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Outlook Express Problems: My folders are empty, corrupted or just not working – what do I do?


I use Outlook Express and all of a sudden all sorts of odd things are
happening. A bunch of my email disappeared, my sent mail isn’t being saved to
the sent folder, more. I think my folders have become corrupt. What should I

I’m not going to answer your question.

Instead, I’m going to point you at someone else who’s already written a very thorough
article on the causes of, and solutions to, folder corruption in Outlook

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The Other E-Mail Threat: File
Corruption in Outlook Express
is an article on by Tom Koch
that goes into a fair amount of detail discussing Outlook Express folders,
folder corruption and what you should, and should not, be doing.

Of particular note is the fact that the cause of most corruption in OE is
the first email threat: viruses. Not the viruses themselves, but rather the
anti-virus software that we all use to prevent viruses from spreading. Yes, if
not configured properly, anti-virus software can cause your Outlook Express
folders to become corrupt.

One thing that you’ll want to pay attention to, well before you have any
problem, is this phrase from the article; one of the steps in recovering from

Copy the latest backup of the DBX file from your backup media into the
Store Folder.

You do perform regular backups of your computer, don’t you? Backups that
include your mail folders? If not, start now before you have a

In fact, backing up is step #9 in the article’s Ten Steps of

9. Backup your entire Store Folder on a regular basis.

Armed with a good backup strategy in place, Tom’s article will help recover
many forms of Outlook Express folder corruption.

Do this

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39 comments on “Outlook Express Problems: My folders are empty, corrupted or just not working – what do I do?”

  1. I have the same problem.
    The e mails I send are not stored in the Sent folder but when I click Find,I actually find them.please help me

  2. I cannot delete e-mail messages after I have read them and no longer want them. I have tried the delete under edit; I have tried Control and The D on the keyboard. I used to have a toolbar with a delete button, but the whole toolbar disappeared, so using that delete option is out of the question. I’m sure there is a simple solution, but what is it? I can still send and receive e-mails, but now I have 297 e-mails piled up because I cannot delete them. Please help.

  3. Bob Rankin web site directed me to you as expert on Outlook Express. I was backing up OE folders, and stopped at the point of selecting all files for copy to CD. Going back to OE, the folders are gone, and I cannot locate them. Please help?

  4. I left my office the following morning came to my computer at work and my personal emails and account information of 13years was just gone. i was getting an error message stating it was deleted or something else… from outlook 2003 my personal email folder and now i cant find it anywhere microsoft techs cant even find it can you please tell me where in the world it could be or how to obtain this info. its soo important to me please help

  5. HELP!!! I run a business at home and have lost 2 folders in Outlook Express that I had created. Can’t find them anywhere. I downloaded RegCure and did the scan and fixed the errors but that did not help. Hopefully you can tell me what to do. These are emails that I have saved over the past 3 years.

  6. I have read yours and numerous other articles but still cannot seem to restore my outlook express. It keeps telling me “the address book isnt installed properly” and yet i keep trying to update, re-install everything and no luck! I cannot mail OUT of express because of the address book error.

    What i did was highlight and delete the address entries one day, so i could just copy my current outlook express address book from my desktop (this is laptop, sony vaio) to this computer, instead of importing and creating repeat entries.

    I just want to start over with express but windows update says i have no updates available and i am stuck. Any help for me??


  7. beginning March 3, 2008 I began having trouble deleting emails. When I hit “delete” the mail disappears but within a few min. I receive the message in my in box IN MULTIPLE. The last time I attempted, instead of hitting the X I went to the “deleted items” folder and pressed “empty deleted items”. Now my email has about 80 emails attempting to come in but it usually times out. Any suggestions?

  8. While am Forwarding Any Mails Through,Some Sysmbols are attached on the mails,i found its a virus.How i can resolved the problem without losing any mails.

  9. I have a work colleague who also faced a recent problem on some missing folders from Outlook Express.

    When comparing the system folders in Outlook Express and the folders revealed by a free File Recovery Program, it showed that those missing folders were deleted but still remained in the Outlook Express system folders.

    I attempted to recover one folder to check the contents, with the help of another paid software to recover corrupted .dbx files. It seems the contents of the .dbx file do not belong to the expected contents of the folder.

    I suspect that this is a serious problem with Outlook Express 6.

  10. hello,
    I have a problem with Outlook Express. I use it with my gmail account and it was working fine until few days ago. it started sending the mails but keeping them in outbox. no matter how many times I send them, they are still in outbox. please help.

  11. All of a sudden I have some type of corruption in my Outlook Express folders. I cannot delete files from the inbox to deleted – once I get them in deleted there seems to be no problem, but I cannot get them into deleted. Doesnt’ make any difference what type eml – some contain attached files, some do not… most do… but I cannot delete them – period. I tried to ‘move’ them from the in-box to the deleted folder… would not move. I do have one eml in the folder that I believe started the entire problem – and if I even click on it, Outlook Express locks and I have to exit… but soon my mail folder will be so full I won’t be able to receive more.
    Any suggestions?
    Frustrated Grammy
    Diane S Sanfilippo

    Hash: SHA1

    YES! In fact, if you’ll read the article you just commented
    on, it’s really clear about pointing out another article
    that should help you.


