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Posted on 2011-10-08
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Last Modified: 2012-06-27
I had to do a full reinstall of XP; lost everything. I

I had saved my address book, inbox & sent items on an external disk drive.

I saved the inbox & sent items as .dbx file. I tried to import them, using File, Import, messages. Doesn't work.

How do I do that?

I saved my address book as a csv file. It let me import it but it soreted by first name, not last. I can't figure out
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Question by:Richard Korts
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LVL 39

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 36936343
Hi rkorts

Address Book first.
View menu > Sort By > Name, Last Name, Ascending.

Your Import from DBX should have followed these screenshots:

File > Import > Messages:
Be sure to choose the Outlook Express v6 option from the list:
 . .It is quite normal to see this field blank.  You are browsing to your saved *.DBX files.
 .Choose the folder containing your *.DBX files (yes I know I have very old backups!)
 .The next dialog just shows a confirmation of the path to the DBX files:
 .Seeing as you have only two DBX files to import it should just show them in the list.  You can import them one at a time or use the All option:
 .I cannot recall what comes next, but I didn't want to proceed as I am doing this on my current Outlook Express and don't want to import from an old backup.  It should work if you got this far and you should be guided if it has additional steps.

Close and reopen Outlook Express once the import wizard completes.

If this doesn't work, then obtain the path to your "Store Folder":

Tools > Options > Maintenance tab > click "Store Folder" button > scroll over and copy the path > Click Cancel.
CLOSE OE.
Start Menu > Run > Paste the copied path  Enter.
Rename Inbox.dbx and Sent Items.dbx, changing the extensions to *.OLD or similar.
Copy your backed up DBX files into this folder.
Open OE, close it, and reopen again.

That SHOULD repoplate your folders UNLESS the DBX files are "Read-Only", in which case it usually throws an error.

Once happy, you can delete the renamed DBX files.

Hope this helps.
Bill
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 36936349
Outlook Express will happily read in / import its own files (the .DBX files). If you lost everything, your email may have been corrupted which would explain why you cannot read the files.

Set up Outlook Exprees and see where it puts the new inbox in c:\docs and settings\users\local\...\microsoft\identiites. Look for the exact location, but it is there under identiities.

Now, if you have the prior inbox, try copying it into the OE folder you found above. See then if OE opens it.

.... Thinkpads_User
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Assisted Solution

by:BillDL
BillDL earned 600 total points
ID: 36936388
If the Address Book doesn't sort properly even after doing the View menu > Sort By > Name, Last Name, Ascending, then it is possible that the database fields were wrongly mapped on import (or on export to *.CSV) and that the Last name is in now the First Name field and vice versa.

Your Windows Address Book is a database file and you can have more than one, but only one will be your default Outlook Express one.  You will find the default Address Book as a *.WAB file in the name of your Login identity in the folder:
C:\Documents and Settings\YOUR_NAME\Application Data\Microsoft\Address Book
The path to and the name of the default *.WAB file is set in the registry.

It's easy to create a new *.WAB file Windows XP by default should have "Address Book ("*.WAB)" on the Right-Click > New menu.  You can practice on as many new address books as you would like until you get the import from *.CSV file working.  Once you get one working, just rename your default WAB in the path above to something else and then copy in the good one, renaming it to the original default name.  It is normal to see another file named "YourName.wab~" in the same folder.  It is a temporary file that you can safely delete.
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Author Comment

by:Richard Korts
ID: 36936535
To billdl,

Thanks. Your step through to import the messages is EXACTLY what I did, it fails. The message is "No messages can be found in this folder, etc.". There are two dbx files in that folder exported earlier on this same computer.

Crazy.

You explanation on the address book was perfect, that worked.

I really need to get my messages back. Is there any other way?

Thanks
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 36936547
Did you try puting the inbox.dbx file directly in the newly created folder as per above?  If you did (let us know) and if that fails, your messages may have gone with the initial failure.

... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:Richard Korts
ID: 36936631
To thinkpads_user:

No, I didn't do that, so I went there now.

There are 3 different identities, the latest one is date Oct. 2008, with a VERY large inbox, sent items, etc.

I'm completely confused because since I opened up OE yesterday, there are 30 or so messages that came in, you would think that mailbox would be small.

So it appears there is NO identify for what happened since yesterday, three old identities.

I have NO CLUE what to do.

