Outlook Express 6 messages won't transfer to new client

I transferred a customer from WinXP to Win7. His mail client was Outlook Express and we were converting to Windows Live Mail. I transferred the mail but all of the messages did not transfer. All of the folders did, but not all of the messages in the folders. I tried again on the old PC. I installed Outlook 2003 and tried this way. Similar results. I get the folders but not all of the messages. Any ideas?
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Transfer from Outlook Express to Outlook 2003 should work (I have moved everything from Outlook Express to Outlook 2002 with no issue).

My guess is there is too much email, that is, the size of the emails exceeds OE capacity. Another thought is that OE has done a cleanup.

Does Outlook Express still open? Try this, move some email in larger folders to a new folder. That is, reorganize the mail. Then try importing again to Outlook 2003.
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
None of the files exceed OE limits so this shouldn't be an issue. Only one file is above 1GB. All of the mail is still available in OE.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I would try copying the mail to new folders and trying again. Something is wrong or it would work,
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jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
Are you saying create new folders in OE and transfer the existing messages to those folders and then try the transfer again?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Yes, that is what I am saying. I hope space permits. OE has a limit just short of 2 GB, and so you might have issues.

Outlook 2007 has a much bigger limit than Outlook 2003. Can you try importing in Outlook 2007?
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
Yes it has a limit but that is per file. It will just be labor intensive.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The overall limit for OE is just short of 2 GB. The limit for an Outlook 2003 PST file is 2 GB. So this might be your issue. Try a newer version of Outlook (2007 or newer).
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
I have used OE on customers computers for years. OE has files on the drive for each folder in OE. Each of the files has the limit. So you have 1.98GB for Inbox, 1.98GB for Sent Items, Deleted, Job # 45, etc. I have had many near 2GB files/folders in a users OE. It isn't a combined total. An example would be a customer that wants to keep history. When the Inbox, Sent Items, or whatever folder would near the limit the old file would be renamed in Windows and OE would create a replacement for the missing file. In this way all of the previous files would be intact and the new file would begin building. This has been discussed on the web for years.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
From my experience, that overdrives OE and you will definitely need a newer version of Outlook to make the conversion.
Can I just take you back to the start of the process and confirm the methods you are using to (a) "export" from OE and (b) import to Windows Live Mail.  I would guess from what you have said that you have migrated and helped others to migrate messages from OE to WLM many times before, but I think it is important to establish what method you are using to ensure we are all on the same wavelength.

My method has always been to copy the "Outlook Express" folder from the correct OE identity's Store Folder, eg.
C:\Documents and Settings\<USERNAME>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{long-guid-number}\Microsoft\Outlook Express
to an external USB hard drive and use that as the source to locate when importing the messages to WLM on the new computer, just as described in this well illustrated page:


with the exception that I usually select "All Folders" where the screenshot in Step 9 depicts the dialog.  I have only ever had to import folders one by one in unusual circumstances where it didn't work the first time around.

One thing I always do before copying out the folder of DBX files to external storage is "compact" all the folders, because I have had the odd issue here and there with larger DBX files (ie. those over about 1.5 GB) that have not been compacted first.

In the OE folder tree at the left collapse all of them up to the root "Outlook Express" folder at the top and then File menu > "Work Offline".
File menu again > Folder > "Compact All Folders".
Wait for the laborious process that grinds your computer down to a crawl to finish.
Close OE > Re-Open > Make sure messages and folders are still accessible before closing OE again and deleting the backup DBX files from the Recycle Bin.

Could you tell us whether the imported, but apparently unpopulated, folders that appeared in WLM were created under the "Imported Folder" (as shown in Step 10 in the page I linked to above).
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
I copy the OE files to a portable drive and connect it to the new PC. I usually copy them to the Users folder before importing them to Live mail. Yes they were imported under Imported Folder. After that I close down Live mail and copy the folders from Imported to the appropriate locations (Inbox, Sent, etc.) through windows. Live mail is then restarted and it begins to populate the messages as they should be. This is much faster than copying them through Live mail. With OE and Outlook 2003 I exported the messages from OE to a pst in Outlook.
I did not compact first. I will try this before I try John's suggestion as that will take quite a while. The compact may be lengthy as well but I can start it and it will run by itself.
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
The compact would not complete. I got an error stating that the folder was open by OE or another application. I looked the error up and it said to do a manual compact which was what I was trying to do. If that failed it said to create a new folder, move the messages to the folder, close OE, delete the faulty inbox dbx, restart OE which will recreate inbox.dbx, and move the messages to the new inbox. This also fails so I guess there is something wrong with OE. I will pick this back up Monday. It will be here when I get back.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Let us know on Monday, and see if you can find a newer version of Outlook to try. Also, based on your last post, there may be a problem between OE and your folders. If you can copy to different folders that may help.
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
It won't copy. I'm going to try with another OE.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You may have corrupted files. See what happens with another OE.
>>> I got an error stating that the folder was open by OE or another application. <<<

