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Outlook Express 6 gives blank error window on send out.

Like the Title says: My OE receives emails from several email servers OK but won't send out emails to any of them: I get the thermometer showing that it is (trying) to shovel out emails but then it indicates an error but the error box is blank. Started this morning. All well till then. I have rebooted Win XP and that makes no difference. I have McAfee spam checker on.

Help!

Many thanks.
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Peborgh
Asked:
Peborgh
1 Solution
 
saastechCommented:
Your ISP may be blocking your outgoing mail server(smtp server); Try changing the port number from 25 to 587 for your smtp server settings.

Good Luck!
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BillDLCommented:
Hi Peborgh

I assume from what you are saying that the actual dialog window looks normal (for an error that is) with the yellow alert icon and the ambiguous message alongside it, and the "0 of x tasks completed successfully" indicated down at the bottom.

 Tasks tab showing red X and "failed" status
 Errors tab showing error message
Ar there are any elements missing from the layout of your progress dialog, apart from the absence of the error message under the relevant tab?
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PeborghAuthor Commented:
Thanks. The port no was 465 for Virgin.net. I tried 587 and same result.

Any further thoughts?

peter
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BillDLCommented:
Virgin mail settings:
http://rdsrc.us/5n9Rtt

Incoming mail server type: POP3
Incoming mail (POP3, IMAP or HTTP) server: pop3.virginmedia.com
Outgoing mail (SMTP) server: smtp.virginmedia.com
Account name: Use entire e-mail address
Log on using Secure Password Authentication (SPA): UNticked
Log on using Secure Password Authentication: UNticked
My server requires authentication: Ticked
Outgoing mail (SMTP): 465 - This server requires a secure connection (SSL)
Incoming mail (POP3): 995 - This server requires a secure connection (SSL)
Include this account when receiving mail or synchronizing: Ticked

It should still be showing some kind of error in that dialog though.

Have you recently changed antivirus software and configured it to scan outgoing email?  Some are tricky to configure for the SSL (secure ports) eg. SMTP: 465 and POP3: 995.

The DLL file containing the progress dialog is:
C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\msoeres.dll
Unfortunately it is one that can be "re-registered" using the Regsvr32 command like some, so if it is corrupt it would mean forcing your computer to restore a good backup from the folder:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\dllcache

Windows XP uses System File Protection whereby, if you delete, rename, or tamper with certain files, a backup copy will be restored from the above folder after a short delay.  msoeres.dll is one of the protected files.

Making a backup copy of "msoeres.dll" and then renaming the original to something like "renamed_msoeres.dll" will force a replacement that you will see happening, and a new "System" event is generated to indicate that it was done.

If that fixes the issue, then just delete the renamed DLL and the backup one.
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BillDLCommented:
By the way, if doing the above CLOSE Outlook Express first!!
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PeborghAuthor Commented:
Just been told I am sending about 8 copies of everything I send. I wonder whether OE is sending but giving an error anyway?
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PeborghAuthor Commented:
Guys,

I have now found that my emails ARE going out. It's just that they seem to be stuck in the OE outbox and so they get re-sent every time it send/receives.

BillDL, thank you for going to so much trouble but this is not a Virgin problem - it happens with my other email server too. Obviously something is up with OE.
I will now go and look at your post again and see if anything else you said is more general than Viergin.

Thanks all,

peter
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PeborghAuthor Commented:
BillDL,

Your other stuff and my answers (marked ***):

Have you recently changed antivirus software and configured it to scan outgoing email?  
***no change today

Some are tricky to configure for the SSL (secure ports) eg. SMTP: 465 and POP3: 995.
***these are the ports I use with Virgin, 25 and 110 for my other email server

The DLL file containing the progress dialog is:
C:\Program Files\Outlook Express\msoeres.dll
Unfortunately it is one that can be "re-registered" using the Regsvr32 command like some, so if it is corrupt it would mean forcing your computer to restore a good backup from the folder:
C:\WINDOWS\system32\dllcache

Windows XP uses System File Protection whereby, if you delete, rename, or tamper with certain files, a backup copy will be restored from the above folder after a short delay.  msoeres.dll is one of the protected files.

Making a backup copy of "msoeres.dll" and then renaming the original to something like "renamed_msoeres.dll" will force a replacement that you will see happening, and a new "System" event is generated to indicate that it was done.

