How can I open .dbx files (saved Outlook Express bits)

I recently reformatted my computer, and saved my Outlook Express Inbox, Sent, and addresses .  The only way I could find to save them was in .dbx files, which I cannot seem to find a way to open!!    In looking on line, I find programs ...to buy...that will open them, but surely there must be a "better"  (cheaper, more accessable) way ?  I keep thinking that if that is the common way to save these, I must be missing the common way to open them.  Please tell me how to proceed .   Thanks very much
PamoETAsked:
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war1Commented:
Hello PamoET,

You need to not only save the DBX files, but all the files in the OE data folder.  Then you can import the data from OE folder into OE.

With only DBX files, you need to open them with a third party utility and extract the emails one by one in EMl format.  Then drag the EML files into OE Preview Pane.

Outlook Express Repair Corrupted Emails
Macallan - free
http://insideoe.tomsterdam.com/resources/tools.htm#macallan
OR
DBXtract - small fee.
http://www.oehelp.com/DBXtract/Default.aspx
OR
Outlook Express Repair Tool - free 30 trial version
http://www.nsware.com/Repair-Tool-for-Outlook-Express.htm

Hope this helps!
war1
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PamoETAuthor Commented:
Thanks for that, but I'm not sure how to proceed...How do I save all the files in the OE data folder ?  I take it that these are more than just the emails themselves, but don't know what it entails ?    
Re the links you kindly gave me;   are these programs what I need if I have stored only the emails themselves ?  Are these considered corrupted ?  I guess I need my hand held through the process !
Thank you again.
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war1Commented:
PamoET,

Do you have access to the old data in hard drive?  If not, then what you have saved, DBX files, are what is available.  In this case, you need to use Macallan or DBXtract on each DBX file.  Each program will allow you to extract the emails from DBX file into individual files with .eml extension.  Drag these eml files into the OE preview pane, you and you will access to the emails again.  Stored them into the folder you want.
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PamoETAuthor Commented:
Hurrah!!  I was able to use the Macallan program to extract my various emails ; they are now in My Documents, so I can access them when I want to.  I wasn't able to extract the Contacts (they were in a dbx, but nothing came up when I extacted them)  but I should be able to get those from the newly saved emails (?)   It took a while to figure out what the Macallam was doing, the Help isn't, just tells you what the program is.  ...went to google to see what others had to say...., so THANK YOU for the help....
NOW, please tell me HOW I should be saving the emails, so when I crash again, they are safe...You said to save all the files in the data folder...what is the procedure to do that properly ?
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war1Commented:
PamoET,

To backup the data files, in OE go to Tools > Options > Maintenance > Data Folder. Copy down the location of folder.  Navigate to folder and backup

Also do a search for and back up <user>.wab file.  This is your contacts files.  You need to unhide hidden files to see this file and above folder.  In Windows XP, open Windows Explorer or any folder.  Click on Tools > Folders Options > View. Check "Show hidden files and folders".  If you want to see system files as well, unclick Hide protected operating system files.   Click OK.
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PamoETAuthor Commented:
Thank you for your help...I was definitely in foreign territory with this, and you've  helped a great deal .  I have one more tail question,  is there any reason I need to keep the file name and place the computer has given and put  the data file, or can I change it to something else ?  I really appreciate the assistance,   Thanks again, Pam
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war1Commented:
Pam, don't change the file names, but you can change location for OE data file.  Go back to Maintenance tab > Store Folder and change the location where OE looks for the data files.
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rberkeConsultantCommented:
I know this question is closed, but I want to share my approach to this problem. This was several years ago, but I'm 99% sure this is what I did.

It is a little complicated, but it does not require downloading any software, and it restores your emails to their exact status when they were saved.  And, if you have huge mailboxes, this runs very quickly.


1. For convenience, COPY all of your old computer's dbx files into a single folder named OELegacy. Let's pretend the are 3 files named Inbox.dbx Sent Items.dbx, folder1.dbx ( (i sometimes MOVE the dbx files, but it is a little risky)
2. Open up outlook express and compare Outlook Express's current folder names to the names in OELegacy.  If any names are duplicates, rename the dbx in OELegacy so that they are DIFFERENT than the Outlook Express folder name.  For instance, since your current Outlook Express already has a Sent Items folder and an Inbox folder,  rename the OELegacy files to OldSentItems.dbx and OldInbox.dbx. Print the directory listing.
3 in Outlook express create empty folders named OldInbox, OldSentItems, and folder1.dbx.  Make sure they are spelled exactly the same as your directory printout.  
4. copy 1 dummy email from your current Inbox into each of the 3 empty OE folders.  
5.  use OE Tools > Options > Maintenance > Store Folder and write down the path.  (or put it onto the clipboard. it will probably be c:\Documents and Settings\yourname\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{31391EF3-B3AC-4F12-94D8-DC2DA45E9526}\Microsoft\Outlook Express)
6.  shut down outlook express, and open windows explorer by clicking on my computer, and navigate to the folder written in step 5.
7. you should see 3 dbx files with the same 3 names you used in step 3. Since they are empty except for 1 dummy email, the files will each be 139 KBytes long.
8. move those 3 files to somewhere else (or delete them and trust that the recycle bin will save them)
9. move your  real OELegacy to the windows folder written in step 5.
10. Open outlook express and you should see all your old emails in including attachements etc.
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