Outlook Express DBX file corruption

Posted on 2009-12-21
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2012-05-08
I was copying a large amount of emails from the inbox to another folder. It crashed mid copy. Now the folder is there and the .DBX file shows a large file size but no emails are visible. Can the .dbx file be reindexed?
Question by:Derf238
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Expert Comment

ID: 26098238
you can try importing the dbx into another identity
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Accepted Solution

jasfout earned 1000 total points
ID: 26098292
If able to import them into another idententy, then can move them baack as desired.
otherwise I have used:
to repair.
I do not know of a free tool
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Assisted Solution

BillDL earned 1000 total points
ID: 26113852
Hi Derf 238

I would suggest that you immediately create a new folder somewhere named appropriately (eg. "DBXs_Corrupt"), and copy all the *.dbx files from your "Store Folder" to it for safekeeping.  make sure Outlook Express is closed when you do this.

Now create a working folder eg. "DBXs_For_Fixing" and copy the same *.dbx files into that.

Download the free "MailView" program by Michal Mutl:

Unzip MailView.zip to its own folder or even into your "DBXs_For_Fixing" folder and open "MailView.exe".
File menu > Open.
Select the "Outlook Express Message Database" radio button then click the "Browse" yellow folder icon (NOT the "Browse Current OE Store" button).
Navigate to your "DBXs_For_Fixing" folder and select the *.dbx file known to be corrupt, probably your Inbox.dbx to begin with.
Click "OK" and WAIT!

Hopefully it will load the messages from the corrupt Inbox.dbx file into a message view list that emulates Outlook Express to an extent.  You can tick all the boxes and then use the Messages menu > Save > "Email..." option and browse to an output folder where all the ticked messages will (hopefully) be extracted as *.eml files.

Optionally you can repeat these steps for any other DBX files you have copied out to your "DBXs_For_Fixing" folder.  Don't be too worried about any unusual filenames or truncated names for the *.eml files that were extracted.  The idea is to drag and drop them back into Outlook Express where the titles in the message list view will be as expected.

Open Outlook Express and create a new folder, eg. "Restored_Inbox".
Reduce the size of the Outlook Express window to about half screen area.
Select the new "Restored_Inbox" folder so your message list shows, but is so far unpopulated.
Open the folder containing your extracted *.eml files from the corrupt Inbox.dbx and select them all.
Drag and drop them into the message list area for the "Restored_Inbox" folder in the Outlook Express window.
Usually you will have to hover over the minimized icon in the Task bar to bring OE back into focus.
Repeat this for as many DBX files as you suspect or know to be corrupt.

Close Outlook Express and re-open it.  This is just to ensure that the new folder name is written to the Folders.dbx file in your Store Folder.  It probably doesn't need this step, but I tend to do this just to be sure.

Close OE and open your Store Folder in Windows Explorer.  Rename Inbox.dbx file to something logical like "Corrupt_Inbox-dbx.txt".
Open Outlook Express again and it should create a new unpopulated "Inbox.dbx" file.
Close and re-open OE again, for the reasons I suggested above.
Now, from within Outlook Express, try to copy the messages from the "Restored_Inbox" folder in OE to the new empty Inbox.

If it fails again, then you still have your backed up *.dbx files to try a different approach.

Close Outlook Express and re-open it to ensure that the Inbox.dbx opens and displays the restored messages.
Close OE and you can now safely delete the renamed "Corrupt_Inbox-dbx.txt".
Open it again and delete the "Restored_Inbox" folder.

Repeat for the corrupt folder and dbx file that were affected originally.
Hopefully you should have all your emails restored again, and you should consider using an archiving convention to move your Inbox emails to separate OE folders on a regular basis to keep the DBX file sizes small.  It is possible that the corruption occurred because the Inbox became too large and faltered for this reason during the message copying process.

There is one possible side effect of using the extraction to *.eml file and then dragging and dropping them into an OE folder from Windows Explorer.  The Dates of the messages MAY end up showing in OE with the time stamps that reflect when you extracted the contents of the *.dbx file to *.eml files.  If this IS something you notice, then you should probably use another program that is intended for actually repairing corrupt DBX files, even if it means paying for it.  The dates of the emails as they appear in OE are important to me, as I'm sure they are to you, in which case the above method is less than ideal.

There is another freeware program I have used to recover *.eml messages from corrupt *.dbx files, but I cannot now remember how effective it was:
Outlook Express Extraction:

For your information, there is a program named "Universal Extractor" that allows you to extract the contents of a great many different file types including DBX files.  You can read about another method I have used here:




In fact, I could have sved a bit of typing by just posting the 2nd link above ;-)
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

ID: 26113903
Other resources including a couple of excellent utilities:
DBXtract used to be free, but is now modestly priced at $11.
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Expert Comment

ID: 26119022
Thank you Derf238.

Expert Comment

ID: 27606237
Try using Kernel for Outlook Express to repair the damaged DBX file. http://www.nucleustechnologies.com/Outlook-Express-Mails-Recovery.html

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