Hints, Tips And Tricks

Microsoft Outlook Express Doesn't Seem To Work

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There are times when the software we use for sending and receiving email messages stops functioning, like for example it doesn't send and/or receive messages, displays fatal errors about corrupted folders, etc.

In this case we usually uninstall the software from our computer and then re-install it from scratch. Unless our computer has been infected by a virus, this technique usually corrects the problem. However, this also results in losing all of our messages.

So, before you resort to uninstalling and re-installing, try this little trick which seems to fix any problems and doesn't result in losing all of your messages.

The trick refers to Microsoft Outlook Express (MSOE), but all email client software works, more or less, in the same way.

MSOE stores our email messages in a folder on the hard disk of our computer. The exact location of this folder depends on many different factors. We can locate the folder by following the procedure described below.

Launch MSOE and click the left mouse button once on the 'Tools' menu, then on the 'Options...' selection, then on the 'Maintenance' tab and finally on the 'Store folder...' button. This will open a dialog box which displays the exact location of the folder where MSOE stores our messages. Use Windows explorer to navigate to this folder and then return to MSOE and close all open windows by clicking either the 'X' (on the top right corner of each window), or by clicking 'Cancel'. You must then terminate MSOE as well.

The folder where MSOE stores our messages, contains several different files. Each file contains certain messages; the 'Inbox.dbx' file contains the incoming messages, the 'Sent.dbx' file contains the sent mesages and so forth.

The 'Folders.dbx' file is the main MSOE file and it usually is the only source of our troubles. Rename it to something else, i.e. 'DamagedFolders.dbx', and launch MSOE. If everything goes as expected, and it usually does, MSOE notices that 'Folders.dbx' does not exist, creates a new instance and 'lo and behold!' all of our messages are there and MSOE starts working again.

If some other folder is corrupted, the folder of incoming messages for example, rename 'Inbox.dbx' to something else, i.e. 'DamagedInbox.dbx', and launch MSOE. In this case we will lose all of our incoming messages, but in any case all of the remaining messages will remain intact.

In case none of the above seems to fix the problem, the only thing we are left with is to uninstall and then re-install MSOE.