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Emails vanished from Outlook Express

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10 replies to this topic

#1
smted

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Hi,

 

I use 2000 for one of my machines and Outlook Express 6 for emails.

 

When I logged on today and started OE all my older emails were there but no new emails. So I closed out the program and started again. This time I got new emails but all my older ones disappeared! I closed out and tried again and the new ones disappeared too. The new ones have since returned but not the old ones.

 

The weird thing is that it's only happening to emails in my main Inbox folder. All other email accounts/folders are fine.

 

I tried Nortons Systemworks 2006 and CCleaner but no luck getting my old emails back. I remembered a program called ScanDBX that fixed a virus or some problem I had years ago. Is that worth trying? My antivirus (Avast) shows the machine virus-free.

 

Please help. I'd hate to think I lost 1000's of emails. : (

 

 




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#2
submix8c

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I have no clue what may be going on *but* I can tell you the location of where the DBX files are *supposed* to be -

C:\Documents and Settings\<yourusername>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{stringofhexnumbers}\Microsoft\Outlook Express
Check in there - generally speaking, "empty" ones (*just a rough estimate*) are about 70kb. Also check your Recycle Bin for "<outlooksexpressFoldername>.BAK", which is where the go after a Folder Compress.

Someday the tyrants will be unthroned... Jason "Jay" Chasteen; RIP, bro!

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#3
smted

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I tried searching for the directory you listed, but I can't find it. For a start C:\Documents and Settings\ leads me to "Administrator" and "All Users".(no username, although I log on as the Administrator).

 

I tried looking in both folders for "Local Settings" and "Application Data", but no such luck. I even tried a search for those folders and any files containing "outlookexpress" or .BAK", but I couldn't find anything.



#4
submix8c

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Windows Explorer->Tools->Folder Options->
1) "General" Tab: Check "Use Windows Classic"
2) "View" Tab: (check=Y/uncheck=N)
Y - Display the contents of system folders
* - Hidden files and folders
Y - - Show hidden files and folders
N - Hide extensions for known file types
N - Hide protected operating system files (Recommended)
Click "Apply" then click "Apply to All Folders"
Exit ("X")

Now go look. That folder HAS to exist, otherwise "somehow" it has been deleted.

You DO realize that "{stringofhexnumbers}" (one for each Outlook Express Account) and "<outlooksexpressFoldername>" are generic names. There may be SEVERAL of the FIRST (per Account) and BETTER be MANY of the SECOND (inside EACH of the First).

Now, what you *saying* is that you *never* created an independent User-ID in Administrators Group? Bad JUJU, as far as I'm concerned. At *most* you should have renamed it *and* (hopefully) password protect it.


Edited by submix8c, 16 February 2014 - 11:03 AM.

Someday the tyrants will be unthroned... Jason "Jay" Chasteen; RIP, bro!

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#5
smted

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I did what you said, but I couldn't find "Display the contents of system folders". Everything else you suggested was changed.

 

I had a look in the unhidden folders and got to C:\Documents and Settings\<yourusername>\Local Settings\Application Data\Identities\{stringofhexnumbers} folder, which was blank. I checked in admin, all users and default user. Each stringofnumbers folder was blank.



#6
submix8c

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Sorry, apparently that "Option" doesn't exist in Windows 2000. The folders having a "{stringofhexnumbers}" exist and are empty? If that's true how could you have logged into Outlook Express and have an "Inbox" (Filename is "INBOX.DBX" in ONE of those generated folder names)? THAT is IMPOSSIBLE!


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#7
jaclaz

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Open a command prompt.

Navigate to the root of the "system" drive (usually C:)

Like:



CD /D C:

then:



CD \

so that you are at the root C:> prompt

Then:



dir /s /b *.dbx>C:\dbxfiles.dir

Wait until the drive is scanned and the C:> prompt reappears.

Unless *something* changed the attributes, .dbx files are non hidden/system.

Open the C:\dbxfiles.dir in Notepad.

You have now the location of the .dbx files on your system.

Get this little proggie :):

http://www.mitec.cz/mailview.html

and use it to open the relevant .dbx(s) and see if it can see the messages.

 

jaclaz



#8
smted

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@submix8c: Maybe it's down to user error. I only told you what happened.

 

@jaclaz: Thanks for the advice. I found the folders using the instructions you provided. Now I have a mystery to solve. I have 3 "Inbox.dbx" files in the Outlook Express folder. 

 

Inbox.dbx. The missing Inbox.dbx IS listed. ALL my missing emails ARE there using the Mailview tool you suggested (but NOT listed in the Inbox, when I open the Outlook Express program).

 

Inbox (1).dbx. Mailview says: "file does not contain any messages".

 

Inbox (2).dbx. This contains the only emails I can see in my inbox when i use the Outlook Express program. Starting from February 2014.

