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recovering lost email in outlook express after "compacting"

Posted on 2012-08-12
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Last Modified: 2012-09-17
I have outlook express 6 for a email client, I was getting reminded to compact my email messages every one in a while so I said yes and let it compact my my messages ... now I don't seel any email other than new email that has come in since I compacted the mail. Does anyone know how to get my messages back ... please help
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Question by:jploessl
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 38285418
There needs to be as much free space as the size of the largest .dbx file for it to be successfully compacted, and the maximum size for .dbx files is 2GB. To keep from going beyond that limit, you should move email you want to save to other folders that you make for that purpose. e.g. don't just move them all to the Received folder, or soon that folder will grow to more than 2GB. Note that only records of emails that have been moved or deleted are actually compacted out of the inbox.dbx file.

Tools->Options->Maintenance->Store Folder will show you the location of your OE files.

Navigate to that location in Windows Explorer.
 
OE user files (DBX and WAB) are usually hidden, so to view those files in Explorer, you must enable Show Hidden Files and Folders under Tools->Folder Options->View.

How many 'inbox' files do you see there, and what are their sizes?

There is a recovery tool an MS MVP wrote - http://www.oehelp.com/DBXpress/Default.aspx
but microsoft provides nothing for this purpose, officially.
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 38285614
jploessl--With luck you may find the messages in Recycle Bin as .bak files
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/918069/en-us
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Expert Comment

by:chcw
ID: 38286137
First of all, you should make a backup of your dbx file corresponding to your Outlook Express folder immediately. Below is a link explaining how to find the dbx file:

http://www.datanumen.com/aoer/finddbx.htm

After that, you can run some third party tools to repair and recover emails from the dbx file, below is one of them:

http://www.datanumen.com/aoer/

There is a free demo so you can try first.
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38286714
here agood article about all you want on OE
personally, i would copy the whole OE folder, with all dbx files -  if you find them

here some ideas :
from MS     http://support.microsoft.com/kb/918069
http://www.windowsbbs.com/microsoft-mail-outlook-outlook-express-windows-mail/62228-outlook-express-messages-lost-when-i-compacted.html
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Author Comment

by:jploessl
ID: 38287456
I did find som .bak files in the recycle bin ... how do I recover them
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LVL 93

Expert Comment

by:nobus
ID: 38288033
in the recycle bin, you have the option to put files back
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Accepted Solution

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jcimarron earned 2000 total points
ID: 38288599
jploessl--
"I did find som .bak files in the recycle bin ... how do I recover them"
First of all, do not empty the Recycle Bin until you have successfully recovered the missing files.

Instructions are given in
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/918069/en-us 

as first mentioned in http:#a38285614 .

Starting about half way down

"1.Exit Outlook Express.
2.On the desktop, double-click the Recycle Bin icon.
3.Locate the backup file. The file should have a name that resembles mail_folder_name.bak.

Note In this file name, mail_folder_name corresponds to the mail folder that is missing in Outlook Express. If more than one file is corrupted, you may have to restore more than one file. When this occurs, the Recycle Bin contains more than one mail_folder_name.bak file.
4.Right-click each Outlook Express backup file, and then click Restore. The file is restored to the %userprofile%\local settings\application data\identities\user guid\microsoft\outlook express\ folder.

Notes¿In this path, %userprofile% is typically C:\Documents and Settings\user_name.
¿In this path, user guid resembles {05A26C0D-1173-4013-84A0-EAC2A1FE40F6}.
¿If more than one identity profile is used with Outlook Express, there may be more than one user guid. Each unique user guid corresponds to a separate profile.

5.Locate the %userprofile%\local settings\application data\identities\user guid\microsoft\outlook express\ folder.

Note This path contains hidden folders. If you want to view this folder, enable the Show hidden files and folders option in Folder Options.

If the %userprofile%\local settings\application data\identities\user guid\microsoft\outlook express\ folder contains a mail_folder_name.dbx file that is the same as the file that you want to restore, move the existing mail_folder_name.dbx file to a different folder. You can delete this file after you successfully restore your e-mail items.
6.Right-click mail_folder_name.bak, and then click Rename.
7.Change the .bak file name extension to .dbx.
8.Start Outlook Express. Your e-mail items should be restored.
If e-mail is missing from more than one folder, you may have to follow these steps for multiple backup files. If Outlook Express does not start, you may have to follow these steps to restore the Folders.dbx file. You can delete the .bak files from the Recycle Bin when you are sure that the database was successfully compacted."
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LVL 44

Expert Comment

by:Darr247
ID: 38289166
As I noted in http:#a38285418 you can find the exact path to your OE files by going to (in OE)
Tools -> Options -> Maintenance -> Store Folder

The compact function will not delete your emails... it may corrupt the file that contains them, but it won't delete the inbox.dbx file... if that file is corrupted somehow, it will stay in the store folder, and OE will create a new one, named e.g. Inbox (2).dbx, the next time it starts... that's why I asked how many 'inbox' files you found in the store location.
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Author Comment

by:jploessl
ID: 38289258
it shows 3 inbox files with the .bak extension but only one with the .dbx extension currently ..
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 38290224
jploessl--Just follow the procedure I posted twice earlier.  
http:#a38288599
That should fix things.
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 38308251
jploessl--Any luck so far?
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Expert Comment

by:LeeTutor
ID: 38396436
I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

Not enough information to confirm an answer.
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 38396437
LeeTutor--There certainly seems to be enough info in http:#a38288599 when jploessl has told us he found the .bak files in the Recycle Bin.
This is a standard fix for Outlook Express.
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 38399559
In the original question, jploessl  said "I don't seel any email other than new email that has come in since I compacted the mail." and then asked.
"Does anyone know how to get my messages back ... please help "
I suggested jploessl look for .bak files in the Recycle Bin in http:#a38285614.  The answer was that .bak files were found and then jploessl asked how to recover them.
I told jploessl "how" in detail in http:#a38288599 .
This is a well known problem and solution in Outlook Express, substantiated by
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/918069/en-us

The other solutions offered do not deal with OE message files lost specifically after compacting or with .bak message files in the Recycle Bin.

Recommendation:
3) Accept one or more Expert posts as the answer.  Specifically http:#a38288599
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