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OE: Is "compacting" a problem only with Outlook Express?

Discussion in 'Web & Email' started by wgreene, Oct 31, 2005.

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  1. wgreene

    wgreene Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2001
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    Please help!

    For the second time in recent months I have had a problem with lost messages. On Friday night when I attempted to shut down my PC, suddenly I received an onscreen message box indicating that my messages were being "compacted." I have Win XP Pro, Service Pack 2 and use Outlook Express.

    Someone told me that Win XP Pro with SP 2 automaticallly gives a prompt after 100 closings of OE, asking if you want to compact your messages. The strange thing is that both times I've had this problem, I was never given a prompt. In other words, the compacting started on its own, which was completely unexpected. First I lost my Inbox messages; next, I lost my Sent Items. Is this normal? Is this an issue only with OE? If so, maybe I should change to another e-mail program.

    In the past I used both Macallan and DBXtract in an attempt to retrieve my lost messages, but had not success with either program. Someone had given me instructions for these programs, but I had trouble following them. Still, I'm not sure if either of them would help retrieve my messages.

    I'm wondering if what I'm experiencing is really "normal" or if it may perhaps be the result of a virus problem I had recently. I am totally confused by what is happening, and I have no clue yet as to how to either prevent or avoid it.

    I would greatly appreciate hearing from anyone who might be able to help.

    Thank you.
     
  2. sekirt

    sekirt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Messages:
    3,998
    Hi again,

    Did you let Outlook Express finish compacting? Or did you interupt it? Here is my quote from the previous thread "If you have XP SP2, you will get a prompt to compact after 100 OE closings" - and you state that you did get a message saying compacting was going on. That is the prompt. XP SP2 will compact every 100 times OE is used. If you let the compacting finish, there should not be a loss of emails at all.

    You mention losing emails from standard folders created by Outlook Express. I also mentioned that you should not keep emails in those standard folders. You should create your own custom folders to store all your emails.

    Did you read the help files that are with each recovery program? If you could be specific about where you got stuck recovering emails and with which program, perhaps either I or someone can offer more?

    You ask about preventing...if you mean to stop OE from compacting, you can keep setting the registry so that it never reaches 100. But then be sure to compact manually at some point.

    As to your virus. Do you have up to date anti-virus program running? Most likely a virus would not lose your emails precisely at the time compacting is going on.

    Here is an article by Tom Koch, this isn't specific about SP2 but covers information that might help you.

    http://www.microsoft.com/windows/IE/community/columns/filecorruption.mspx

    sekirt
     
  3. wgreene

    wgreene Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2001
    Messages:
    989
    Thank you for your reply.

    Once again I interrupted the compacting process by pusing the Power button. The next time I will know better. I will let the process finish since I now understand that letting it run its course should not result in a loss of messages.

    I had created a custom folder for e-mails a while back and had saved several messages therein, but I will do a better job of keeping this folder updated in the future. In fact, I'll probably break it down into several folders.

    No, I don't believe I read the Help files, or at least not thoroughly. As soon as I find the time I will post information about the procedure(s) I followed when attempting to recover my missing e-mails.

    In the future, I plan to follow your advice and simply let the messages self-compact after 100 closings of OE. By the way, what actually happens to the messages during the compacting process? I'm not sure I quite understand what "compacting" means in this context.

    Yes, I keep my AV program updated. I really don't believe the loss of e-mails was in any way virus-related.

    I will read Tom Koch's article and I'll be back later with some information about my failed attempt(s) to retrieve my messages.

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  4. wgreene

    wgreene Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2001
    Messages:
    989
    Okay. Now I'm really confused!

    It just happened again. I was attempting to send an e-mail a few minutes ago and for some reason it wouldn't go through. Then, all of a sudden, I see the "Compacting messages" box appear -- and there certainly haven't been 100 closings of OE in the past few days. I'm pretty sure it indicated that my Sent Items were being compacted.

    As you suggested, I let the compacting run its course, which took only a very few seconds. Next, I checked my Local Folders and noticed that I have 48 Inbox messages and 29 Deleted messages. Just to the right of Sent Items there was no number given, so I was afraid all my Sent messages had been deleted again. However, when I clicked on Sent Items I noticed they were still there. Perhaps this is a normal result of the compacting process -- that the messages remain, but the number-of-messages indicator disappears.

    Can you explain why the compacting process occurred again so soon? Could this be an indication of a problem within my system? The way things are now, I figure that compacting could occur randomly at any time.
     
  5. sekirt

    sekirt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Messages:
    3,998
    Unfortunately, I can't explain why it started up so soon. The good result is the fact you didn't lose emails.

    I would suggest to go into the registry and edit it to zero - then see if it will follow the "100 times rule"

    Start->Run. Type regedit and click OK. Go to this key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Identities\{GUID for Identity}\Software\Microsoft\Outlook Express\5.0

    Look in the right hand pane of the registry for "Compact Check Count" and
    reset its value to zero [0] and you should not be bothered again until the count of
    opening/closing again approaches 100.

    sekirt
     
  6. wgreene

    wgreene Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2001
    Messages:
    989
    Thanks. I'll give it a try and see what happens.
     
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