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  1. #1
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    Disappearing messages in Outlook Express 6

    My friend has XP with SP3 and uses 0utlook Express Version 6. The last time she opened the program it listed 91 items in her Inbox (i.e. in the folder list (91) is shown next to Inbox) but if she opens her Inbox there are no messages displayed. The same thing has happened to most of her other mail folders. I tried to search for the message store, but the only thing I could find were various .dbx files, the names of which correspond to the names of her OE folders. I tried to import the contents of those files, using the OE import wizard,but that didn't work.

    I would greatly appreciate URGENT help about this.

    Thanks and regards,
    Roy

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    With the Inbox highlighted, go to View>Current View and make sure "Show all Messages" is ticked.

    Jerry

  4. #3
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    Jerry,

    Thanks-I tried that but it made no difference.

    Any other ideas?

    Please advise.

    Thanks and regards,
    Roy

  5. #4
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    Is she accessing her email via any other devices such as a smartphone?

    Joe

  6. #5
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    Joe, the answer is no, but thanks for the thought.

    I sincerely hope you or another member can come up with an answer.

    Regards,Roy

  7. #6
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    I tried another approach.I used a program called oemailrecovery which recovered emails from the OE .dbx folders.I then saved the recovered emails and dragged them to the relevant folders in OE.This worked,apart from the Inbox i.e. not all the missing emails from that were recovered.

    I assumed the OE problem arose either because my friend had unsent messages in her Outbox,which had been there for some time because the attachments were too large,(if she had told me I could have told her to send the attachments by YouSendIt instead of OE) or because just before the problem arose OE ran the compacting the database routine.Knowing OE to be "fragile" I used my friend's XP machine and tried to download Windows Live Essentials with a view to installing Windows Live Mail. As I expected I got a message saying the version I was trying to download was not compatible with XP,but to my surprise the website gave me a link to download the XP version. (I didn't know there was one).The link is:

    http://explore.live.com/windows-live-mail-xp

    I downloaded the installer and installed Windows Live Mail for XP and when I ran the program it automatically imported messages from OE with no intervention from me. The only problem then was that, apart from all the folders my friend had before, "Recovered" folders appeared, and I had to drag all of the messages from those into the correct folders and then delete the "Recovered" folders.

    The only thing I am concerned about now is that the OE message store from which Windows Live Mail imported messages was obviously corrupted, and that the same thing may have happened to the WLM message store as a result of the OE corruption,hence the "Recovered" folders appearing.

    My question is if I put a copy of the WLM message store somewhere, to be on the safe side,and then delete the original WLM message store file, will WLM create a new message store the next time I open WLM? (I have an up to date backup of the C:/Users/Maria/Appdata/Local/Microsoft/Windows Live Mail folder on an external drive).

    I would greatly appreciate advice on this.

    Regards,Roy

  8. #7
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    Roy
    The reason, that I found, for OE email corruption was like this. You are on email and you are finished the session so you close OE and you are finished on the machine. So you initiate a shutdown but simultaneously OE does a database compaction. The shutdown proceeds and the compaction fails. Next time you start OE you have lost emails because the OE database files are corrupted. There are probably other scenarios but that was the one that happened to me more than once. There used to be a whole industry out there selling OE mail recovery programs at about $30.

    I think (but do not know) that the Recovered folders are WLM finding some or all of the previously unrecoverable emails. It may be able to recover the database files that OE could not do for itself. When the OE corruption happens OE ignores the corrupted folder files and creates new ones which are usually empty. There is one file for each OE email folder and they are named after the OE email folders plus there is also an index file. The folder files have a dbx file extension. If you can find the OE DBX files (OE will tell you where they are) it is quite obvious which ones are corrupted. I can't remember much detail as I left XP as soon as Vista XP1 came out.

    I can't answer your last question because I have no experience with WLM (I use Outlook) and I can't quite understand the question. It sounds like you want to delete all of your WLM emails by deleting the message store?

    Sorry I can't be more helpful but I thought the means of corruption may be of interest.

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    What I read here really irks me so please forgive my $0.02 un-worth of chiming in here:

    Considering the malware situation out there and the many spammy emails around I believe it is next to irresponsible at this time and day in a home environment to still use ANY Microsoft email programs, no matter whether they be called OE, WLM or Outlook (Exception if connection to a corporate Outlook system is required).

    My many customers almost all use Thunderbird and they hardly have any but handling problems. Yes, I know, Thunderbird has it's own set of problems eventually.

    Pardon my rambling.

  11. #9
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    Moving Windows Live Mail "Message Store"

    Instructions for moving the location where Windows Live Mail stores e-mails on your PC.

    Note: I suggest that you start by going to File and below that "Work offline." This will insure that no messages are lost while you move the folders.

    Click on Tools, and below that Options.
    Click the "Advanced" tab, and then the "Maintenance" button near the bottom.
    On the next window that pops up, click on "Store Folder" near the middle.
    You will get a pop up that shows where your messages are stored now.
    Make a note of this folder location/name.
    If you want to change the location of the data, click on "Change" and navigate to the new location.