I have only ever had that particular message if I have forgotten to collapse all the folders in the left pane, leaving a folder selected on the left and messages showing in the right pane, or have forgotten to set it to "offline" and it checks for new emails while it is compacting.  The error will refer to the folder that is selected and displaying the messages at the time, or to the DBX file being used while checking for new messages. I always set it like this before starting the compact process:
OE-HomePage.jpgPerhaps I have had few complications with compacting folders and migrating messages to other clients because I always have received and sent messages archived into multiple folders.

I have always filtered incoming emails using rules, so that messages sent to each of my configured POP3 accounts is automatically moved to folders named eg. "<Account_Name>_Inbox".  That keeps my "Inbox" fairly empty all the time.  When those separate folders become quite full I manually archive the messages into new folders for each year, by month, by subject matter, or by sender.  Let's say that I am archiving my busy "GMail_Inbox" by month and will be archiving messages received so far this year. I will create new folders named "GMail_Recd_2015_01" through to "GMail_Recd_2015_05" to reflect Jan to May.  I sort my "GMail_Inbox" folder by date received, do a multiple select for the January emails, and move that block of messages to the "GMail_Recd_2015_01" folder, etc, etc.   Some email accounts aren't busy enough to justify monthly archiving, so I do them by year.

I always close down and re-open Outlook Express after doing archiving like this, just to ensure that all the data is stored correctly in the new DBX files created for the new folders.  Maybe that's being paranoid, but it's a habit I've become used to.

All this archiving sounds very time consuming, but in practice it is actually fairly easy and quick to do.

Although there are a lot more DBX files to compact, they are smaller and it takes about the same time to complete as it would if all the messages were lumped together into fewer folders.  I have also had less errors compacting them and also migrating them to other clients.

Up until now you have been copying all the DBX files to another computer on which Windows Live Mail has already been installed.  It MIGHT be a good idea to install WLM on the same XP computer and then export the messages for migration to Live Mail on the Windows 7 computer.  During the installation, Windows Live Mail will look for an Outlook Express Store Folder and Windows Address Book, and prompt the user to import from them.  Once done, export from Windows Live Mail to a folder and use that as the import source for Windows Live Mail on the Win7 computer.  Maybe importing from the same format might work more successfully.
Another method I have used is to simply drag and drop messages out of Outlook Express into separate Windows Explorer folders as *.EML files, then drag them from those folders into new folders created in Windows Live Mail.

If you have any doubts about the integrity of the DBX files that have been exported from Outlook Express, you can use the following standalone mail reader to check that the messages are still readable.
Don't click the "Browse Current OE Store" in the opening dialog, click the "Browse" button:
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
Yesterday I followed the instructions from BillDL and ran another compact attempt which failed. I then copied the data files to another computer with OE and attempted a compact there with the same results. I then created a folder and attempted to copy the contents of the Inbox to it which also failed. The computer had Outlook 2007 installed on it and I proceeded to import the messages into Outlook 2007. The process completes but skips most of inbox. I imagine I am going to setup the old PC with a KVM so he can have access to the mail.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
If you could not import into Outlook 2007 (bigger mailbox size), you have some sort of corruption in the OE files. Normally it should move over fine and this is the only reason I know for this issue.
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
Yes and it wont allow a compact. I have already spent far more time than I will be compensated for so I am going ahead with my solution. Thanks for the responses.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Thanks for the update.

The old computer will sooner or later die. So the customer should email critical items to him/herself to the new computer. Then, inevitably, when the OE computer dies, they have their email.

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jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
Good idea.
jbcbussoftAuthor Commented:
I didn't realize this question was still open. There was no real fix for this problem. There were great suggestions and under normal circumstances they would have worked, but this was beyond ordinary. The work around was to take him back his old computer, disable the incoming mail so no more mail would get trapped in that black hole called Outlook Express 6. This would allow him to forward any mail he needed to himself. Thanks for the responses.
Thank you jbcbussoft
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