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Outlook Express V6 - 2GB size problem on folder


wacky's Avatar
wacky wacky is offline
Junior Member with 3 posts.
Join Date: Aug 2004
Experience: Advanced
14-Mar-2005, 11:47 AM #1
Outlook Express V6 - 2GB size problem on folder

I've run into this problem where Oulook Express won't show me anything in my Inbox. Doing a bit of googling, I discovered that the Inbox.dbx file has gone over the 2GB size. Apart from importing this file into another email client (Mozilla, Eudora), what can I do to get all my mails back in Outlook Express. I'm running Windows XP.

Anne Troy's Avatar
Computer Specs
Member with 11,731 posts.
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: Allentown, PA
Experience: Intermediate
14-Mar-2005, 12:53 PM #2
Hi, wacky. Moved your post over to Internet applications 'cause OE isn't a business application. Good luck!
EAFiedler's Avatar
Moderator with 13,915 posts.
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Indiana
14-Mar-2005, 02:34 PM #3
Hi wacky

2GB Inbox in Outlook Express???? Ouch!

The Inbox folder you are accessing now is empty, does it show a message count at all?

Was Outlook Express slow to start before this loss occurred?


We'll see what we can do for you.

With Outlook Express closed

Enable: Hidden files and folders:
For Windows XP:
Open My Computer,
Tools > Folder Options > View tab,
under Hidden Files and Folders,
verify Show Hidden Files and Folders is selected.
uncheck Hide Extensions for known file types
Apply, OK, to save and close.


Start > Search > For Files or Folders
All Files and Folders
key in:
Look in: Local Drives
click the arrow for More Advanced Options
place a checkmark in:
Search System Folders
Search hidden files and folders
Search subfolders

Click Search
In the Search Window, locate the Folders.dbx file and rename it Folders.old

Close the Search window.

I urge you to allow Outlook Express all the resources it needs, don't run any other programs or surf the net during this process.

Restart Outlook Express, a fresh new Folders.dbx file will be created and if the original Inbox is still intact that folder should show in Outlook Express when the process is completed.

With a 2GB Inbox, the process of rebuilding the Folders.dbx file may take some or ALOT of time.

I have never had to recover a .dbx file that size, I try to keep my .dbx file sizes below 100MB, but that is not a hard and fast rule.

The Inbox though is a dynamic folder along with the Outbox, Sent Items, Drafts and Deleted Items folders. If Outlook Express encounters an error these files will usually be the first to be dumped and recreated.

Keep your Inbox empty and Outlook Express will start faster and be more reliable.


If all goes well and your Inbox is returned with the 2GB of messages, start creating other folders and moving your messages out of the Inbox and into those folders.
Once the Inbox is empty, compact that folder:
File > Folder > Compact
You will see a progress window and when it disappears the Inbox should be back to 59KB in size and opening in a flash!

Close and restart Outlook Express and notice how much faster it starts without having to open a bloated Inbox folder.

Let us know what happens, Good Luck!
sekirt's Avatar
Deceased with 3,998 posts.
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Michigan
14-Mar-2005, 02:38 PM #4
Before any attempts, very first thing to do, is make a copy of that 2GB DBX file.

You maintain a questionable practice if any of the default folders are used for long time storage of large amounts of emails (Inbox/Outbox/Sent Items/Deleted Items/Draft). OE is known for emails disappearing particularly from the Inbox. Custom folders should be used.

Manual maintenance should be done on a regular basis. Only when you are OFFLINE, open OE. Click File-->Folder. Then choose Compact All Folders. This will optimize the DBX files. Optimizing takes out all the wasted space.

You might be able to use one of these programs to recover your emails:

Or a Google search brings up a lot of hits:

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