    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)


  13. no matter how I try to create an account with outlook express I can not suceed. I’m always getting error messages everytime I try

  14. Dear Sir,

    Before the installation of window I took back of Window outlook express. now when i change the path of the folder and give it the path where i stored them. only Inbox folder donot show me any mail although the size of the filder with “dbx” extension is 507MB. but not a single mail is shown in it.

    Sir i tried to import them from file–>import–>messeges–>specifies path but it give me answer that no messeges found.

  15. Outbox in Outlook Express is sending message but it’s stuck in my Outbox unless I delete it-it gets sent over and over again. I want to reconfigure Outlook Express’s outbox maybe by renaming it etc. How do I do that? Thanks Leo

  16. when the Inbox is full arive to 3GB I move it to D drive
    the problem when I return it to outolock express folder when I open outoluck express open in first once but don’t show message see message” the outlock dont display this message when I closed the outoluck don’t don,t show Message in Inbox
    inbox is empty

    please give me solution

  17. My sent items folder is full and messages can’t be displayed, error showing: low memory or disk full, i want to view my messages in sent items, please help.

  18. Lately I am not able to delete messages, unless I push shift delete, which I understand deletes them permanently. Also when I go to the deleted items file it gives me the message that outlook express cannot open this file. Any idea whats going on? I am not real computer savy, so I hope it is something I can fix. Thanks, Bob

  19. I haven’t found a solution to this one:
    My OE inbox had about 20 000 messages. Now it only has 14 000. All messages from 10/31/2008 back to 12/30/2007 are longer there. New messages are there, ancient messages, too. But 10 months are missing in all folders. I tried sorting by senders, tried DBXtract. Nothing.

    Any ideas?

  20. Outlook Express 6 has blank (white) page on log in and stays in this mode. emails are received but not able to view due to the white screen. drop down menus and icons at top are visable, then below them only blank?? has anyone come across this problem b4, thanks, neil.

  21. Outbox in Outlook Express is sending message but it’s stuck in my Outbox unless I delete it-it gets sent over and over again. The emails will not go direct to my sent items box. I think the Sent items is corrupted, as it deleted all my emails this morning, fortunately I was able to recover, but it wont allow me to transfer BACK into my Sent Items box… Everytime I send a message, it says error, but list no fault code in the box…. Thanks Leo

  22. If everything else fails if you cannot find your messages back, have a look at Foxtract.
    This tool scans your corrupted dbx file and will extract your e-mails, even if the trees are corrupted (Outlook Express uses tree structures to retrieve the messages).

    This tool is free, GPL licensed, the source code are freely available.


  23. Re Neil Nov 2008

    I have the same problem as Neil post! How do you fix this?. I did not see an answer to this problem. Please help!. I have Mc afee and have back up with Norton Ghost Thanks Sue
    Outlook Express 6 has blank (white) page on log in and stays in this mode. emails are received but not able to view due to the white screen. drop down menus and icons at top are visable, then below them only blank?? has anyone come across this problem

  24. I can’t able to view my Inbox mail in outlook exress,
    i Restore inbox.dbx but still i have facing this problem, i able to view all mail folder i.e. sentitems,drafts, all folder. but i am facing this problem in just inbox.

    plz help me

  25. I have the exact same problem this guy did…..”Outbox in Outlook Express is sending message but it’s stuck in my Outbox unless I delete it-it gets sent over and over again. The emails will not go direct to my sent items box. Everytime I send a message, it says error, but list no fault code in the box….”

  26. I used to come with the problem,and i have solved it with a popular Outlook recovery tool called Advanced Outlook Repair . It is a powerful tool to recover messages, folders and other objects from corrupt or damaged Microsoft Outlook PST files. Detailed information about Advanced Outlook Repair can be found at

  27. I use Outlook Express for e-mail. When I receive an e-mail from someone and it has a “link” in the message. I click (Once) to open the link. It opens twice?
    Is this an Outlook express problem?
    Thanks Robert

  28. when i send to multiple people, one bad email address will stop the email from going anywhere but the oe outbox. how do i access all the email addresses on this email to delete the bad one, or fix oe so it will send to the other addresses even if one is bad?

  29. Outlook Express – This just started. When I hit send/receive the “box” has ALWAYS dropped down under the tab to upper center of screen. Several days ago the “box” appeared on upper left of screen. Tech fixed it and told me if it happened again I should call Dell. Happened again – 2 days later. This time lower right corner. One person at Dell said OE is corrupted. Dell tech who work on it said no problem – it’s fine and charged me $89. He had no explanation as to why the “box” kept moving. Said it was fine. Who to believe? Why does box keep moving. Computer is 6 years old.

  30. I unfroze the Outlook Express “In” box
    by simply dragging all of the email in the “In” box
    to a new folder. ( Actually an “Old Email” folder
    that I use to keep my “In” box folder uncluttered. )

  31. Message “this message was not downloaded” when opening an e-mail in the “Inbox” that has previosly been downloaded and viewed and was perfectly intact with attachment.

  32. In OE my mail is stuck there in my Outbox Folder! SEND no longer works! I can receive mail but not send. Has OE become corrupted? I’ve had Virgin media check all my settings……everything…for 3 hrs! I’ve removed Kaspersky IS2011 + Mailwasher! I’ve spent 4 days searching the Internet for clues. I now have Virgin Media Security so I’m safe but what can I do? I can access my Web-based a/c but I want to use OE. I am feeling quite desperate.


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