If that fixes the issue, then just delete the renamed DLL and the backup one.
***Before I launch into this open-heart surgery, I will await your comments on my previous post.

Thanks,

peter
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BillDLCommented:
Hi Peter

The "messages stuck in outbox" brings a slightly different dimension to this which probably negates corruption to DLLs, etc.

I would start off by confirming the following settings:

Tools > Options > Send tab.
make sure the top 2 boxes are ticked, ie:
- Save copy to sent message folder
- Send immediately
Apply button if changes were made.

I suggest Unchecking, applying, closing OEand re-opeing, then re-checking, applying, closing OE, and reopening.  Sometimes even just making a change can "refresh" settings.

While in the "Options" dialog, open the "Maintenance" tab and click the "Store Folder" button.
Copy the complete directory path and paste in Notepad for now.
Close the Options dalog then close Outlook Express.

Start Menu > Run option and paste the path you copied.

It should open a folder such as:
C:\Documents and Settings\YourName\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{long-unique-number\Microsoft\Outlook Express
and there show all the *.DBX files that represent all the folders in Outlook Express.

Delete "Outbox.dbx" and close the folder.

Open Outlook Express again, close it, and re-open it.  That will recreate "Outbox.dbx" and fix any issues if this is caused by a corruption to that file.

Now try and send an email, preferably to one of your own email addresses to save bombarding others.

If that doesn't work, this time close OE and delete "Outbox.dbx" and also "Folders.dbx".  Both of those files are recreated when Outlook Express is next started.  Be aware that Folders.dbx not only stores the names of the folders in Outlook Express, but also their nested hierarchy and your Mail Rules, so you would have to shuffle the folders around in OE if you delete that file.
http://www.insideoe.com/files/store.htm#userfiles

If you are worried about possible loss of data, then consider performing a backup of your DBX files: and registry keys containing the mail rules:
http://www.insideoe.com/backup/
http://www.oehelp.com/oebackup/default.aspx

One thing that is very important with Outlook Express is NOT to allow any of your DBX files grow to anywhere near 2GB.  That is the point, or even before reaching that size, where all kinds of issues occur.

Creating a sub-folder in a master folder in OE generates a new and separate DBX file for that sub-folder in your Store Folder directory.  Moving emails (in the OE interface) into sub-folders reduces the size of the DBX file for the master folder.  That said, however, the DBX files store lots of redundant data that relate to their previous state, so you would not normally see an immediate reduction in the sizes of the related DBX files until they were "compacted".  For instance, your "Deleted Items.dbx" file contains all the deleted messages long after that folder has been emptied in OE.

The easiest way to compact all folders is as follows:

Collapse all of the folders in the left pae of Outlook Express right up to the topmost "Outlook Express" icon.

File menu > Folder > Compact All Folders.

You may be in for a long wait, and sometimes the computer slows to a crawl after the compaction is finished, so reboot when done.  backup copies of the DBX files are stored in the Recycle Bin in case there is a problem, and the file can be restored to the "Store Folder".

Further Reading:
http://www.insideoe.com/files/maintain.htm#compact

If your DBX files are very large, then I suggest reoranising email messages into new folders and sub-folders BEFORE compacting.

There is always a slight risk of corruption (never happened to me in 15 years though) when compacting folders, so make a backup of the DBX files.
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BillDLCommented:
Peter, I need to go and make my dinner shortly, and I don't have a laptop running while I'm eating and watching TV.  I will check back here later to see if you have any other queries.  Hopefully deleting "Outbox.dbx" will sort out the issue and you can then make a backup of your DBX files and compact your folders.
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PeborghAuthor Commented:
Deleting outbox.dbx had no effect.
I then discovered that the Send Items folder was >=2Gb, so I moved 2006 to 2008 emails to another archive folder. Then tried to compact Sent Items. It does this quite happily until the very end, when it says that the file is in use by outlook express or another program. There is a Sent Items.bak around - should I delete it before I start the compacting?

Thanks,

peter

PS I hope you enjoyed your dinner and TV!

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BillDLCommented:
Hi Peter

The "file in use" message is the one you usually get if you have your OE folders displayed normally and the one in question selected in the left pane so that it is showing the message list in the right pane.

