.  Is there anything that I can do that will allow me to have access to these messages in case I want to refer to some of them in the future?  I know that I can do a backup but that will make it awkward to refer to these messages without doing a restore of the backup.  Thanks in advance for your help.
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Hi capreol,
Keep in mind that the point of the deleted items folder is to allow you to delete items, but still have a safety net in case  you delete something accidentally.  If you want to be able to read the messages later, then you don't really want to delete them.  If you want to keep the messages, I would suggest creating another folder and moving the items, or at least the items that you want to keep to the new folder and then empty (delete the contents of) the deleted items folder.

Hope this helps,
Richard ChristensenRetired computer technician


If I creat a new folder and transfer those messages to that folder and  if this new folder is within the O.E. Express program will the same thing happen again when that folder reaches an upper limit on storage capacity?  If that might happen where should I create the new folder?  Thanks,
This will explain why you should let outlook express compact messages

This error essentially has nothing to do with the size of Outlook Express
every 100 times it is opened it sets off a maintenance counter to compact folders, it does this because OE uses a database of sorts. If it does not do this eventually OE gets extremely slow and then one day corrupts losing or corrupting all of your emails.

You can manually run it so that you do not get the message but hitting cancel on it when it comes up will only make it keep comming up everytime you run it.

It is a good idea though to permanently delete all of the items in your deleted items folder and setup other folders for emails you want to keep once you have deleted all the emails and cleared the deleted folder in OE you would want to manually run the compacting as this will only improve performance of OE.


their is no way to actually turn this off it is set to happen every 100 times OE is run
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What i meant to say in my first line is, it is not actually telling you it is out of space.
this is how to manually compact folders.... the reason for doing this is so it does not happen at inopportune times such as middle of a lightning storm.

Click at the very top of your folder view list on the left (Where it says Local Folders). Choose File, Folders, and Compact All folders.

Compaction isn't, or at least shouldn't, delete any items, even if they are in the deleted items folder.But just to be safe, I would not recommend keeping old items in the deleted items folder.

Creating another folder and moving the items that you want to keep into it will allow you to safely delete the deleted items folder from time to time.

If you keep lots of email items, moving them out of the the Inbox will help with performance.  This is because in Outlook Express the different folders are actually seperate files on the hard drive.  Keeping the folders that you work in frequently lean and trim helps keep Outlook Express running smoothly and quickly.  As more items build up, more items have to be looked through whenever you switch from one email to another.

I don't think that the compaction prompt is really based on folder size, but on the number of times Outlook Express is opened and closed.  I think the number is 100 times, but I can't remember for sure.  The compaction process helps with a couple of things, but the primary thing it does it removes "whitespace" from the file.  Image a file like a paper notebook.  Some emails come in and get written to the notebook, let say 10 emails of about 1 meg each for a total of 10 meg.  You come along and read them, and while reading them you delete items 3, 4, and 7.  The data isn't actually deleted at this point.  The data is copied to the deleted items folder (which is actually a file on the hard disk), then the pointers (index if you prefer) that points to the data for those emails is removed or marked as deleted.  Since the data is still there then the file (that looks like a folder from within Outlook Express) is still about 10 meg in size.  In the paper notebook senario this would be like drawing a line through all of the "deleted" items.  You could still read what's there, because it is still, but it's not "officially" there.  Compaction comes along and reads the file and rewrites the items in the file to a new file, just like re-copying a paper notepad.  Just like re-copying that notepad, compaction skips the items that have been marked as deleted and only copies the stuff that is still un-deleted.  Now your 10 meg file is about 7 meg, just like the 10 pages of written notes on your notepad is now only 7 pages of written notes.

Hope this all makes sense.  Let me know if I'm not clear on something.



I already posted the information you just reposted!

when I started posting it you hadn't posted your yet, so I didn't know that you were posting when I started, and couldn't see that you had until I had already clicked the submit button.....  sorry for the dup, but it wasn't intentional.
Top Expert 2013

if you want to have less OE folders and messages, you can just copy the associated dbx files to another location, and delete them in the original location.
You find them at :    
C:\Documents and Settings\<User>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{GUID}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

no problem... :)

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