Outlook Express Errors - out of memory

insanegain used Ask the Experts™
I have a problem with Outlook Express.  When it is open, the message preview window shows nothing, and when a message or a contact name is double clicked, I get these error messages….
“One or more parts of this message could not be opened”
“There was an error opening this message.  There is not enough memory”

When OE is closed off, it is still running in the background and another instance cannot be started until I go into the task manager and end the “Msimn.exe” process.  Then it loads up but with the same problem.

I have run a full trend micro online scan and found nothing.  This occurs in safe mode as well.

I have compacted mailboxes several times, as well as backed up the mailbox store and uninstalled OE and then reinstalled with new identity and still the same problem.

I have loaded the DBX store onto another computer and identity and it worked fine.

Am I looking at a full format here or is there something else I can do? Please any help would be apprec….

I am running: XP-Home sp2
P4 2.93Ghz with 512 Ram
80Gig Hd with 70Gig free space
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First clean your pc with www.ccleaner.com

Also delete everything of the trash in Outlook.
Top Expert 2013

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What happens when you double-click on a message previously saved to your hard drive as an *.eml file?

If you don't have one saved, then it would be easy enough to save a message from another computer running Outlook Express and copy it over to the affected one.
Alternatively, and certainly a strongly recommended option to create backups while messing with the *.dbx files in the store folder anyway, is this free program to extract messages from *.dbx files:

Outlook Express Extraction


Hi Everyone thanks for your help,

I have loaded and ran ccleaner and it removed registry files and cookies, etc....

Trash was deleted from OE......2 items...

Saved a .eml message from another computer and brought it over and tried to open it with the same response.....

I have backed up and saved the dbx folders and the mail opens fine on other computers.

I noticed file associations were changed when I brought that saved email file over, had no program to open it with.  I manually changed the .eml extension back to open with OE.

Any other ideas?
Top Expert 2005


You can try backing up your OE data:


Change the default location of the mail and the news folders:


Restore the backed up data to the new folders.

Top Expert 2005


I just noticed you're running WinXP and you posted this question on the Win98 area.

It probably is not important because the issue is OE, but you may want to move the question to a more active topic area.


Have you tried Ticking the "automatically download messages when viewing in the preview pane" box under the Tools menu > Options > "Read" tab.
An UNticked box is the probable explanation for a message failing to display in the preview pane when it is selected from the list, and you usually press the spacebar to display the full message in the preview pane.

I'm not entirely sure if Outlook Express uses the same internal resource to display a message in the preview pane as it does when double-clicked to open it in the full viewer, so distinguishing if it can be "previewed" but not "opened" might shed some light on where the problem lies.

To discount any possibility that OE is having some difficulty reading messages in "Rich Text" (HTML), tick the "Read all messages in plain text" option under the "read" tab, Apply the change, close OE and reopen it.

You haven't specifically stated whether this issue is the same when attempting to open messages in any other folders other than your Inbox.  If you haven't tested this, then perhaps you could do so and let us know the results.

It is strange that the *.eml type did not have an association for OE.  There's a possibility that the root of the problem may be in part due to a wrong file association command.

Here's the two relevant keys exported from Regedit on my WinXP SP2 system running OE6 for you to compare:

@="Microsoft Internet Mail Message"
"Content Type"="message/rfc822"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Microsoft Internet Mail Message]
@="Internet E-Mail Message"

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Microsoft Internet Mail Message\DefaultIcon]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Microsoft Internet Mail Message\shell]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Microsoft Internet Mail Message\shell\open]

[HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Microsoft Internet Mail Message\shell\open\command]

It would probably be a lot easier to compare if you double-click on the [Default] Value under the [..\..\command] key, where the associated command should show as:

"%ProgramFiles%\Outlook Express\msimn.exe" /eml:%1

It's also viewable using the Folder Options > file Types dialog where it will be listed as "EML   Internet E-Mail Message".   This is probably where you created the association when you found it to be absent, but there are a couple of fields and boxes that perhaps aren't ticked or populated.

Here's how the fields, etc. are populated in my Folder Options > File types when the "Open" action (the only action) is selected and the "Edit" button is clicked:

"Action" field: open
"Application used to perform action" field:
     "C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\msimn.exe"  /eml:%1
(Note that the only space is after \msimn.exe"  and before  /eml:%1)
"Use DDE" box: Ticked
"DDE Message" field: empty
"Application" field: msimn
"DDE Application not running" field: empty
"Topic" field: System

Verify that yours is the same.

If there was no file association set, then reinstalling Outlook Express, as suggested by nobus, would reinstate and correct any missing or incorrect registry entries.

With reference to your running CCleaner, you said that "Trash was deleted from OE......2 items...".   Any idea what they were ie. Registry entries, redundant files, ...?



Hello again everyone,

Thank you everyone for your responses.  

Off the top of my head, the contents of the delted items were just 2 junk mails without attachments.  The file associations may have become damaged when I was manually ripping out registry entries but as long as the associations are set now I'm content.