Thanks
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Accepted Solution

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John Hurst earned 1400 total points
ID: 36936649
Something appears to be messed up (in addition to the failure).

What I would do is first backup (securely somewhere else) ALL the identities folders. Do this so you have whatever you can salvage.

Now open OE and see what mail you have. Close and confirrm where that identities folder is. Then see if you can import old mail.

You may have lost some mail, but salvage what you can. ... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:Richard Korts
ID: 36936668
To thinkpads_user:

How does backing them up change anything?

Do you mean back them up & then delete them?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 36936678
Backing them up ensures you have them in the event of an error, that's all. It is easy to make a mistake.

Once you have recovered whatever email you can, then yes, I would delete superfluous identiites. You have them backed up, after all.

But backing up will not change the dbx files either. ... Thinkpads_User
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Author Comment

by:Richard Korts
ID: 36936704
To thinkpads_user:

Are you saying back them up and THEN copy the saved inbox.dbx file?

To which one?

Isn't there some way for OE to tell what identrity it's working with?
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 36936712
>>> re you saying back them up and THEN copy the saved inbox.dbx file?  <-- yes

The reason I asked you to open OE and the close it is that it will put today's date on the inbox.dbx file. It shouldn't do that to old identities.  ... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 36936727
Aaaah.  A different slant on this.  You initially stated:
"I had to do a full reinstall of XP ..."whereas it now appears that this was a "Repair Install" given that you have:
"3 different identities, the latest one is date Oct. 2008, with a VERY large inbox, sent items, etc."

Be aware that there is often no direct correlation between the file size of the DBX file and the number of messages still visible in it.  They retain loads of old email data long after you deleted the messages, but Folder Compaction gets rid of the extraneous data when performed.  So, file size often depends on when the folders were last compacted.

Can you change into these old identities from within Outlook Express and see the email messages?:
File menu > Switch Identities.
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Expert Comment

by:☠ MASQ ☠
ID: 36936734
Have you already tried simply overwriting the empty .DBX files in the new OE install?

Always work from a copy of your back up

1) Launch OE
2) Find the file storage location
3) Shut OE
4) Copy your backed up OE files to that location - overwriting the existing empty .dbx files
5) Restart OE

http://www.insideoe.com/files/store.htm

If you've already used OE on this machine beware this will overwrite any mail you've downloaded since the install.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 36936736
I'll back out and leave you to continue with the current flow, thinkpads.
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Author Comment

by:Richard Korts
ID: 36936788
To thinkpads_user & BillDL

I figured it out.

There are two separate instances of "Me" under Documents & Settings, one I made yesterday & one from before. For whatever reason, OE is looking at the one made yesterday.

So, using the NEW one, I did this:

(1) Marked everything in the new inbox as deleted (so OE moved all those messages to the Deleted items folder).

(2) copied the saved inbox.dbx to that place.

(3) Moved all the deleted items back to inbox. It worked perfect, all the old stuff is there. For sent items, just copied the whole thing from the saved (there were only two new in the sent items).
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Author Closing Comment

by:Richard Korts
ID: 36936805
See last response.

Thanks for your help, the clue that told me I wasn't looking in the right place was in the 3 identities I could find, the last date on the inbox was Oct 5, the date BEFORE I started this nightmare.

So I'm now OK with OE, on to all the other problems.
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 36936839
Thank you and thanks for the update. I was pleased to assist. ... Thinkpads_User
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 36938412
Thank you rkorts.  Good workaround you used there, and I'm pleased it got the job done.  Once you have cleaned up old identities, can I suggest a simple little OE backup program and a standalone DBX message viewer:

Outlook Express Quick backup (OEQB) by Outlook Express MVP named Majik:
http://www.oehelp.com/oebackup/default.aspx
http://www.oehelp.com/oebackup/oeqb.htm
It may be just as easy to create a batch file that copies out your DBX files to a neutral folder and then exports the relevant Registry keys that contain your Mail Rules, configured accounts, etc.  Be aware that any new installation of Windows will create a new Outlook Express Identity {GUID} number, so for any *.REG files you have from a previous backup you will have to do a Find and Replace on that {GUID} before importing the *.REG files.

Standalone viewer for backed up DBX files by Michal Mutl:
http://www.mitec.cz/mailview.html
http://www.mitec.cz/Downloads/MailView.zip
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Author Comment

by:Richard Korts
ID: 36939241
To BillDL:

Thanks, I will check those out.
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