    I don't know if WLM will actually move the data. Shut down and restart WLM. If you do not see the old e-mails, then shut down WLM and manually copy the old folders to the new location. Restart WLM and you should see your e-mails. If all is ok, then click on File and then "Work online."

  12. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by eikelein View Post
    What I read here really irks me so please forgive my $0.02 un-worth of chiming in here:

    Considering the malware situation out there and the many spammy emails around I believe it is next to irresponsible at this time and day in a home environment to still use ANY Microsoft email programs, no matter whether they be called OE, WLM or Outlook (Exception if connection to a corporate Outlook system is required).

    My many customers almost all use Thunderbird and they hardly have any but handling problems. Yes, I know, Thunderbird has it's own set of problems eventually.
    For a long time, OE has been known to be susceptible to database corruption. FWIW, I've used various Microsoft email clients and webmail for over fifteen years. I have never had an issue with malware from an email. I get a ton of spam at work, less at home and for me the spam filter in Outlook is adequate. Yes, I'd like it to adapt to my preferences but it is adequate. There is an additional spam filter running on our Exchange server at work. I disagree if you think the current Microsoft email clients are more susceptible to spam than other clients.

    Joe

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    Roy, you wrote -"The last time she opened the program it listed 91 items in her Inbox (i.e. in the folder list (91) is shown next to Inbox)"

    I believe the number (91) is not the total number of messages in the inbox, but the number of 'unread' messages. If your friend has 91 unread messages, she may have many, many more 'read' messages in her in box. In my experience, huge numbers of messages in folders can lead to corrupted folders in OE. I would recommend some regular maintenance of deleting read or unwanted messages from the inbox folder. Also, make sure the 'sent' and 'deleted' folders are policed. I have seen users with thousands of messages left in their 'deleted' folders. They just weren't aware of the two step process of deleting unwanted messages.

  14. #12
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    Thank you for all the comments.

    I did realise the 91 shown next to inbox in the folder list referred to the number of unread messages and also realise the importance of policing the sent and deleted folders, and of deleting read or unwanted messages from the inbox. I do this regularly on my computer and regularly log in to my ISP'S webmail site and clear out messages from my message box there. I will do this for my friend's emails in future because however many times I tell her she will never get round to doing it.

    Coincidentally, I just had Windows Live Mail crash on my Win 7 32 bit machine. Being wise after the event I realised the cause. I use a program called The Ultimate Troubleshooter, which in every other respect I find very useful, but using the Housekeeping tool in that program can be dangerous. I found this out to my cost a few years ago, but had forgotten in the meantime as its been so long since I used it.
    I was not too worried about the crash, because I had an up to date system image from which I could copy the relevant folder, by mounting the image as a VHD and then opening it in Explorer, and also had a separate current backup on an external drive. However, I did not use either of these options. Out of sheer curiosity I opened Programs and Features in Control Panel, selected Windows Live Essentials, right clicked it and then clicked uninstall/change, and then clicked Repair. Hey presto, after a few minutes the repair completed and Windows Live Mail worked again with all my folders and messages intact. I mention this in case it helps others who experience a similar problem.

    Thanks again to all who contributed.

    Regards,Roy

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    Quote Originally Posted by bd1235 View Post
    Roy
    The reason, that I found, for OE email corruption was like this. You are on email and you are finished the session so you close OE and you are finished on the machine. So you initiate a shutdown but simultaneously OE does a database compaction. The shutdown proceeds and the compaction fails. Next time you start OE you have lost emails because the OE database files are corrupted. There are probably other scenarios but that was the one that happened to me more than once. There used to be a whole industry out there selling OE mail recovery programs at about $30.

    ...........
    To prevent that, tell OE to ask before it compacts its database.

  16. #14
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    Interestingly enough I had my OE6 folders disappear. The default folders were there with the messages but approx. 10 folders and a years worth of emails were in each folders. I haven't used Windows Live email. I tried to import from my backup HD but nothing happened. Eventually I created a second email folder, moved my backup to that folder and then was able to import into the OE6 email. Still don't know what caused the mess, just glad it got sorted out.
    Best Regards.

  17. #15
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    Thanks for all the interesting comments.

    Regarding the comment from bd1235 in post#7,I will try again to make myself clear. I seem to recall reading ,some years back,that if you closed Outlook Express and then deleted the Message Store, after keeping a copy elsewhere for safety, and then reopened OE, it would create a new uncorrupted Message Store. I realise this sounds too good to be true, and that my memory is probably wrong about this, but does anyone have any knowledge of this happening?

    Regarding gregandrene's comment in post#13, what steps would I have to take in Outlook Express to make it ask before it compacts the database, and is it possible to do the same thing in Windows Live Mail?

    Advice would be appreciated.

    Thanks and regards,Roy

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