How to recover .dbx file

My outlook isn´t reading one folder. How to recover ?
Jose BredariolPMPAsked:
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Scott CSenior EngineerCommented:
RecoveryFix for Outlook Express can repair damaged DBX files.

Check it out...
http://www.en.dbxrecovery.net 

Here is a video on using  this tool: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jeAQFvdlbxA
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Clark KentSoftware Engineer cum BloggerCommented:
You should try this one:

http://download.cnet.com/SysTools-Outlook-Express-Restore/3000-2369_4-76176431.html

I found this one from the authorized vendors of CNET.

Cheers
Clark Kent
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BillDLCommented:
Jose

I have not tried any of the DBX recovery applications, because I tend to fix things manually.

How large is the *.DBX file for the affected Outlook Express folder?

To open the folder containing your *.DBX files, do the following in Outlook Express:

Tools > Options > Maintenance > click "Store Folder" button.
In the small dialogue box that opens, you will see a path that extends beyond the width of the text field which will be:

C:\Documents and Settings\<USER_NAME>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{long-ID-number}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

Right-Click in the field > "Select All".
Right-Click > "Copy".

Cancel your way out of all the open dialogs and CLOSE Outlook Express.

Start Menu > Run.
Right-Click in the run field > "Paste" > press Enter or click "OK".
Every folder that shows in Outlook Express, including folders that you have made into sub-folders under a master folder, will have a corresponding *.DBX file with the same name as the folder.

WARNING:  It is always a good idea to create a backup of ALL the DBX files in a non-system folder somewhere before tinkering with anything.

If the affected folder's DBX file is anywhere near 2 GB (2,097,152 KB) in size, then it has probably exceeded the maximum size that Outlook Express can work with.  When this happens, Outlook Express can do lots of strange things, including failure to show any of the messages in that folder, not showing the folder at all, or even crashing Outlook Express completely.

The file "Folders.dbx" contains the mapping for all the DBX files to the folders as they show in Outlook Express.  Sometimes this file becomes corrupt.  If your issue is not to do with an oversized DBX file, then you can try deleting "Folders.dbx" while Outlook Express is closed, then restarting Outlook Express, shutting it, and starting it again.  This file will be recreated when you do this, and it might fix the problem.

Every 100 times that Outlook Express is closed down it will prompt you to "compact" your folders.  People have different opinions about whether this increases the chance of file corruption or prevents it.  My opinion is that it no maintenance process is risk-free, but the compaction process does create backup *.dbx files (in your Recycle Bin) when it compacts each.  Compacting can take a long while to complete, and it can slow your computer down to a very slow crawl after it completes, so a lot of people dismiss this prompt.

The problem with DBX files is that when you delete a message from within Outlook Express is is not always automatically deleted from the DBX file.  The old messages keep increasing the file size of the *.DBX file, and you can have a pretty big file even though you don't have many messages showing in the respective folder.  Compacting removes all these leftovers and reduces wasted space in between them.

If the affected folder's DBX file size has increased beyond the maximum size that Outlook Express can handle, sometimes it is not able to compact that folder OR it can cause corruption.  As long as you have backups of the DBX files you can always restore them if corruption does occur.

I would suggest that you perform a folder compact routine to see whether this fixes the problem.  Follow these steps:

RIGHT-Click on your Recycle Bin icon on the Desktop and choose "Properties".
Make sure that the box entitled "Do not move files to the recycle bin" IS NOT CHECKED.
(the compaction process will create backups of your DBX files here)

In Outlook Express, collapse the folder tree in the left pane completely and then click on the very top icon named "outlook Express" so that it shows the "home page" in the right pane instead of any messages in folders.  This is essential, because if you have a folder selected and it is showing the messages, usually that folder will not be compacted and you will be shown an error message.

File menu > "Work Offline".
(You don't want Outlook Express to be checking for and downloading new messages during this process)

File menu > Folder > "Compact All Folders".

You will see a small dialogue showing the progress.  As I said earlier, this can take ages and it is very memory intensive, so it will slow your computer down a lot after it completes.

DO NOT reboot, just in case there are any utilities that automatically empty the Recycle Bin when Windows is shut down or started up.

When complete, close Outlook Express and reopen it.  I usually do this twice.

If the problem is fixed, then that's fine.  Regular DBX backups, compacting, and keeping contents of folders organised should be done.

If any other folders appear to have been corrupted, then go back to the "Store Folder", RENAME the DBX file for that folder to something like *.BAD instead of *.DBX, and copy the backup into the Store Folder.

If all other folders are fine, but the affected one is still problematic, then I can suggest a manual method of extracting all the messages from the DBX file to *.EML files that can be dragged and dropped back into a new folder in Outlook Express.

One thing that might be helpful to know is whether you are able to view your messages when the DBX file is opened in a little 3rd-party mail viewer program:
http://www.mitec.cz/mailview.html
http://www.mitec.cz/Downloads/MailView.zip

Once unzipped, this is a single "MailView.exe" file with included "language" files (*.lng and *.txt).
When run it will show an "Open Wizard" dialog in front of the program window.
Choose the "Outlook Express Message Database" option.
DO NOT click on "Browse Current OE Store", but instead click the "Browse" (folder) icon at the right and browse to the folder containing A COPY OF your problem DBX file and open it.

For a DBX file with a lot of messages it might take a while, and unfortunately for a very large or corrupted DBX file it might fail, but it would be worth trying this to see whether all the messages are intact inside it.  I have another method of extracting *.EML messages if it fails to open in this program.

The program allows you to Right-Click > "Check All" messages and then save them out as *.EML files to a folder of choice ("Messages" menu > Save > "Email ...")

I hope this helps.  Let us know how you get on.
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Jose BredariolPMPAuthor Commented:
Thanks all
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BillDLCommented:
Thank you Jose, and good luck.

There is one important thing that I should have stressed when I was talking about deleting the file "Folders.dbx" to solve some issues.

I should have explained that this file not only contains the settings that maintain the nested folder structure as seen inside Outlook Express, but it also stores the lists of newsgroups on each news account, and the synchronization options for all subscribed newsgroups and IMAP accounts.

When Folders.dbx is deleted and automatically recreated, the nested folder structure (folders and sub-folders) will be flattened to separate folders.  Because of this some of the mail rules may need to be edited because the "paths" to the folders may have changed.  You would also lose all lists of newsgroups and all synchronization options.

References:
http://www.insideoe.com/files/store.htm
The whole site has loads of useful Outlook Express related information.
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