recover deleted folder oe

have a customer whose husband inadvertenly deleted an important folder in outlook express and the program was set to empty deleted on exit   xp

have all the dbx files on cd at my place   need to get him out of the dog house
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BillDLConnect With a Mentor Commented:

Just for your info, the file "folders.dbx" in the user's "Store Folder" maps the actual folders visible in Outlook Express to the DBX files that holed the messages for each of those folders.  Folders.dbx is automatically regenerated by OE if it is deleted, which is sometimes used as a fix for a corrupt folders.dbx file.

Each of the DBX database files represents a separate folder or sub-folder and contains all the messages in that folder.

DBX Files can be opened using a few free utilities, but my preference is MailView by Michal Mutl (

It is a standalone program that opens the DBX file in a rough approximation of the OE message view and allows you to open emails, save attachments, and save out as many messages as you want to the *.eml format used by OE.  You can drag and drop *.eml files from a folder into a newly created folder in OE again and they are then embedded into the DBX file created for your new folder.

You should be aware that the "Deleted Items.dbx" file normally still retains all deleted messages UNTIL it is "compacted". OE is set to prompt the user to compact database folders on the 100th time it is closed.  The folder that was deleted from within OE may still be inside "Deleted Items.dbx", but probably only viewable as separate messages rather than as a separate folder containing messages, so your best bet is the DBX file you backed up.

Please also be aware that copying a DBX file from the Read-Only medium of a CD into the user's Message Store folder may issue errors when OE is opened.  The Read-Only attribute has to be removed from the DBX files in the Store Folder.

To ascertain the User's Store Folder you open OE and use the Tools > Options > Maintenance tab, and click on the "Store Folder" button.  It is set in the "Store Root" (REG_EXPAND_SZ) Value in the registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{GUID}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0

There are other methods of extracting messages and attachments from a DBX file using a program named "Universal Extractor" that I have discussed in other questions, just in case you are interested:

In this case I would suggest just extracting all *.eml messages from the backed up DBX file out to a folder on a USB Flash Drive, then dragging and dropping them into a NEW folder created in Outlook Express.  Sometimes just copying the DBX file into the user's Store Folder doesn't display the folder in the Outlook Express interface and you have to start messing around.

The other method in OE is as follows.

File > Import > Messages.
Choose Outlook Express 6 from list > Next.
Import mail from an OE6 Store Directory > OK.
Browse to the location of the DBX file(s) to import > Next.
Select the folder to import > Next.

Hope this helps.
Shreedhar EtteCommented:
roberttownsendAuthor Commented:
looks interesting, but  I have the data with me and would like a solution that allows me to open the deleted dbx file to see if the folder I need is there before I go back to the customer and do that process described above, I've done the method above but never with the deleted dbx file and wasn't sure how entire folders were handled by oe
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The article in only works in the folder is not permanently deleted.

However, according to your description, it seems that the folder has been permanently deleted since the customer's OE is set to empty deleted items on exit. In such a case, the data of the deleted folder may still exist in the customer's local hard disk and you can use

Advanced Outlook Express Data Recovery


to scan the whole drive or disk on the customer's computer on which OE has stored the folder data. This tool will scan every byte on the drive/disk and try to recover all the stored Outlook Express data on that drive or disk.
roberttownsendAuthor Commented:
Well i RAN THE TRIAL VERSION but didn't see a folder in the product
Hi let me get this straight, you have the DBX files backed up ? and you just want to see if the lost files and or folders are on the backup disk ?  if this is the case then the link below may be of help, it is only a trail version but may allow you to at least see if the folder, files are there.

Hope this is of help and good luck

Advanced Outlook Express Data Recovery will recover and collect all the emails from different folders, then list all of them. It will NOT recover the folder itself, instead, INSTEAD, it recovers the emails inside the folder.

Actually the folder itself is useless, what you want is the emails inside it, aren't you?
roberttownsendAuthor Commented:
I'll have a go but it will next week
Correction in my 1st sentence: "holed" = "hold"
roberttownsendAuthor Commented:
thanks for your help
Thank you Robert.
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