Bad email locks up Outlook Express, can't move or delete

Posted on 2010-01-05
Last Modified: 2012-08-14
I use Outlook Express and received an email that I can not move to any folder or delete.  If I click on the email it will lock up the email program.  For a while I have only been able to delete one email at a time - empty deleted folder - delete an email - empty deleted folder, etc.  Then I compressed my emails and am again able to delete emails.  When I was compressing, the compressing stopped on my "inbox", where the bad email is, and it wouldn't go any farther.  
I have spoken with Time Warner Road Runner, who I received emails from, and their only solution was to give me a new email name.  I hope someone can help me fix this and get rid of this email.

Question by:cashonly
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    From Outlook Express
    and uncheck 'Preview Pane'
    You may then select the bad message for 'Delete'

    Author Comment

    It was already unchecked
    LVL 10

    Expert Comment

    If you recently unchecked it, you would need to close/reopen outlook express for the change to take effect.

    Is the preview pane still showing?  When you select a message, do the message contents display in another pane?

    LVL 20

    Accepted Solution

    Another option would be to move all the other emails out of Inbox, shut down Outlook Express, and delete the Inbox.dbx file. You can find the location of the file by right-clicking on the Inbox in the folder list; choose Properties, and you'll get the full path for the file (which will probably be longer than displays in the box provided, but if you click in the middle of the name and press Ctrl+A, you can copy the entire path, and put that into the address bar of My Computer).

    When OE starts up again, it'll automatically create a new Inbox.
    LVL 10

    Assisted Solution

    Going along with Elrond,  you may follow that method, but I would suggest to 'move' the inbox.dbx file to another location rather than deleting.  You can then 'import' message from that dbx file to the newly created inbox.  It should skip the bad messages when importing back in.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Hi cashonly

    Have you recently cleaned out your Temporary Internet Files?
    If not, then I suggest that you do so.  When you open an email message in Outlook Express it is extracted from the message database file (*.dbx file) and temporary files of the message and any attachments are created in this folder.  When the message is closed, only some of the files delete by themselves, and others disappear when OE is closed, however if OE freezes up then debris can be left.  The temporary files should normally be given unique file names when opened, but strange things can happen as we all know.  A bad left-over file in there could potentially cause similar lockups if you try to open the message again.

    With Outlook Express closed:
    Start Menu > Settings > Control Panel > Internet Options > General tab.
    Delete Temporary Internet Files > wait a moment > close the dialog.

    Open OE and see if the message can be moved, deleted, or opened.
    Who knows, maybe it's as simple a fix as this.

    What is the file size of your "Inbox.dbx" file?
    When that message database gets too large it can cause problems, and the best approach to preventing this is to create new archive folders in OE and keep your Inbox for newly arrived are very current messages.

    I would urge you to immediately make a backup copy of your "Inbox.dbx" file (and probably also all the other *.dbx files in your OE "Store Folder").
    Even if the Inbox.dbx file currently seems to be corrupt, it is your emergency backup if suggestions made above don't resolve the issue, and there are utilities that would allow you to (hopefully) open that DBX file in a familiar layout resembling OE and save out selected messages as *.EML files that can thereafter be dragged and dropped back into the message list area of folders in the Outlook Express window.

    Hopefully the suggestions by other experts will fix the problem without resorting to this.

    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    By the way, have you considered that the email in question is being detected as infected by Anti-Virus software?

    You might like to try temporarily disabling your AntiVirus software, rebooting, and then (with the preview pane disabled for safety) trying to delete the problem message.

    Remember to re-enable your AntiVirus software.

    Author Comment


    Let me check some of this stuff out
    LVL 5

    Expert Comment

    I am not sure if your are having the same problem as i had but this was my case.

    i was using ms outlook.
    i got a mail which was crashing my outlook every time you try to open it.

    later on i found out that that email had some staf in it kind of interactive email.
    I have disabled the send receive i have removed the reading panel so when you click on email it will not open. then was able to delete it.

    LVL 1

    Expert Comment

    You can also try creating a new Idenity (File menu),  that will give you clean dbx files and you can import your settings from your current idenity.  

    If this works you can fix your  old dbx files and import your messages.

    This  simple fix that dosent invole moving or deleting files.

    Author Closing Comment

    I closed OE, then I copied all the OE folders to another directory as a backup and renamed the inbox files with .old at the end as a backup.

    I then opened IE, went to File->Import, Selected the username that I was using, When it asked to import, I pointed to the backup directory and selected to import only the inbox folder.

    It went thru the import and I closed out that dialog.  I when to the inbox folder and all my e-mails were there EXCEPT the problem one.

    So that worked well.

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