messages disappeared from Outlook Express (Inbox) e-mail account

Most of my messages "Inbox floder" has simply disappeared from my Outlook Express email.  There were some files with images on them that I really want to come back. I want to know if I can get back them on my PC and if so, how could I do.


Two reasons the most common for what you describe is disruption of the compacting process, (never touch anything until it's finished), or bloated folders. More about that below.

Why OE insists on compacting folders when I close it? :

Why mail disappears:

About file Corruption:

Recovery tools:

If you use XP/SP2 or SP3, and are fully patched, then you should have a backup of your dbx files in the Recycle Bin (or possibly the message store), copied as bak files.

To restore a folder bak on the message store folder, first find the location of the message store.

Tools | Options | Maintenance | Store folder will reveal the location of your Outlook Express files. Note the location and navigate on it in Explorer Windows or, copy and paste in start | Run.

In Windows XP, the .dbx files are by default marked as hidden. To view these files in the Solution Explorer, you must enable Show hidden files and folders under start | Control Panel | Folder options | View.

Close OE and in Windows Explorer, click on the dbx to the file missing or empty file, then drag it to the desktop. It can be deleted later once you have successfully restored the bak file. Minimize the message store.

Open OE and, if the folder is missing, create a folder with the * exact * same name as the bak file you want to restore but without the .bak. For example: If the file is Saved.bak, the new folder should be named saved. Open the new folder, and then close OE. If the folder is there, but just empty, continue to the next step.

First of all, check if there is a bak file already in the message. If there is, and you have removed the dbx file, go ahead and rename it in dbx.

If it is not already in the message, open the trash and do a right-click on the file bak for the folder in question and click on restore. Open the message store up and replace the .bak by .dbx file extension. Close the message store and open OE. Messages must be in the folder.

If messages are restored successfully, you can go ahead and delete the old dbx file that you moved to the desktop.
If you have not then bak copies of your dbx files in the Recycle Bin:

DBXpress run in extract disc Mode is the best chance to recover messages:

And see:

A general warning to help avoid this in the future:

Do not archive mail in default OE folders. They finally are damaged. Create your own folders defined by the user for mail storage and move your mail to them. Empty the deleted items folder regularly. Keep user created folders under 300 MB, and also empty as is possible to default folders.

Disable analysis in your e-mail anti-virus program. It is a redundant layer of protection that devours the CPUs, slows down sending and receiving and causes a multitude of problems such as time-outs, account setting changes and has even been responsible for the loss of messages. Your up-to-date A / V program will continue to protect you sufficiently. For more information, see:

And backup often.

Outlook Express Quick Backup (OEQB Freeware)

Bruce Hagen MS - MVP [Mail]

Tags: Windows

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    Its quite likely that the files got filled with zeros where were the messages.  Often happens when users leave their files get above a few hundred megabytes.  Your 1.52 gigabyte file was a disaster time.

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    [Moved from comments]


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    Spend most of your messages out of the Inbox, if you can and move the messages you want to record off deleted items, and sent items. Locate the OE message store and then close OE.

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    1: tools | Options | Maintenance | Advanced | Store folder will show you the path to the Windows Mail message store. You may be able to remove the Messages recovered there. Do it with closed WinMail.

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    Credit: J. W. Stewart

    Releasing it's easy: with Windows | ActiveWin | Laptops | Microsoft MVP

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    HAL Hostetler, TCE
    Engineer senior/UPDATED--MS MVP-Print/Imaging - WA7BGX - KVOA television, Tucson, AZ.
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