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Folder in use by Outlook Express

Discussion in 'Web & Email' started by DKTaber, Jan 28, 2011.

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  1. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    I am currently using Windows XP-SP3 on my desktop. I have two identities in Outlook Express. When I either allow OE to compact when it asks if I want to (after the 100th opening) or I manually do a File, Folder, Compact all folders in the identity with the largest .dbx files, for almost a year now, I keep getting an error message "Folder in use by Outlook Express or another application". I've ignored the message because the process doesn't seem to fail (compaction process doesn't freeze, don't lose any e-mails). The message only pops up when the Inbox and Sent Items are being compacted. However, I'm wondering if these are actually NOT being compacted because access to them is being denied because the system thinks they're in use. And I don't understand the error message, anyway. I.e., of course the files are in use; they're being compacted!

    I researched the error on Google and found some articles that said all I had to do was switch to Work Offline before compacting. Tried that, makes no difference. I've seen other articles saying this can happen if any folder exceeds 2GB. Well, all of the folders added together don't contain 2GB, so that's not the problem, either. Also tried creating a new folder, moving all the e-mails from the Inbox to that folder, compacting the Inbox folder, then moving the e-mails back to the Inbox and deleting the new folder. Did nothing; same error message.

    So why am I getting this error and is it causing my Inbox and/or Sent Items not to compact?
     
  2. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

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    Have you tried disabling the e-mail scanning option from your antivirus?
     
  3. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    Yes; makes no difference.
     
  4. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

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    Using any special add-ons in OE?

    Have you tried compacting in Safe Mode?
     
  5. throoper

    throoper Trusted Advisor

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    When you manually compact, do you click the Outlook Express folder in the left side folder tree so that NO folders are open to view?

    Does the message say what folder is in use? Often it's the Folders.dbx that isn't compacting when you get that message.
     
  6. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    No special add-ons in OE. Yes, I tried it in Safe Mode after you suggested it. That caused a HUGE problem that probably has nothing to do with this issue, but when I did it in Safe Mode, no error messages came up. However, I noticed when I rebooted into Safe Mode, I didn't get the usual screen where the multiple lines of text scroll by; just a wide white bar at the bottom. After the desktop appeared, I ran the compact-all-folders. It took about 10 minutes to copy and compact just the Inbox (which normally takes <1.5 minutes in full Windows mode). Sent Items took almost as long and normal takes <1 min.

    I thought this highly unusual, because Safe Mode is usually faster than when the Windows garbage is loaded. Turns out it was. . . highly unusual. After rebooting into full Windows, I could not open ANYTHING from the desktop. So, inserted my Windows XP CD and did a Windows Repair. I anticipated that it would just repair anything that had become corrupted or zapped. Didn't turn out that way. Apparently Windows had become so corrupted that the "repair" wound up reinstalling all of Windows. Thereafter, I had to subsequently download the 160+ updates to bring it back to SP3 and IE8.

    Following that hour+ of useless work, I ran the compact-all-folders for the identity that issued the error message, and no error message appeared. So apparently, even though my OS was destroyed in the process, the problem with the error message was fixed in Safe Mode.

    Thanks for the help. I will mark the thread as 'solved'.
     
  7. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    No, I do not click the OE folder to collapse the folder tree before compacting. I frankly don't see how that would make any difference. Message did not say what folder was in use, but it most often appeared when the Inbox was being compacted. In any case, the problem now appears fixed.
     
  8. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

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    Sorry you had to go through all that. :(

    I fail to see how Safe Mode could have caused all that trouble. :confused:

    At least, it's now working... (y) :D
     
  9. DKTaber

    DKTaber Thread Starter

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    I fail to see it, either. I have NEVER seen Safe Mode behave as it did, and I've had a home computer since 1984. But, this is the 2nd time in 5 weeks that my OS has been so totally corrupted by seemingly benign actions. The first was the installation of Norton Security Suite for Comcast, which, upon reboot, rendered the system so damaged that the optical drive would not work. I had to mail the computer back to the builder (JNCS computers in Fairport, NY) and have them fix it. Now it booms on just rebooting into Safe Mode???????!!!!!!!

    The only culprit I can think of at this point is the mobo. The system is obviously unstable. I use the computer in a relatively cool basement office; I use CCleaner to keep the crap off the HD; I have SpywareBlaster installed and updated; my AV is Avast and is updated daily; I run MalwareBytes and SuperAntiSpyware regularly. I never get viruses or spyware. So the only conclusion I can come to is that there is something amiss in the hardware. If you have any other ideas, let me know.
     
  10. Phantom010

    Phantom010 Trusted Advisor

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    Sorry DKTaber, hardware isn't my specialty. :(
     
  11. throoper

    throoper Trusted Advisor

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    It's a peculiarity of the OE Compact process. Being in a message folder when "Compacting All" can cause the Folders.dbx to be in use and throw out that message.
    The folders get compacted, but Folders.dbx doesn't. Not usually a big deal unless you create and delete a number of folders. Also failure of that to compact can sometimes cause problems with the Compact Check Count, resulting in repeated requests to compact.

    Sorry to hear of your adventure. You might want to post into the Hardware section, but I can't really see how a hardware problem would let you reinstall Windows without the problem affecting the new install as well.
     
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