I have removed OE by going in to the control panel/add/remove components and then manually deleting the .dbx folders and then reinstalling with a new profile.  Is that the best way to uninstall/reinstall?  I am thinking maybe I should reinstall Interent Explorer with OESP1 entirely and see what happens.  

I will try the suggestions about "automatically download messages when viewing in the preview pane" and the "Rich Text" option and soon and report back.

I will compare the keys as well.  Thanks so much for your help.  Talk soon!

>>> "Is that the best way to uninstall/reinstall?  I am thinking maybe I should reinstall Interent Explorer with OESP1 entirely and see what happens" <<<

Perhaps you could have tried the methods provided in the link given by nobus back up the page a bit:

You are never going to be able to uninstall Internet Explorer completely from a Windows system using standard methods, because so many of its component files and functions are used to provide all the enhancements to the Start Menu, Quick Launch Toolbar, etc, but uninstalling it conventionally would remove superfluous components not required for these tightly integrated functions.  Most of the Outlook Express components would have been removed, because OE isn't integrated to that extent, but nevertheless relies on many "shared system files".

Your method may not have removed all of the installed settings and files - certainly unless you rebooted the system before reinstalling it - and there may have been a problematic file or registry setting left that wouldn't necessarily be overwritten when reinstalling.

Hopefully it will have fixed the problems though.

Since you have WinXP Home with Service Pack 2, then you SHOULD already have had Outlook Express version 6 SP1 installed by default IF you did a standard installation.  IE6 SP1 was first added by WinXP SP1, but it DOES come as a couple of different versions.

I suggest that you check your installed version from IE's Help Menu > About Internet Explorer. 6.00.2800.1106 and 6.0.2900.2180 can be loosely referred to as IE6 SP1.  The latter is the version installed by XP SP2.  Any suffixes to the version number shown there will indicate if it was installed as part of WinXP SP2.

6.00.2600.0000   Internet Explorer 6 (Not SP1) (Windows XP)
6.00.2800.1106   Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 (Windows XP SP1)
6.00.2900.2180   Internet Explorer 6 for Windows XP SP2

If you subsequently ran Windows Update, then it should have installed all the "Cumulative Updates" and security patches available for WinXP Home SP2 and the integrated Outlook Express and Internet Explorer.  You can usually see the "Q" numbers of the updates later installed for IE in the Help > About dialog, and the OE help dialog gives file versions also.

I assume that you used the "Add/Remove Windows Components" section of Add/Remove Programs to uninstall Outlook Express, but strangely I can't recall OE being listed separately from Internet Explorer.  That aside, if you were prompted for your Windows XP CD, then it will have reinstalled the original version (assumed to be version 6 SP1) and it would be a good idea to run Windows Update again to reinstall the updates.

If you ever receive advice about downloading all the setup files for IE6 SP1 - which includes OE - for later reinstallation (ie. Save rather than install online) as indicated here:
then be aware that although this method will give you all the setup files so you can install IE6 SP1 on a computer running Win9x through to XP, it DOESN'T download the more recent version that is installed by XP SP2.  The downloaded version will be 6.0.2800.1106, whereas the XP SP2 version is 6.00.2900.2180.



Hi everyone, thanks for your help.

I have blown off the OS in hopes to fix this problem.  Email is fine now but all sorts of other problems with flash9c.ocx nad adobe reader not installing.  I will post this in the correct category and try again.  There is something very wrong with this system.  I recommend building your own computer for this reason.

Thanks everyone
Thanks insanegain.  Presumably you booted to the CD and chose the option to format the drive first during the setup options.  That being the case, and still having problems after a fresh installation, it looks like there could be several possiblities:

1. Memory problems - downlaod the Microsoft "Windows Memory Diagnostic" file,
Run it, and choose the option to either create a bootable floppy or extract an *.ISO image to burn a bootable CD.  Boot to it and toggle the Extended options by pressing "T".  Allow it to finish all tests (long time) and see if it reports any errors.  You have 512 MB of RAM.  If this comprises more than one stick, then try your system out with one stick at a time if this is possible for the type of memory modules.  I know it's called "Windows memory diagnostic", but it has nothing to do with Windows.  It runs in its own environment that doesn't require any other OS to be present.

2. Conflicting Software.  Try and kill as many startup processes as you can using MSCONFIG, and then look at disabling unused and non-essential "Services".
Right-Click My Computer > "Manage" > Services and Applications > Services.
Check the dependencies before disabling any.
Uninstall Acrobat and Flash for now and see if it allows you to install MS Office and all the other programs you previously had installed.  It could be that your user profile doesn't have any administrative permissions.  Problem is that XP Home doesn't allow you to boot into the administrator profile except from Safe Mode:
Create another profile from the admin profile with admin rights, and use that in normal mode for installations only.

3. Hard Drive problems.  Go to the support site of your hard drive manufacturer and download the hard drive diagnostics tools for your model of hard drive.  Normally creates a boot floppy and HD diagnostics run automatically from boot.  Consider also deleting and then recreating partitions on your hard drive rather than just relying on a format prior to installation.

I'm sure you'll get tons of other suggestions in your subsequent question(s).


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