Usually the method I suggested of collapsing all the folders up to the top level (so you are looking at the "home page" with the glasses and the pen) stops this "file in use" situation from happening.  It would usually be better to close OE completely, open it up freshly and immediately collapse the folders before doing the compaction.

There shouldn't really be a *.bak file in your Store Folder directory.  I would suggest that you copy that file out along with all the other *.dbx files to a neutral folder and then rename "Sent Items.bak" to "Sent tems.OLD", "Sent Items_YYYY-MM-DD.OLD" (using the file date) or similar before compacting.  This would cover any possibility that a "Sent Items.bak" file is recreated in your Store Folder directory.

May I suggest that you download the following free Outlook Express Message Viewer by Michal Mutl:
http://www.mitec.cz/mailview.html
http://www.mitec.cz/Downloads/MailView.zip

Unzip to its own folder, delete all the files except MailView.exe, and double-click on it.
File menu > Open.  It is preset to check for updates, so don't worry if your firewall asks for permission.  No spyware in it.
In the "Open Wizard" dialog you can either "Browse Current OE Store" or browse to a folder containing copies of your DBX files, and choose a DBX file to open.

For your purposes I am suggesting you use it to open A COPY of your "Sent Items.bak" file, which you should temporarily rename to a *.dbx file, and be aware of what messages it contains.  Double-Click to open a message shown in the list in MailView, or select message and use Messages menu > Message View.

This program allows you to extract one or all of the messages from a *.DBX file out to separate *.EML files (Messages menu > Save > Email).  In an emergency situation this can be very useful, because you can drag and drop *.EML files back into the message view pane of Outlook Express to populate a new folder.

Hopefully when OE does manage to compact the "Sent Items" database it will reduce the file size and provide somewhere for the outgoing emails to be saved into.  You've found the most likely cause of your issue with the size of that file.

Incidentally, you are aware that OE is preset to prompt for compaction of folders every 100 times it is opened and closed?  I usually decline this, then run a little batch file to make fresh backups of my DBX files, then reopen OE and use the compaction steps I described above.  It's all just mitigating the effects of possible data loss just in case it happens.
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BillDLCommented:
***** Just one other important thought *****

Before you do the compaction again can I suggest that you open Tools > Options > General tab, and UNtick the "check for new messages every x minutes".

It sounds like yours will take some time to complete, and we don't really want OE checking for and downloading new messages during the process.
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PeborghAuthor Commented:
I did the c.osing down to the "Outlook Express" entry and did the compact all. This still gave the same in use fault.

What about this: copy the rest of emails to a new folder called Fred. Delete Sent Items dbx file. Would that would generate a new Sent file? Then rename Fred.dbx to Sent Items.dbx .
Would that work?

Thanks,

peter
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BillDLCommented:
Hmmm.  Strange that it should be showing as "in use" that way. Certainly it would be a good idea to create a new folder such as "Temp Sent" and move all messages into it.  I would close and restart OE to confirm that messages were still readable in all folders, then close it and delete "Sent Items.dbx".  Restarting OE will then recreate "Sent Items.dbx".

Personally I would be hesitant to rename the new DBX file to "Sent Items.dbx" though.  I cannot recall for certain, but I have a vague memory that the default folders may differ from user-created ones and may cause problems.  The file "Folders.dbx" maps all the names of the *.DBX files to their folder names as they appear in the Outlook Express interface.  It is rebuilt when you have made changes and next reopen Outlook Express. My vague recollection makes me think that trying to rename a user-created DBX file to the name of a default one leaves you with two versions of the default one when OE is restarted, eg. "Sent Items.dbx" and "Sent Iems[1].dbx".  I can't be certain, and am obviously hesitant to experiment with my own computer, but I don't think it's worth the risk.

I have never found a command that allows you to programmatically compact Outlook Express folders.  The prompt to compact is triggered when a "counter" in the Registry reaches 100.  This counter is incremented each time OE is closed.

You should be able to easily find your own registry key from the path to your Store Folder of DBX files.  Tools > Options > Maintenance tab > Click "Store Folder" button and copy out the path, pasting to Notepad.

Example:
C:\Documents and Settings\Bill\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{AEB941C4-4235-428B-BC08-E0567AB333AD}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

Close Outlook Express.

