1. Compacting all folders in OE frequently repairs mild corruption and surprisingly enough as ironic as it seems, the compaction process itself has also been implicated in causing corruption. Before WinXP SP2, OE was configured by default to compact files automatically after inactive for some minutes. However, although OE might have been inactive, the same could not always be said for other programs being used when compaction began. On some systems, particularly those with limited amounts of RAM or slow processors, the sudden drain on computer resources sometimes caused anomalies that too often damage the DBX file(s).
2. It is largely for this reason that the background compaction feature was removed from WinXP SP2. OE will now compact automatically only after opening and closing 100 times. It will do so not in the background, when you might be busy doing other things on the computer, but rather when the option is approved. Do not cancel the process, nor use your computer until it is finished. For the reason mention previously, you should still compact all folders on a regular basis based on volumns of mail received and as mentioned here. You should disable the background compaction (Click Tools, Options, Maintenance, click to clear the checkbox for Compact messages automatically in the background", and then click OK) when using systems prior to SP2, "File Corruption in Outlook Express."
a. On the File menu, click Work Offline so that no new messages will be arriving.
b. In the Folder list, click on Outlook Express so that no e-mail or news folder is open.
c. Close the Folder list by clicking the "X" in the upper right-hand corner of the list panel. Alternatively you can click Layout on the View menu, and then clear the checkbox for "Folder List".
d. On the File menu, point to Folder, and then click Compact All Folders. Do not use your computer until the process is complete, which might take several minutes.
e. If an error occurs, close OE, re-open it, and begin the process again from the top. If the same error occurs again, close OE, restart your computer (or log off and then log on again), open OE and then begin the whole process again.
3. The article [Q311030] states that when clicking a Web link in a message or a message itself, the response time is slow and can occur if background compaction of stored newsgroup messages is turned on.
a. This feature is designed to wait until OE has been idle for several minutes and then begin compacting newsgroup mail and news folders in the background -- not OE mail, and stores process information in the file Cleanup.log. I do not recommend using this option since anything from a disconnect or any other system anomaly that could happen when compaction is in progress could totally trash the Store folders. However, OE does not remove deleted mail information from the applicable *.dbx file until a user opts to compact a folder or all folders manually -- the longer you wait, the bigger it gets, and the longer it takes processing. To minimize files and disk space, compact a folder or all folders regularly (File, Folders, Compact).
b. OE can save all commands to and from a server in a log file for troubleshooting purposes which a user may never find useful. They not only requires hard drive space but may slow down the mailer operation as well -- Tools, Options, Maintenance tab and in the section titled Troubleshooting, remove any check marks from the four boxes. Click the button labeled Store Folder. When you see the path, click and bold the path to copy it to the Clipboard. Then click the two buttons, Apply and OK. Click Start, Run, and then press the key combinations Ctrl+v to place that path in the box. Press Enter. Upon reaching this folder in Explorer, highlight the files which end with an extension of .log (while holding the Ctrl key). When bolded, press the Del key on the keypad. Remember, should there be any concern about this procedure, those files will reside in the Recycled folder until they are removed and can always be put back should you feel it necessary -- but you will not find it required.
4. Supplemental: "Update for Outlook Express 6.0 on Microsoft Windows XP (KB918766)."
Note: After you install this update, a backup copy of the .dbx file is created every time that the database is compacted. After the database is successfully compacted, the backup copy of the .dbx file is moved to the Recycle Bin.