OE 6 won't "compact"

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Telegraph Sam

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My Sent Items folder is getting worryingly large. I believe because I neglected to "compact" it after the last clean out rather than on account of the present remaining contents. I tried previously to compact but failed due to insufficient disk space. I have now created sufficient disk space. When I re-try, towards the end of the actual compacting process an error message pops up saying that this folder is presently in use by Outlook Express or another application, and the process fails. It just creates a .bak copy of the Sent Items file, same size - which I have deleted.

No improvement if I close down all other applications. No improvement if I re-boot the computer. I have been able to compact other folders though admittedly not so large. An error report was generated for Microsoft but I don't hold out much hope of help from that quarter. Windows XP Professional.

I have run out of bright ideas. Can anyone suggest a remedy before the system grinds to a halt?
 

Phantom010

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Open OE and select Tools > Options... > Maintenance > Store Folder... You'll then see the path for your e-mail folders.

In there you will see several files with ".dbx" as the extension type. You will need to delete the Sent Items.dbx. (Your OS may be set to hide the 3 letter extensions, so it may just say Sent Items.")

If you do not see these files, check to make sure that you have the option to show hidden files and folders turned on.

So, once you identify the Sent Items.dbx file, delete it. Then the next time you start Outlook Express, it will create a new Sent Items file for you.

***NOTE: make sure you have saved any other e-mail in the Sent Items folder that you wish to keep before doing this. Make a new folder in Outlook Express (call it "Saved Messages" or something like that) and move the messages you want to keep into there.)
 

Telegraph Sam

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Tks for the dynamic real-time lifeline response. I had already identified the OE store folder in Windows Explorer so what you suggest makes sense. Your logic is that OE will be willing to compact the new "Saved Messages" folder even though it wouldn't do it for the original Sent Items. When I try tomorrow I hope you are right! I take it that it makes no difference whether I do the copying and deleting within OE or Windows Explorer.

Ideally when I've compacted out all the excess space I could copy the original files back into Sent Items which would suit my archive retrieval purposes.
 
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Tks for the dynamic real-time lifeline response. I had already identified the OE store folder in Windows Explorer so what you suggest makes sense. Your logic is that OE will be willing to compact the new "Saved Messages" folder even though it wouldn't do it for the original Sent Items. When I try tomorrow I hope you are right! I take it that it makes no difference whether I do the copying and deleting within OE or Windows Explorer.

Ideally when I've compacted out all the excess space I could copy the original files back into Sent Items which would suit my archive retrieval purposes.
You are misunderstanding compacting.
OE is a database program. Compacting doesn't matter how many emails you have.
It doesn't touch the emails.

So, let's start with simple maintenance. Never use any of the default folders (Inbox,
Outbox, Sent Items, Drafts Deleted Items) for long time storage, especially the inbox.
Make custom folders. You stand a good chance of either permanently losing emails
or of locking OE by doing so.

The custom folders you make should be made on the same hierarchy as the default
folders - in other words, do not make your custom folders, sub-folders to any of the
default. Right-click on Local Folders and choose new folder.

It sounds like you are using the Sent Items for storage and that is most likely why
you got an error message.

When you delete an email in OE, it marks it as deleted and leaves the space it
occupied. Compacting removes those spaces. The error message is misleading.
Under normal conditions almost everyone has enough disk space.

Compacting should be done on a regular basis. Only when you are actually OFFLINE.
Or if you click File and choose Work offline.

Click File->Folder. Then choose Compact All Folders. This will optimize the DBX files.
Optimizing takes out all the wasted space.

Do not check Compact messages in the background. This can lead to lost emails.

There is some helpful information in this article.
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/IE/community/columns/filecorruption.mspx
 

Phantom010

Retired Trusted Advisor
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OE automatically compacts when you've opened the program 100 times. I've never compacted manually.

Just be careful not to do anything else on your computer while it's compacting.
 
Joined
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Messages
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OE automatically compacts when you've opened the program 100 times. I've never compacted manually.

Just be careful not to do anything else on your computer while it's compacting.
Going offline just adds an extra layer of protection that it won't be interrupted by a
power outage, etc.
 

Telegraph Sam

Thread Starter
Joined
Jun 12, 2009
Messages
37
Open OE and select Tools > Options... > Maintenance > Store Folder... You'll then see the path for your e-mail folders.

In there you will see several files with ".dbx" as the extension type. You will need to delete the Sent Items.dbx. (Your OS may be set to hide the 3 letter extensions, so it may just say Sent Items.")

If you do not see these files, check to make sure that you have the option to show hidden files and folders turned on.

So, once you identify the Sent Items.dbx file, delete it. Then the next time you start Outlook Express, it will create a new Sent Items file for you.

***NOTE: make sure you have saved any other e-mail in the Sent Items folder that you wish to keep before doing this. Make a new folder in Outlook Express (call it "Saved Messages" or something like that) and move the messages you want to keep into there.)[/UNQUOTE]

Seems to have worked though it took a long time. Many thanks, this has saved me what could have been boatloads of aggro
 

Telegraph Sam

Thread Starter
Joined
Jun 12, 2009
Messages
37
So, let's start with simple maintenance. Never use any of the default folders (Inbox,
Outbox, Sent Items, Drafts Deleted Items) for long time storage, especially the inbox.
Make custom folders. You stand a good chance of either permanently losing emails
or of locking OE by doing so.

The custom folders you make should be made on the same hierarchy as the default
folders - in other words, do not make your custom folders, sub-folders to any of the
default. Click on Local

It sounds like you are using the Sent Items for storage and that is most likely why
you got an error message.

[/UNQUOTE]

My "sin" has been to use sub-folders of Sent Items and Inbox for long-term storage for years, apparently without problems. The problem I was aware of was to let Sent Items itself etc get too large which could lead to the system locking up - and, as I have now found, reaching the point where compacting didn't work either. It never occurred to me to compact off-line. Interesting!
 
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