Start Menu > Run > and type    REGEDIT     > press Enter or click OK.

Tip:
Regedit in XP remembers the last open Key.  You can collapse all the open keys by pressing and holding the Left arrow key until it collapses up to the top level "My Computer".  Close and reopen REGEDIT for a fresh start.

Expand the key:  [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities]   and look for a sub-key named after the {GUID} from your Store Folder directory path.  In the above example it is:  {AEB941C4-4235-428B-BC08-E0567AB333AD}

Expand that and drill down to:

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{AEB941C4-4235-428B-BC08-E0567AB333AD}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0]

In the RIGHT-hand pane look for a "REG_DWORD" value named "Compact Check Count".  Double-Click on that and ** IMPORTANT ** click in the "Decimal" radio button!  Change the current value to 100.  Click OK and close Regedit.  See screenshot below.

 Reset the "Compact Check Count" to 100 Decimal
The next time OE is opened and closed it will prompt you to compact folders.  You can do this without opening the full Outlook Express user interface as follows, and perhaps this way will avoid the "file in use" error.

Right-Click on the Desktop and choose New > Shortcut.  In the Wizard, enter the following as the "address":      mailto:someone@anywhere.com
Click Next and name the new shortcut something like "MailTo Test".
Double-Click the shortcut and an Outlook Express New Message window will show.  Close it and the "compact" prompt should now show.

Allow the compaction and hopefully it will finish without errors.  The Registry counter should be set back to Zero after this.  I suggest a reboot and this stage.

Open OE and send a new message to yourself.  Hopefully now, with a fresh "Sent Items.dbx" file and an empty "Sent Items" folder, the sent message will be moved there from the "Outbox" folder.  If successful, just move the messages you temporarily placed in a new folder back into the "Sent Items" folder.

Let us know how you get on.

Bill
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Sikhumbuzo NtsadaCommented:
You need to create a new folder and move all your send Items to that folder, you should be able to send witout errors. If that does not help, copy your current inbox and palce it elsewhere, then rename the current Inbox, open OE it will create a new Ibox for you. Then create another folder call it OldInbox and import the Ibox you save to this folder.
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BillDLCommented:
Santasi, this has all been discussed already and Peborgh has already tried various things.  At the outset the exact problem wasn't fully apparent until he discovered that the outgoing messages WERE being transmitted.  It them became apparent that they were just not being moved from the Outbox to the Sent Items folder.

I know the comments are long, but if you read through the steps that have been taken so far, your suggestion:
"create a new folder and move all your send Items to that folder, you should be able to send witout errors"
has already been tried and has failed.

First off, Peborgh tried deleting "Outbox.dbx", but the problem persisted.

After my comment about the size of the DBX files he discovered that "Sent Items.dbx" equalled or exceeded the dangerous size of 2GB.  He moved all the messages out of the Sent Items folder to different folders and then tried to compact the folders to remove the redundant data from them to reduce the file sizes.  That failed saying that "Sent Items.dbx" was in use.  The last few comments discussed ways of getting around that.

If you read the last few comments you will see that the next step already agreed on by Peborgh and myself is to delete "Sent Items.dbx" and test again.  We are waiting on feedback with the results.

The "Inbox" has nothing really to do with the problem.  Incoming emails are being received and stored fine, although a routine maintenance cleanup and compaction of that folder would be a good idea.  The problem is that although OUTGOING messages are transmitted and reach their destination, they are not being moved from the "Outbox" to the "Sent Items" folder.

I am hopeful that deleting "Sent Items.dbx" will fix the issue.
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PeborghAuthor Commented:
I am extracting every message remaining in the Sent Items to .emls. It isa slow business but does not stop me using OE in parallel to this process. When I send an email, I manually move it to a temp directory until I get OE to generate an aempty Sent Items. I do not touch Sent Items so that the extraction cannot be interrupted.

As ever, onward to (slow) victory,

peter
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BillDLCommented:
Hi Peter

You've lost me a bit with what you are currently doing.  Perhaps it is my fault for mentioning the MailView program.  You have already created a new folder in Outlook Express and moved all the 2006 to 2008 messages from the Sent Items folder into that.

