Subscriber Jack wrote with an Outlook Express problem. For that matter, a lot of people seem to be having problems with Outlook Express recently. Many of these seem to be related to its files getting too big.
In Jack’s case, the first problem was that his Inbox and Deleted Items files had grown to 1.6 GB. That huge size was causing startup problems with Outlook Express. Attempts to Compact All Folders seemed to do nothing.
Outlook Express, like many other email programs, actually maintains its email folders as files on the hard drive. The Outbox folder, for example, is the file Outbox.dbx.
The first fix was to compact the Deleted Items folder only. That step took about 5 minutes. The first step was to compact the Inbox. This took about 5 minutes, but it reduced the Inbox file from 1.6 GB to about 300 KB. Startup and exiting worked fine for a day.
Jack wrote a followup message to me, that she still had problems:
I seem to be back where I started.
I cannot get an email to leave my Outbox without shutting OE down.
After shutting down, I can’t get OE to restart from the icon or Start/Programs/OE. I have to reboot.
I have compacted all OE folders where the largest is the Deleted Items folder with 172,609 KB.
I wrote back to Jack to tell him that it sounded like his Outbox folder/file was corrupted.
The steps to resolve the issue are:
- get the email sent or drag it from the Outbox to the Drafts folder if it won’t send
- shut down Outlook Express
- move to the Outlook Express folders. You can find them at
C:\Documents and Settings\[yourUserID]\Local Settings\Application Data\Identifies\[a-long-alphanumeric-string]\Microsoft\Outlook Express
Of course, if you’ve moved your Documents and Settings folder from C:, you’ll need to point to the correct location.
- delete the Outbox.dbx file
- restart Outlook Express
- send yourself an email, just to make Outlook Express recreate the Outbox.dbx file (the Outbox folder)
- if he dragged an email to the Drafts folder because it could not be sent, now is the time to drag it back to the Outbox so it can be sent.
The next time you click Send to send a message, Outlook Express will rebuild the Outbox.dbx.