Outlook Express database repair tool

By AlbertLionheart
Jan 8, 2009
  1. Anyone able to suggest a decent free tool to repair a damaged OE database?
    All I can find are so called free registry fixers....
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 8,945   +585

    OE stores email and contacts in FILES, not the registry.

    Local Settings\
    Outlook Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook\*.pst
    Outlook Express Application Data\Identities\...\Microsoft\Outlook Express\*

    What symptom are you experiencing?
  3. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    This I know - hence the sarky comment about registry fixers! Thanks anyway - and this is Outlook Express so does not have .pst files - just a collection of database (.dbx) files.
  4. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,340   +36

    The Store folders in OE can get corrupt. To handle that:

    Do a search for .dbx files. Find the store box that is giving you the problem and delete it. OE will build a new one when launched again.

    It would help to know what problem you're having as I cannot direct you to a particular box without knowing that.

    One word of caution: When you delete the Store folder, everything in it will go, so be sure to move any mail out if you want to keep it, before the delete.

    I've been using OE for a lot of years and occasionally go in an delete store folder. It has not caused any problem at all.
  5. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    The story - a friend who should know better decided half way through a restore of the OE folders that it was the wrong thing and stopped the restore - some of the .dbx files are the originals and some are the restored copies and a few might be a mixture! It is a mess and I am about to wash my hands of it!
  6. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,340   +36

    Can't imagine what friend was doing to "restore" the OE folders! Don't even know if he can be pulled out. I would need to know more about what this "restore of the OE folders" was about and how it was being done. It would be interesting to know what problem he was having that led him to trying to "restore."

    Regarding "restore": there is a slim change hat a System Restore can be done to date right before this action- it might fix, or it might do nothing!

    You might want to refer friend to this site:
    Outlook Express Repair, Recovery and Troubleshooting Tools:
  7. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    Three things happened here:
    1) The backup software was being used to restore a specific message folder - no worries, it can be done but the friend lost her nerve and stopped it halfway through because she realised she had failed to select just one file and had selected all of them.
    2) Backups taken a week ago and the day before had not worked because the media was full and she had not noticed.
    3) She then tried a restore but used data 6 months old.
    She had over-written the only set of message folders with a really old set. Won't do that again.
  8. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 8,945   +585

    I would lend you my 357 :)
  9. Bobbye

    Bobbye Helper on the Fringe Posts: 16,340   +36

    Oh my! Yes, that would mess things up! You might want to be sure friend known to let OE compact when the message comes up. Some do not and eventually they will get into a problem.
  10. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,525

  11. AlbertLionheart

    AlbertLionheart TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 2,026

    I learnt something potentially useful from this though - the compact process creates a set of .bak files in the recycle bin and these can be recovered by restoring them and renaming them. You then need to rename folder.dbx to force OE to remap (?) the folder structure. If a folder is corrupt it will not fix it though...
  12. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,525

    Yes when this process happens, the original un-compacted folders are deleted to the recycle bin
    From there you may be able to recover them again (if required)
    I agree OE has done well, that even if you delete the standard DBX folders, they will be automatically re-created on next startup of OE (except they will be empty)

    I've had to do this when users Inbox.dbx has corrupted (usually by being too large) Causing OE to stop working all together.
    Then confirming the user does not require any of the Inbox emails, I've backed it up first (ie InboxOLD.dbx) then just started OE again, and OE suddenly works OK :grinthumb
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