My suspicion is that the "Sent Items.dbx" file is still too large, and something is hindering the compaction of it, which would normally reduce the size and (hopefully) allow outgoing emails to be moved into it.

I thought that the plan of action was to continue with that, ie. create new folders for the more post 2008 messages and eventually move all the messages from the Sent Items folder into them.

After that you would close Outlook Express, delete the "Sent Items.dbx" file, open Outlook Express again, and a new "Sent Items.dbx" file would be created.  

If the size of the the *.DBX file was the problem, then that should fix the issue.

I'm not quite sure what you you have been doing when you say that you are "extracting" the remaining messages in the "Sent Items" to *.EML files.  Are you using the MailView program on your "Sent Items.dbx" file, or are you opening each message and doing a File > Save As?

There's no harm in storing *.EML files as additional backups, but it would be preferable to have your messages from the Outlook Express "Sent Items" folder moved into other folders so that the messages are stored in new and DBX files which will each be much smaller in file size.

Just for your additional information, by far the easist way to "extract" messages to *.EML files is to resize your Outlook Express window so you can see a new folder on your Desktop behind the OE window, then select multiple messages in OE (Click first > Hold Shift > Click last), and then drag them out onto the Desktop folder.  That COPIES the messages there as *.EML files, and has really just "extracted" them.  You can do the reverse to drag and drop *.EML files from a folder into the message list area of a new Folder in Outlook Express, but the OE window will minimise to the taskbar and you have to first drag from the folder to the OE taskbar icon and hover it there until the OE window restores again for you to drop the selected files in there.
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PeborghAuthor Commented:
BillDL, All ok now.

After I extracted all the emails from my overweight Sent Items, I deleted Sent Items.dbx and restarted OE. It created new empty Sent Items and I was able to send emails and have them transferred form Outbox to Sent Items folder. I then imported the latest 250ish into this new Sent Items and the rest into a "parking" Folder called Sent Items 2009 to May 2011, which I will only ever read from.

Many thanks for you impressively helpful information and sorry if I confused you when I took the law into my own hands...

Oh, and I'll never allow any of my OE folders get beyond 1.5 Gb.

peter
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PeborghAuthor Commented:
All your posts were useful so I chose one at random as the solution. Sorry. Anyone with a similar problem will do well to look at all your comments and also my ultimate solution, which you guided me to.
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BillDLCommented:
Phew!!  Good job and well done.  I'm really glad everything is functional again.  It's a worrying time.

There's a psychological benefit from having archived your messages to separate new folders by year, or whatever scheme makes most sense.  Having a nice clean "Sent Items" (and presumably your "Inbox" folder next) helps you to keep what is important and delete what isn't from this point forward.  I believe that the best method is to keep say a month's worth of important messages, using the little flags and spectacles icons to mark them, and then archive them rather than leaving them in the Inbox or sent Items folders which should only really be used for current items.

It would be a good idea to install and periodically run the OE Quick Backup program:
http://www.oehelp.com/oebackup/default.aspx
http://www.oehelp.com/oebackup/oeqbfull.zip
The intervals are up to you, but once a day at the end of a session would be good if you receive and send a lot of important messages.  It's not really imperative that you specify the backup destination as an external drive, but would be good practice.

Be aware that a fresh install of Windows will create a new and unique Identity {GUID} number, so any *.REG files that the program exports (Mail Rules, etc) should NOT be merged back to the registry of your new installation of Windows UNTIL you have ascertained the new {GUID} and have opened each in Notepad and done an Edit > Replace on the *.REG files, replacing he old {GUID} with the new one.

One departing note:

At some point Windows XP will become obsolete and so too will Outlook Express, its DBX databases, and your Windows Address Book.  There are various methods of migrating these to alternative email clients such as the installed "Windows Live Mail" in Windows XP or their successors in Vista and Windows 7.  It may be a good idea to read up on how to do this and make notes now so you can be prepared, but there is no guarantee that the methods will still be supported as time moves on towards whatever other Windows OS Microsoft launch onto us.  While you have the "MailView" program (or equivalent other "viewer") you will always have the means to load and read messages from saved DBX files as long as the Operating System allows the viewing program to run on it, but that is not future-proofed either.

Just something for you (and I) to seriously consider in the next year or two.

Anyway, I'm glad you are back up and running.

Bill
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