 

So, it looks like NOTHING is lost, but somehow ALL my emails from January 2014 and earlier, contained in Inbox.dbx were removed from the OE program and it just lists the emails from Inbox (2).dbx. N.B. The "new" Inbox works fine, but is obviously missing all my older emails.

 

I also just discovered the same thing happened in my Sent folder. I have two Sent.dbx folders.

 

Sent.dbx. This file contains ALL my older emails that are missing from the OE program.

Sent (1).dbx. This contains the only emails I can see in my inbox when i use the Outlook Express program. Starting from February 2014. So it's the same pattern.

 

How do I get the older Inbox and Sent emails back to the OE program? I'd also love to know what might have caused this in the first place.

 

I have lots of other emails/folders/addresses in Outlook Express that were NOT affected. Only my main Inbox and Sent files. This is really weird.

 

Please help some more if you can. Thank you! :)


Edited by smted, 22 February 2014 - 07:34 PM.


#9
jaclaz

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Well, Outlook Express will have a single .dbx for "Inbox" and another single one for "Sent" at any given time.

What you see as "Inbox" from within OE is only a link to a .dbx file, which by default is called "Inbox.dbx, but for all that matters could be called MickeyMouse.dbx, same goes for "Sent".

 

It sounds like *somehow* at *some time* in the past the two original .dbx's (those without brackets and numbers) were unavailable to a session of Outlook Express, which then decided to create new ones.

 

WHY exactly those files were unavailable at that given moment is good question, but possibly not worth the time to investigate.

 

Now, generally speaking, a good idea would be to NOT use OE anymore ;), but of course this is only my personal opinion.

 

Since I believe what you want is instead to "fix" the Inbox and Sent messages databases and continue using it, this is what I would do if I were you:

1) Close OE (if open) AND disconnect from the internet (a good idea would be to print this post on paper)

2) make a copy in another directory (say C:\myolddbx ) of ALL the .dbx files you found.

3) Rename the folders in the actual original location as follows:

Inbox.dbx -> Old_Inbox.dbx

Inbox (1).dbx -> Empty_Inbox.dbx

Inbox (2).dbx -> New_Inbox.dbx

Sent.dbx -> Old_Sent.dbx

Sent (1).dbx -> New_Sent.dbx

4) move the above 5 files to another directory (say C:\myworkdbx )

5) Open OE and open the Inbox and Sent folders

6) Observe the original location, in theory a new Inbox.dbx and a new Sent.dbx files should be created

7) It is possible that you will need to double click open the "Inbox" and "Sent" folders in OE to have the actual files be created

8) from OE create a new folder named EXACTLY like the corresponding .dbx in C:\myworkdbx for each of these (EXACTLY, only without the .dbx extension)

9) like in #7 above double click open each of the folders and make sure the corresponding (empty) .dbx file is created in the original location

10) close OE

11) copy back the files from C:\myworkdbx to the original location, overwriting the newly created (empty) corresponding files

12) open OE and move messages from within it as you see fit

13) once having double and tripled checked that everything is as you like it to be, delete the renamed folders you don't need anymore (they will go in "deleted items")

14) test again that everything is OK, then empty the "deleted items"

15) close OE

16) reconnect to the internet

17) clean the mess in the other folders C:\myworkdbx and C:\myolddbx (or use them as backup, etc.)

18) have fun :)

 

If you have doubts about any of the steps above, ask for clarifications BEFORE doing something that you may later regret.

 

jaclaz


Edited by jaclaz, 23 February 2014 - 08:32 AM.


#10
submix8c

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Um, yeah... "User error". :yes:

 

Bet you found those files EXACTLY where I said you would. If you'll note I specifically stated

You DO realize that "{stringofhexnumbers}" (one for each Outlook Express Account) and "<outlooksexpressFoldername>" are generic names.
ATM, I'm not going to bother reading jaclaz detailed how-to post above, but probably that will work since he's trusted to do so. There are several methods that could be used to "remerge" everything back to where they should be - I've done this several times. Fortunately for you, NOTHING appears to be "lost". ;)

 

If you have any further troubles from above procedure, there are (as I stated) alternative methods.

 

@jaclaz - I use the "stock" OE (XP/2K3) and it's never failed me -and- have transferred/merged/export-imported a number of times -and- use Gmail with it. :yes:


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#11
jaclaz

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@jaclaz - I use the "stock" OE (XP/2K3) and it's never failed me -and- have transferred/merged/export-imported a number of times -and- use Gmail with it.  :yes:

Good :) I don't use OE since what? 2001 or 2002 and it has never failed me either.

What gives?  :unsure:

Apart being like the single most insecure app ever conceived and being (my personal evaluation of it) the single most likely to be vector of malware, it's a nice app :).

 

jaclaz







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