Outlook Express is the default e-mail client software that is included in Windows XP and Windows 2000. There is an issue with Outlook Express which may appear as if all e-mail messages have been lost. This usually occurs if Outlook Express has been shut down improperly---such as due to a power outage---or shut down in the middle of compacting folders---routine maintenance. However, the e-mails can usually be recovered quickly by following a simple procedure.
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Things you need
- Microsoft Windows XP computer
Open Outlook Express. Click the "File" menu, then click "Folders," and then click "Compact all folders." A window with a progress bar will appear and provide notification when the process has been completed.
Close and then reopen Outlook Express. If the email messages are still missing, proceed to the next step.
Close Outlook Express. Double-click the "Recycle Bin" icon located on the PC desktop. The "Recycle Bin" window will appear.
Right-click on any files that end in "dbx" and then click "Restore." Open Outlook Express and the email messages should now be accessible. If there are no "dbx" files present, proceed to the next step.
Right-click on each of the "bak" files located in the "Recycle Bin" that have the same name as the Outlook Express folders that are missing messages. Click "Restore" in the menu that appears.
Click the "Tools" menu in Outlook Express, then click "Options" and in the window that appears, click the "Maintenance" tab.
Click the "Store" button. Left-click and drag the mouse over the store folder path that is displayed to highlight the path and then right-click on the path and click "Copy" in the drop down menu that appears. Click the "OK" button, and then click the "OK" button again, and then close Outlook Express.
Click the "Start" button, and then click "My Computer, " and then click the "Tools" menu, and then "Folder Options." Click the "View" tab, and then click the "Show hidden files and folders" radio button, and then click the "OK" button.
Click the "Start" button, then click the "Run" box. Right-click in the "Run" box and click "Paste" in the menu that appears. Press the "Enter" key. The Outlook Express "store folder" window will appear.
Right-click on the "dbx" file that has the same name as the "bak" file that you just restored, and then click "Cut" in the drop down menu that appears. Right-click on the PC desktop and click "Paste."
Locate the "bak" file in the "store folder" window that you restored from the "Recycle Bin," and then right-click on the "bak" file and click "Rename."
Replace the "bak" suffix of the filename with "dbx" and press the "Enter" key. Start Outlook Express and the email messages should now be restored.
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