Wednesday, September 17, 2008

outlook express Inbox email missing

Outlook Express

Outlook Express also has the concept of "Identities" which is another way to manage multiple users with separate email accounts without requiring different Windows accounts. Make sure you're using the identity you think you are.

Even if you're not using multiple accounts or identities it's a good idea to search your hard disk for additional "message stores", the place where Outlook Express keeps your folders. Use Window's "Search for Files or Folders..." feature to look for "*.dbx" files. The directories in which you find those files are other message stores that Outlook Express has used. Knowing where they are you can now import their contents into your current mailbox if you wish.

Both Outlook and Outlook Express

Another very easy trap to fall into that might cause messages "disappear" is to simply have an improper view applied. Both Outlook and Outlook Express have the ability to show only messages matching certain criteria. For example "show only unread messages" is a common setting; once you read the message it "disappears". Applying a different view that doesn't restrict which messages are shown causes the message to reappear. Check the View menu in either application (and the Arrange By sub menu if present) to see what your current settings are. If they're restrictive it's possible your mail is still there, just not in view.

If your email accounts are IMAP accounts rather than the currently more common POP3, then your email is by default stored on the mail server and not your local machine. Much like Exchange Server, server-side policies could affect the contents of your mail folders. Be sure to check with your mail administrator.

I have experienced cases where poorly designed backup utilities can get confused if Outlook or Outlook Express are running at the time the backup is performed. The email programs keep their mail files open, preventing the backup programs from actually backing them up. In the worst case scenario (which I experienced) this can cause the backup program to attempt to restore the files to an older previously backed up copy, resulting in disappearing email. The safest thing is to know when backups are scheduled to happen and ensure that Outlook and Outlook Express are both closed prior to that time.

Finally, there is the possibility of corruption. Typically either of the Outlooks will complain if the email files become corrupt in some way. Outlook Express may try to recover but often requires that you simply rename the corrupt folder and allow Outlook Express to build a new one. Outlook comes with the "scanpst.exe" tool that will attempt to repair Outlook's PST files (use Windows Find Files or Folders ability to locate it -- various versions of Office install it in different locations).


Alex said...

I heard about not bad application-DBX repair, which can read password protected dbx file of user's Identities, supported *.dbx file formats: MS Outlook Express 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, support to repair dbx files with a size up to 4Gb, tool support Windows 98/ME/NT 4.0/2000/XP/2003.

Anonymous said...

There is a tool called Advanced Outlook Express Repair . I have used it to repair many corrupt Outlook Express dbx files on my damaged disks successfully. Its homepage is