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Outlook Express - Some Messages Vanished

Discussion in 'Web & Email' started by AustinM, Jan 23, 2006.

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  1. AustinM

    AustinM Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Messages:
    169
    WinXP SP2

    I use Outlook Express as an email client. Under 'Local Folders' I have probably 15 subfolders, and most of those have sub-subfolders, and some of those have sub-sub-subfolders.

    Some messages vanished - I have no idea where they went.

    For instance, I have a 'pending orders' folder as a subfolder to my inbox folder. Messages in the inbox stayed, but messages in the 'pending orders' folder have disappeared - the folder is empty.

    Another example, I have a 'Nissan' folder under 'Local Folders'. The 'Nissan' folder is empty. I have an 'Orders/Net Stuff' folder with several subfolders. The 'Orders/Net Stuff' folder and all of the subfolders are empty.

    I did not delete these messages, they just vanished. All in all, I have lost probably 2,000 messages out of the 15,000 messages stored. All the folders are still there, organized in the same manner, but some folders have been emptied.

    I've checked the actual folder locations - For instance, "C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{EF678184-310F-4A05-B543-A23898D84F9C}\Microsoft\Outlook Express\Nissan.dbx"

    The 'Nissan.dbx' folder shows it contains 51.9 MB of data... so the messages are still there. When I right click on the 'Nissan' folder in OE, it is pointed to the above address... so why don't the messages show up? Where'd they go?
     
  2. EAFiedler

    EAFiedler Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    14,146
    Hi AustinM

    First as a precaution, copy all the .dbx files in that directory to a folder on the Desktop.

    With Outlook Express closed, locate the Folders.dbx file in the directory:
    C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{EF678184-310F-4A05-B543-A23898D84F9C}\Microsoft\Outlook Express

    Rename Folders.dbx to Folders.old.

    Restart Outlook Express a new Folders.dbx file will be created which should reindex the folders you have in Outlook Express.
    Access the folders with the missing messages to see if they have returned.
    If the messages still do not show, please verify that a View has not been applied which hides messages.
    View > Current View > Show all messages



    If the view is set to Show all messages and no messages are showing, create a new Identity in Outlook Express:
    File > Identities > Add New Identity
    Name the Identity
    Click Yes when asked if you want to switch to the new Identity.
    Cancel out of Importing or Upgrading if the option is given.
    You can Cancel out of creating your E-mail account.

    Using the backup folder you created of .dbx files, try Importing the messages into the new Identity to see if the messages appear.
    File > Import > Messages > Microsoft Outlook Express 6 > Next > Import mail from an OE6 mail directory > OK
    Browse to the folder on the Desktop.

    Keep the All Folders option,
    Click Next, the Import should begin immediately.
    When it is done, click Finish

    Check the folders for their messages.
    If the messages still fail to appear, you will then need to use another program to *possibly* recover those messages.

    http://www.oehelp.com/Default.aspx
    DBXtract ver 5.01 is cheaper
    DBXpress as I understand does a better job. I have never used DBXpress.

    I have used DBXtract myself and have found that it does not always recover all the messages from a .dbx file.


    You can download DBXtract version 4.5 here:
    http://www.pcworld.com/downloads/file_description/0,fid,23383,00.asp


    Let us know what happens.
     
  3. AustinM

    AustinM Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Messages:
    169
    EAFiedler,

    Absolutely perfect directions. Thanks very much for the reply.

    Unfortunately for me, I've already tried everything you have listed, and have not retrieved the messages.

    The newly created identity shows the same missing messages as the main identity.

    I've purchased DBXpress, and it has also failed to recover the messages. They're just not there.

    In the folder C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{EF678184-310F-4A05-B543-A23898D84F9C}\Microsoft\Outlook Express, there are 92 total .dbx files. 17 of them are 59 KB in size (the size of an empty folder). Some of those 17 were initially empty, but between 8 and 12 of them had messages. The messages are just gone. At least 2 of those folders should be over 10,000 KB in size.

    When DBXpress locates .dbx files, it locates all the folders just fine. The problem is that there is nothing to recover, at least in those 17 .dbx files.

    I'm about 300% smarter about Outlook Express than I was this morning (that's not saying much... I wasn't exactly an expert to begin with). I now know WinXP SP2 does not perform background compact operations like older versions did, because it is a resource intensive process. WinXP SP2 will compact mail folders when OE has opened and closed 100 times. I also know that you should never stop a compact operation when it is in progress. I believe that's what I did. I hadn't noticed OE performing a compact operation before, so when it began I clicked the cancel button. Big mistake...

    I've emailed the author of DBXpress to ask for additional assistance in locating where the files may possibly be, but he has yet to reply.

    Do you know any additional places I might try to locate my lost files?

    Should I use windows explorer to search C drive for additional .dbx files? Or maybe errant .eml files? Could they be one one of the other hard disks (I have 2 disks, 3 partitions total).

    I'm pretty much at a dead end. All the searching I did today yielded the same information you've told me, and most of those sources said to use DBXtract or DBXpress if all else fails. So, now that my 'last resort' has been used up, what should I do?



    One last update... I was using windows exporer to search the C drive for additional .dbx files while typing this... I've found the same group of files 3 times over - once in each OE identity, and once in the backup folder on the desktop. No luck there...
     
  4. EAFiedler

    EAFiedler Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2000
    Messages:
    14,146
    DBXpress didn't yield anything? :eek:

    Unfortunately, the .dbx files are where the messages are stored.

    Have you tried opening the *empty* .dbx file with Wordpad or Notepad?

    As a last ditch resort, did you try a System Restore?
    Chances are against it working, so the System Restore can be undone.
     
  5. sekirt

    sekirt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Messages:
    3,998
    It sounds like you may have interrupted the compact process.

    Go to Start->Search and look for *.dbt files. For WinXP you will have to set the search to include hidden files and folders. DBXpress should open those. Perhaps the missing emails will show up.

    sekirt
     
  6. AustinM

    AustinM Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Messages:
    169
    That was the face I made, also... followed by a :mad:

    Yes. Produces a single long line of junk.

    Unfortunately for me (or maybe fortunately), my last big problem was with system restore on a different computer. I restored and un-restored a few times in a row, and it caused the operating system to stop operating. No safe mode, no choice but to reinstall a new OS. Because of that, I've turned system restore off on this computer. I have no restore points to go back to.





    Yes, I believe that is what happened.

    Did you mean .dbx files? If so, I have searched for .dbx files. I'm able to find 3 copies of all .dbx files - one in each OE identity, and one in the backup folder on the desktop. All the .dbx files which should be present are, in fact, present. The problem is that some are empty when they should be full.

    I'll try a search for .dbt files anyway. Just as with my search for .dbx files, the search looked in C, F, & G hard drives, subfolders, system folders, and in hidden files & folders. No luck.
     
  7. sekirt

    sekirt

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
    Messages:
    3,998
    Just for your benefit, I did mean .DBT and not .dbx. They sometimes get created when the compacting is interrupted. And they should be hidden files.

    DBXtract and DBXpress are 2 different programs by the same author. Did you download DBXtract and try that (just in case)(the link provided by eafiedler)? And you might run ALL the .DBX files even the ones with different names through there. It's going to be a massive amount but it is possible you will recover some of the ones you are looking for.

    sekirt
     
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