Easy Way To Delete Outlook Express Duplicates

Posted on 2012-03-24
Last Modified: 2012-04-10
I have a client that imported a set of old mail folders and new mail folders (DBX files) from old OE6 installations into a new machine.

There are SOME duplicates in SOME of the folders.  

Is there a good (maybe free?) utility that will delete duplicate emails in the same folder in OE6.
Question by:gta2011

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by:Insignificant Volunteer
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gta2011 and mayureshtodankar

Just so you are aware, I am not altogether sure of the accuracy of the "Duplicate Remover For Outlook Express" application.  I installed it in my WinXP SP3 system.

It installed fine, gave me a new shortcut in the start menu, loaded properly, and obviously queried my Outlook Express "Store Folder" because it correctly presented me with the list of available Outlook Express folders in the left pane.

So far so good, but on searching one folder containing 1,858 simple messages in which I know with certainty that there are no actual duplicates, the application presented me with 6 messages that are supposedly duplicated, and a further two that are supposedly triplicated.  In the application's Status Bar it shows "10 duplicates and 8 originals found", and I'm not sure that I trust the arithmetic involved there.

I noted the subject lines of the ones that were notified as "replicated" and sorted the contents of the folder in Outlook Express on the Subject Line column.  I can clearly see that the subject lines are not duplicated.

This is a folder of email messages from Experts-Exchange notifying that one of my comments was accepted.  I keep this to refer back to questions from time to time, and I have a mail rule that sorts them from incoming mail and moves them to that folder.  The Subject lines do all start with "Good Answer!", and the recipient details are the same, however the remainder of the subject lines for all the messages in that folder are unique.  In general all the messages are 3KB in size.

I cannot understand where this software is digging up an extra one, and in some cases two, replicated messages in one folder when they don't exist.  This cannot have anything to do with the DBX files needing "compacted" and still having residual duplicates, because duplicates never existed in that one folder to begin with.  The only thing I can think of is that there is some residual data in that DBX file from occasions over the last few years where I have accidentally deleted one of the messages in that folder to the "Deleted Items" folder and then dragged it back to its original folder to restore it.  These folders have been compacted many, many times since that last happened to me though.  Perhaps the software is finding that data, but it certainly doesn't exist as actual visible messages.

Personally I would NOT trust this software to to a batch delete of duplicates based on the options in the "Removal Settings".  With that said, however, it would still be interesting to see what messages show as duplicates on your client's computer.

Unfortunately I don't have any better ideas to do what you need.  The method I have used previously, which involves extracting the messages from a copy of the DBX file to separate *.eml files, would give a pretty quick verification of duplicates, but the problem is when the *.eml files are dragged and dropped into a new folder in Outlook Express the sent/received dates can be screwed up badly.

I will uninstall the Outlook Express Duplicate Removal Tool from my system now.
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I think Outlook express itself has the option to prevent duplicates when importing mail. Only the source and destination of the mail folders must be the same.
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senad: how can the source and destination be the same>

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BillDL: than what do you recommend I use?
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Hi gta2011

Unfortunately, as I mentioned after testing out the "outlook express duplicate message remover" utility program previously suggested, I don't have any better ideas.

Don't take my own tests as absolute fact though.  I have tested it on my own system with my own emails, and perhaps your client's computer may differ.  It might be worth at least installing it and running it just to see what it throws up.

There is another program that comes from a guy who is very well versed in all things Outlook Express (Stephen Cochran Ph.D MS-MVP), but it's retail and costs $25:
It is designed primarily to enhance the limitations of Outlook Express with additional features, and the first one mentioned is removal of duplicate messages.

Whether this would be worth the money and benefit the user beyond the initial needs to justify the purchase is something I cannot say because I haven't tested this application myself, but perhaps if you emailed the software author and quoted my findings with the other utility, he may be able to inform you how his application may be more accurate in finding duplicate messages that actually are duplicates.  I have no objection to you copying my post and emailing him the query.

I must be honest here and say that I have never experienced issues with duplicate messages when importing DBX files into Outlook Express.  I DID have this happen when I imported into (trying to remember if it was ...) Windows Live Mail or Outlook.  It was a while ago, and I believe I was able to filter out the duplicates using the sort options.

I am not sure what senad is referring to either about the source and destination being the same.

I HAVE had many issues importing Windows Address Books, but that's a completely different thing.

In your client's circumstances I MAY be tempted to buy the "OEX" application, but ONLY IF I was able to find out from the author (or via reviews) HOW and HOW WELL it identifies duplicates.  Failing that, and being a suspicious person by nature, I would probably just plough my way through each folder sorting alternately on date and subject line columns to visually identify duplicates.  I would probably create a new folder and move the duplicates there as I found them.  If it turned out that every message in a particular folder had a duplicate, then it could end up just being a case of Ctrl + Click on every other line.

You are aware of the "Copy To" and "Move To" toolbar buttons that can be added to the default Toolbar in OE while in message view?  I rarely ever see people with those two buttons showing, but they are a lot handier than using the same options on the Edit menu.

Sorry, but I don't really know what else to suggest, but I will be very interested to know what senad can tell us with regard to preventing duplicates while importing.

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Thank you gta2011

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