View Full Version : TIP: Outlook Express maintenance

Susan B
05-09-2002, 09:30 AM
To keep your Outlook Express running sweetly, here are a few maintenance tips to perform regularly:

1. Close all programs except Outlook Express, including any antivirus programs you may have running.

2. Now adjust this setting: in Outlook Express go to Tools>Options>Maintenance, uncheck the option for: "Compact messages in the background" and leave it unchecked from now on.

The "Compact messages in the background" task is strongly suspected of causing loss of message stores and corrupting folders within Outlook Express. It is also a default setting when Outlook Express is installed. Or when a new identity is created.

3. Compact your message store manually, about once a week: go to
File>Work Offline,
File>Folder>Compact All Folders,
and leave the computer alone until it is finished.

Also, remember to be sure to disable your virus scanner while compacting.

Sometimes a warning message will appear saying the "folders.dbx" file is in use, so it cannot be compacted. If this occurs let Outlook Express complete the current compacting task then close Outlook Express, reboot the PC, open Outlook Express and select the Outlook Express folder. On the Menu, File>check Work Offline. This should allow the folders.dbx file to be compacted without the warning message.

Compacting your folders ensures that all your "deleted" emails are no longer occupying disk space and you should notice an improvement in Outlook Express's performance.

A good site with more information is here:How to Maintain Your OE Store Folder (http://www.tomsterdam.com/insideOE/files/maintain.htm).

A good program that I have heard of that allows you to view your emails on the ISP server before downloading is Magic Mail Monitor (http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Vista/2576/magic.html). One feature is that it allows you to delete your emails from the server if you don't want to download them.

Susan B
05-09-2002, 03:33 PM
Chris Wilson has just given an excellent explanation on why we need to compact our Outlook Express messages. Credit also to robo for providing the original explanation.

* * * * * * *
From Chris Wilson:

To quote robo:
>>>OE has an option for compacting the data. Basically, it uses a database like lots of other programs do, and as it deletes records it marks it as deleted but doesn't remove it. It is likely to be overwritten over time (think of it like a bookcase full of books, you take some out, the rest of the books are still in the same places and you can tell where the missing books were)

Now the thing is when you remove the books from the shelf, they haven't actually gone, they just don't have any referance in the file system to them any more, they are invisible noize on your HDD.... compacting the folder, actually removes them, and if you like, makes the shelves where the books were (the .dbx file in this case) a bit smaller, so that there isn't silly gaps full of useless zeros and ones. It is similar with the entire file system, when you "delete" any file, all you are really doing is telling the computer to cease acknowledging the data in any given area, the computer will see that data as useless noize, and ignore it, unless it needs the space, and will then write something in the space, and give the fresh data in that area a new file name.

This is why "deleted" files can sometimes be recovered, but usually not if you have put new stuff in the drive, or in the case of OE compacted the file.

Chris Wilson
05-09-2002, 05:23 PM
Here's a tip for those people worried about losing their messages or address book in the case of a total hard drive failure. THESE THINGS DO HAPPEN. No one is immune from the possibility.

What i suggest, and myself do, is NOT a complete solution, but it helps.

The message stores of outlook express can be moved onto the folder of your choice, i use D:\outlook\me for my profile and D:\outlook\dyan for my better˝s The reason for this, is that D: is a separate HDD, it defraggs a lot easier than C: and when i lost C: some months ago, although i had lost the programme, the address book and the rules, I still had my message store. I was able to rebuild the address book from that store. It was a task that was sometimes unwelcome, but better than losing contact with someone important altogether.

Another reason for moving the store to a default location is that it is really easy to back it to a CDRW every couple of weeks or so, BUT the default location at least in '98 is at (you'll love this)
C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Identities\{a-really-long-set-of- random-looking-numbers}\Microsoft\Outlook Express
and are in .dbx files What a pain!

To move the message store, create a folder with a nice friendly name, copy the store to it, go to
Tools > options > maintenance > storefolder > change > select new folder > run round your file system till you see it > OK? ........ It will have a surprise revelation that there is already a message store in the selected location (but seeing you just put it there you know about that)

>"there appears to be an outlook express store already in the folder that you have chosen, do you wish to switch to using that store? if not it will be deleted and replaced with the current store."

You should take the option to use it. Happy? Good!
Now once you have used it for a wee while, you may as well empty the original store. If this data is important don't forget to back up from the new location regularly.

Chris Wilson
05-09-2002, 05:27 PM
Susan wants feedback, please give it here (http://pressf1.co.nz/thread.jsp?forum=1&thread=24453) so we can keep this thread fairly "on topic"


Susan B
07-09-2002, 09:40 PM
Something that I forgot:

People often want to know how to backup their emails or extract emails from .dbx folders that have been backed up.

The only way to do it is by using a dbx extractor and this page (http://pages.prodigy.net/jdjd/email/emailback.htm) gives some very good advice on several programs of this sort.