Outlook Express: Compacting folders and getting "The folder is currently in use ..."

dcpwebber
dcpwebber used Ask the Experts™
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I have a client that constantly is hitting the 2 GB limit for OE folders (I'm doing what I can to change her habits or move her to something else).  Recently, she went to delete items out of her "Sent Items" folder and compact it but got the following error:

"The folder is currently in use by Outlook Express or by another application"

The folder right now is 1.7 GB, so she's not over the limit yet.  The last, most extensive, procedure I tried to get this to work was the following:

1 - Go into OE and set it to "Work Offline"
2 - Reboot into safe mode
3 - Start OE and, without touching anything in OE (while she's still sitting at the Welcome page and not in any folder), go to FILE > FOLDERS > COMPACT ALL FOLDERS
4 - Still fails once it gets to the "Sent Items" folder
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018
Commented:
There may be something wrong with Outlook Express, and then, here is the rub: It is now long out of support.

See if the client can move the mail from Sent to some other folder (not delete). Once it is in another folder, the client should be able to delete the email (make a test folder if necessary).

2Gb is too much in my opinion for effective operation of OE or of Outlook, but I am in the minority there. Outlook, in any case, is vastly better than OE and Outlook 2007 on can handle 20Gb in the new format.

... Thinkpads_User
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Also (this should have happened already, I think), in Outlook Express, go to Edit -> Empty Deleted Items folder and make sure it is clear.

If your client knows how to back up emali (copy the folder of databases to another location), then in OE, go to Tools -> Options -> Maintenance and click the Cleanup button. This deletes email so use with care.

... Thinkpads_User

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Commented:
I'll give these a try tomorrow (hopefully) and update with the results
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Commented:
dcpwebber--More ideas.
Do you have the antivirus program set to monitor Email?  If so disable that.
Delete the Folders.dbx file (found in Store Folder).  Reboot.  A new and empty Folder.dbx will be created.
This may be overkill but you can use Process Explorer to see if another program that could use OE is really running.
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/sysinternals/utilities/processexplorer.mspx
I tried turning off the antivirus - no help.

It turns out that thinkpads_user was on the right track.  I could move the messages from the "Sent items" folder, I just couldn't compact it.  I ended up created two additional folders - "OldSentPre2011" and "OldSent2011a" and moved the messages from "Sent Items" into each of the other folders based on date, keeping the most recent few months in the "Sent Items" folder.  After that the compact folders worked for all the folders.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
If I have pointed you in the right direction, should there not be some credit for that?  ... Thinkpads_User

Author

Commented:
I thought I had done so, but being a new user I probably goofed.

So, how do I give you some credit?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
No problem at all.

Pick one of my answers near the top. There is a link: Was this comment helpful and click yes. There may also be a link at the bottom of the post: Accept and award points.  The closure options are in there. You may want to give an Assist as I did not anwser your question bang on.  See this link for help.

http://www.experts-exchange.com/help.jsp#hs=29&hi=407

... Thinkpads_User

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Commented:
The experts pointed me in the right direction and I ending up taking it from there
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)
Most Valuable Expert 2012
Expert of the Year 2018

Commented:
Thank you dcpwebber - I was very pleased to help you.  .... Thinkpads_User

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